Hip Hops: Craft beer’s sexism problem; “The reckoning is here and it’s not going away soon”

It’s been a little over four months since craft beer’s sexism problem became headline news. Writing at Wine Enthusiast in September, John Holl offered this follow-up: “Whistleblowers, Internal Investigations and an Ongoing Reckoning in Craft Beer.”

If this is a reckoning, as some have suggested, the end results are unclear. Will breweries and beer professionals root out abusive behaviors? And what happens to whistleblowers after the dust settles?

Whistleblowers, Internal Investigations and an Ongoing Reckoning in Craft Beer

The reckoning began in May with a flood of responses to an Instagram thread posted by Brienne Allan, who at the time was production manager at Notch Brewing.

To bring these issues to light in the customer sphere, in July, Allan announced a collaboration beer called Brave Noise. Its aim is to promote a safe and discrimination-free beer industry.

Holl’s essay generated Twitter chatter about the reaction to Brave Noise — or more accurately, the absence of a reaction.

So, why hasn’t there been more intent to collaborate?

Yesterday the number of breweries participating in the Brave Noise collaboration had climbed to 109, including a grand total of one from Kentucky (Braxton Brewing) and none from Indiana.

You’re free to make of this information as you wish.

This isn’t exactly news, but hops are trendy and exciting. It seems as if the magic cone gets all the love.

Yet malt is the very foundation of beer. it’s the offensive line, the roux, and the rhythm section. Without malt, the glass in your hand is filled with something limp and inert, like hard seltzer or Lagunitas Hoppy Refresher (hopped sparkling water), with neither the alcohol nor beer’s intended mouth feel. Malt flavors matter, too, but if it’s not hops on the tip of everyone’s tongues, the likely topic of discussion is yeast.

We take water for granted as well, but at the risk of digression, let’s return to the journalist Holl, who in his spare time hosts a fine little weekly podcast.

Every week, Drink Beer, Think Beer touches on all aspects of the brewing industry. From ingredients and process, to philosophy and the art in each beer, the podcast is hosted by long-time journalist John Holl and is available on all the major podcast platforms. Beer Edge releases new episodes of Drink Beer, Think Beer with John Holl every Wednesday. 

On the topic of malt, Episode 101 of Drink Beer, Think Beer is a conversation with Hoosier farmer Caleb Michalke, the owner and maltster at Sugar Creek Malt Co.

Not only has craft malting arrived. It’s also a fascinating story in its own right, so pour a beer and have a listen.

Roger Baylor is an entrepreneur, educator, and innovator with more than 35 years of hands-on experience and expertise as a beer seller, restaurateur, and commentator. As the co-founder of New Albany’s Sportstime Pizza/Rich O’s Public House (which later became New Albanian Brewing Company) in the 1990s and early 2000s, Baylor played a seminal role in Louisville’s craft beer renaissance. Currently he is the beer director at Pints&union in New Albany. Baylor’s “Hip Hops” columns on beer-related subjects have been a fixture in F&D since 2005, and he was named the magazine’s digital editor in 2019.