Don’t call it a moment. Call it momentum.
What began on May 11 as an invitation to share stories about sexism blew up into an ongoing reckoning, as Notch Brewing’s Brienne Allan has so far relayed more than 1,000 personal accounts ranging from pervasive misogyny to violent assault on her Instagram feed, @ratmagnet.
Besides compelling many breweries to take a good, hard look at their internal cultures and policies for reporting incidents of discrimination, the accounts have led to multiple investigations and resignations. Beer’s own “#MeToo” movement raises the troubling question of whether the industry can be one where women feel both safe and welcome.
To keep that issue in people’s minds and conversations, Allan and supporters have launched an open-source collaboration called Brave Noise. Besides brewing a Brave Noise pale ale, participating breweries commit to publishing their codes of conduct, which should include a reporting process as well as set expectations for the behavior of staff and customers. They also commit to donating some proceeds to a relevant nonprofit or charitable campaign.
After making those commitments, breweries receive the base recipe (upon which they are free to riff as they see fit) and label art. The idea is for participating breweries to release their beers before December 2021. “By keeping the releases within a set time frame, we will be able to make the loudest noise possible,” the site says.
The Brave Noise site so far lists 52 participating breweries, including such notables as Great Notion, Jackie O’s, Jester King, Other Half, Stone, and Trillium.
The brewery’s published code of conduct—which could also be a statement of values or set of house rules, for example—“supports an inclusive environment and outlines what resources are available for your staff and your customers.” Brave Noise offers assistance in drafting such a code from Rebecca Weaver at HRUprise.
The Brave Noise site also includes a list of recommended organizations to which breweries can donate. To name just two examples, these include the global Safe Bar Network, which teaches bar staff how to notice problematic behavior and intervene safely and effectively, as well as Maine-based Heart of Hospitality, which has a similar mission in training hospitality workers to recognize and address sexual harassment.
Brave Noise joins other recent open-source collaborations in brewing special beers to call attention to important issues. Notables include Black Is Beautiful for racial justice, Things We Don’t Say for mental health, and All Together IPA for hospitality workers put out of work by the pandemic.
For more details about Brave Noise or to join, see bravenoisebeer.com.