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Our Guild’s response to gender-based violence in our industry

Prepared with input from the staff, DEI Steering Leads, and Board of Directors of the Texas Craft Brewers Guild

True to each other? True to our craft?

Differently punctuated, the motto above was developed as part of the branding and merchandise for a Guild event a few years ago. The words felt so grounding then, celebrating the camaraderie of a burgeoning statewide industry not yet gutted by a worldwide pandemic or reeling from not one, but two social reckonings. Under the double weight of renewed calls for tangible commitments to social justice and the gender-based trauma experienced and recently shared by women in craft brewing, it feels onerous, if not impossible, to square raw reality with this saying now.

Ending race disparity, sexual assault, gender discrimination, harassment, and other human rights violations and indignities that happen every day will not happen overnight. It won’t change because of a statement we issue or a training we coordinate. (And we have coordinated trainings over the past few years – members can review presentations on de-escalation for business, inclusivity in brewery settings, and preventing sexual harassment on the Dashboard.) But as an organization that often speaks as a unified voice for breweries statewide, we feel compelled to respond.

We believe the victims that have shared their stories through Brienne Allan (@RatMagnet) and elsewhere on social media, and we know there are many more victims who have not yet spoken. We believe that victims of gender-based crime in the workplace should be equipped with the tools to safely and credibly report it, know what steps their employer will take to seriously investigate, and what pathways for their safe, supported recovery are available. Likewise, we believe that perpetrators of gender-based crime in the workplace should be held accountable and face consequences for their actions.

We believe business owners have an obligation to provide safe workplaces for their employees. We support what our members may already be doing, or plan to do, to demonstrate their own actionable commitments to intervene in situations of harassment and gender violence, and to promote gender equality and parity in our industry.

We believe that state Guilds are mission-driven to provide resources, educational tools, and professional development to move members closer to the paired goals of running the best businesses possible while also brewing the highest quality beer in the world. Whether someone’s motivation is simply checking legal compliance boxes, or a deeply-held desire to go above-and-beyond to take care of the people on their teams, our Guild can and should help connect you to what you need.

Additionally, our eyes have been opened to opportunities at our events where we can and will communicate more clearly the expectations for positive peer-to-peer interactions described in our Code of Conduct. We are learning how to respond immediately when those expectations are not met, whether we witness and intervene in the moment or respond to an incident described by a member using our reporting tool. We can also amplify the measures we take to prevent harassment and assault to keep all event participants safe, no matter whether you are a Festival attendee, a brewery employee, or a Guild staff member. We can, and are, exploring ways to partner with local issue-area experts who have already developed programs and resources to effectively move the needle in these areas.

As we convened our Diversity, Equity, and Inclusion Subcommittee over the past nine months, new voices and leaders from our state industry have emerged. These individuals are steering our internal efforts, driving impactful ideas for programs, tools, and events, and ensuring that our commitments as a Guild are actualized. 

Working with these DEI leaders, the Guild’s Board of Directors, other state Guilds, and the Brewers Association, you’ll see us start to share more resources on the dashboard and design programming at our events to demonstrate our commitment to these goals and values. We won’t do it perfectly. Neither will you. But we all have a part to play in creating and sustaining change. 

If you want to take action and aren’t sure where or how to start, below are some entry points and bite-size actionable things you can do today to take a first step – or your hundredth, or thousandth – step. It may not feel like a lot, but incremental change is what sticks. In the process, we can and will redefine and reclaim the motto, “True to each other – True to our craft”.