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Diversity in beer

Diversity in beer. and why it REALLY matters. Presented by beer writer, author & joyless, humourless feminist (thanks Twitter) Melissa Cole. About Me. Well, because it’s always about me… right?. SERIOUSLY THOUGH, WHY DOES DIVERSITY MATTER?. Two main reasons: Business

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Diversity in beer

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  1. Diversity in beer and why it REALLY matters Presented by beer writer, author & joyless, humourless feminist (thanks Twitter) Melissa Cole

  2. About Me • Well, because it’s always about me… right?


  4. Two main reasons: • Business • Corporate Social Responsibility

  5. Let’s Get Cynical • Global alcohol consumption has declined by 1.6% in the last year (IWSR data) • Beer is under assault on all sides by spirits, wine and increasing abstention in mature European markets • UK alone has declined by 10% in the last year

  6. The current straight white male marketing mentality is failing to capture new drinkers • Something has to change…


  8. Numbers Don’t Lie • In the Dea Latis report in 2018 The Gender Pint Gap research found many disturbing things about why women don’t drink beer: • Only 17% of women drink beer at least once a week (compared to 53% of men) • Male oriented advertising is the main barrier to over a quarter (27%) of women drinking beer – rising even higher for the 18-24 year-old female group to almost half (48%)

  9. A fifth of women (20%) find the thought of calories in beer and putting on weight to be the biggest reason for not drinking beer • 17% of women feel that ‘being judged by others’ is the third biggest barrier to drinking beer • Taste is the great divide: Of the women who drink beer 56% do so because they like the taste; conversely, of the women who never drink beer 83% do so because they don’t like the taste • Just for the record, in case anyone is in the room thinking it, this is NOT solved by making ‘beer for women’

  10. Seriously, Numbers Don’t Lie • BA research on the craft beer market shows: • 79.9% of beer consumption in 2014 was non-Hispanic white • In 2018 the percentage was, you guessed it, 79.9% • There are two distressing things about this: • That the percentage of craft beer drinkers hasn’t shifted in four years • This is the only public research I could find on racial demographics in beer after two hours of internet research


  12. Effecting Change Through Authenticity • As I am, clearly, not black, I asked someone infinitely more qualified than me about how to engage with the BAME community and this was what Toni Canada, who is part of the Beer Kulture movement in the US to comment for me:

  13. “You do a disservice to the black community by choosing an out-of-touch token to promote your product. An ambassador to link the two communities has to be a member of both, and choosing a person who is well-equipped to relate and serve as your boots on the ground should not be dismissed in finding a liaison. • “Building a community is about bringing people and bringing good to the collective, and a rouge token doesn’t support that initiative. • “There are several approaches to diversify your consumer base, but employing a black beer snob is not one of them.”

  14. Go Deeper “If you take a page from the book of the spirits industry, they have us on board, and have benefitted because of it.  There are black executives.  Black celebrities and entrepreneurs are creating their own brands of spirits. Free advertising exists in everything from rap songs to hood club flyers.  “We can show up at any corner store and find an endless selection of spirits, but craft beer is ostentatiously absent.  Craft, y’all ain’t checking for us like that, so why should we run behind you with the thirst like a thot behind a celebrity looking to come up?  “As you ready yourself for your accusation of conjecture, keep in mind that we don’t need to research something we’ve lived all of our lives.  We out here craft beer.  Do y’all want us, or nah?”

  15. Accept the Reality, Look to Change It • This story from Toni, about how she was treated in a brewpub: “I went in one brewpub and sat at the bar, Several folks who showed up after I did were greeted and served first. After 15 minutes of waiting for a greeting, I asked what was good on tap. The bartender said ‘We don’t make bad beer!’. When I asked for his suggestions, he shoved a taplist towards me on the bar and went to carry on conversations with other customers at the bar. “He definitely acted like I was bothering him anytime I asked for something and rolled his eyes when I asked him to take his Irish Red Ale that was full of chlorophenols back. I observed his behaviour with the other patrons, and I saw him offer several samples and descriptions to multiple other people at the bar. I was the only black person there.”

  16. But What’s That Got to Do With Me? • We are all responsible for making our little corner of the world better in my opinion and if you have benefited, albeit it unwittingly, from sociological divide by marketing then wouldn’t it be a nice thing to be a part of to fix it? • Employ people from all racial backgrounds, go out of your way to offer opportunities because it’s not enough to be welcoming, we have to actively invite folk in because it’s been an exclusive club for so long!

  17. And to go back to my first point about the business opportunities, listen to Dr. Janel Nikol Jackson Beckham, the head of diversity for the Brewer’s Association: • For the beer industry to grow, it must do more than appeal to only white male dudes with beards.”

  18. Pink Washing

  19. LGBTQ+ • In the same way that the BAME community has no interest in a pointless corporate shill, nor does the LGBTQ+ community, the ‘pink washing’ of products, so, if you want to support the LGBTQ+ community: • Employ people of all sexual orientations • Look to support local grass roots LGBTQ+ organisations, don’t just stick a rainbow flag on once a year • Look to initiatives like the Queer Brewing Project and offer space for them to collab

  20. LGBTQ+ • If you have outlets/brewery taps then introduce a zero tolerance attitude to customers saying things like ‘well that’s a gay drink’ or commenting on different sexualities in a derogatory fashion • Put up posters, like the Everyone Welcome Initiative, in toilets to ensure people understand your policy on any and all discrimination • Listen to podcasts by people like Emma Inch on Fermentation Radio


  22. Thank you very much

  23. A Few Resources • Everyone Welcome Initiative – www.everyonewelcomeintiative.com • Brewer’s Association Diversity https://www.brewersassociation.org/best-practices/diversity-best-practices/ • Beer Kulture www.BeerKulture.com • Lily Waite - https://www.goodbeerhunting.com/blog/2018/1/17/from-both-sides-a-transgender-experience-in-the-beer-industry • https://fermentationonline.comd

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