To ensure that the #MeToo movement she helped launch in the craft brewing industry earlier this year doesn’t fade away with the proverbial news cycle, Massachusetts brewer Brienne Allan (popularly known as ‘RatMagnet’ on social media) is spearheading what’s sure to be the latest global blockbuster beer collaboration. Following the success of cause-related open collabs like Black is Beautiful, Resilience IPA and Sonoma Pride, Brave Noise pale ale aims to “provide awareness and create action for safe and inclusive environments in the beer industry,” Allan says in a statement.
In order to use the Brave Noise recipe and promotional assets, commercial brewers must first submit an application that states their commitment to publicly posting their code of conduct and resources for reporting misconduct, along with donating 100% of proceeds to an approved non-profit organization that works on issues like sexual harassment and diversity training, mental health and legal aide in the hospitality industry. Allan and her partners believe this gatekeeping will help prevent breweries from brewing and advertising the beer without making the required charitable donations or taking the agreed upon actions. They also ask the breweries to pledge ongoing involvement with inclusion activities, though they don’t specify how.
“In order to take the steps in the direction of change, breweries need to address the issues women, BIPOC and LGBTQ+ individuals are facing in the industry,” says Ash Eliot, an alcohol marketing professional — and the founder of the Women of the Bevolution campaign — who’s managing public relations for Brave Noise. “With this beer collab, the hope is that breweries will be transparent with their policies and outline what they are doing to create these environments. This also allows for consumers to be involved and hold breweries to these policies.”
Allan and her team also invite homebrewers to participate by brewing the recipe themselves, though they, too, must submit an application that allows the project’s managers to track involvement. Brewer and blogger Jen Blair wrote the homebrew recipe in cooperation with the SoCal Cerveceros Homebrew Club.
As for the drinkers who collab leaders say will be the ones to actually affect the most change in the industry, they can join in by asking their breweries what they’re doing to help the cause. Who works there? Is there a code of conduct posted?
As the website reads, “Do you feel it’s an inclusive environment for all? Do you feel the company’s values are stated publicly and clearly? Let them know!”
According to the rules, participating breweries must release the beer before the end of October.
Allan, a production manager at Notch Brewing in Salem, created an international uproar in May when she began posting mostly anonymous stories of discrimination, harassment, and assault experienced primarily by women in the beer industry. Combined with the racial reckoning of one year prior that forced many brewery owners to consider their diversity practices, the public confessions by victims are leading to a healthy and long overdue restructuring of the owner-manager-employee relationship in a great number of breweries across several continents.
In addition to Brave Noise, various entities are working in parallel to make this meaningful moment last. Perhaps most notably, Colorado’s Lady Justice Brewing is partnering with Craft Beer Professionals, Not Your Hobby Marketing Solutions and Safe Bars to formulate an initiative called P.A.C.T. (Promise of Awareness, Compassion, and Trust). While P.A.C.T. does contain a collaboration brew component, called P.A.C.T. Pale Ale, the beer is mostly a vehicle to spread awareness of the project’s true mission: to get breweries trained and certified in harassment prevention by Safe Bars then facilitate their ongoing efforts to create safer, more respectful workplaces according to a framework the team is in the process of designing.