The Brave Noise Beer Collaboration is Brewing Up Change--And Two TapRm Breweries So Far are Joining the Movement

May of 2021 was the month that shook craft beer to its core. The industry was already struggling with the realization that racism was prevalent in its midst, and now, it had to face the urgent issue of sexism, too. Some people, both beer pros and beer fans, wanted to ignore these reckonings because beer is supposed to be “fun,” and “not about politics.” More people, though, recognized that craft beer can only exist if it truly welcomes all and if it embraces diversity, equity, inclusion, visibility, representation, and safety. That of course beer is supposed to be fun, but it can only be fun if it’s a safe and welcoming space to begin with. That the very thing craft beer builds its identity on, community, is what compels this industry to work together and do better. 

Craft beer is an extremely powerful way to reach and unite people, because of its approachable, accessible, wide appeal. So, many people in the industry have decided to put that to work by  even more people, starting conversations, and motivating action.

One specific movement using beer as a conduit to change in the industry and beyond is the Brave Noise collaboration. This initiative was spearheaded by Brienne Allan, the very person who catalyzed that wake-up call regarding sexism in beer in May. After dealing with the kind of sexist BS women in beer deal with every day from some construction workers while she was working in her role as production manager at Notch Brewing in Salem, MA, Allan asked on Instagram what kind of sexism other women in beer encounter. No one could have predicted the response. Unfortunately, it’s of course not a surprise to learn about sexism in any industry. But the sheer volume of upsetting stories that ranged from microaggressions to full-on abuse and assault made it clear: the craft beer industry needs change and it needs it now. There’s just no place for a brewery that isn’t guaranteeing 100% safety, equity, and job security and growth to all people

The good that has come out of this movement is that people are talking. People working in the industry and consumers, alike, have been galvanized. And those people get that a lot of craft beer fans are casual about their hobby--they love beer, but they’re not reading up on the industry. There are great articles where you can quickly and easily get caught up, that way you support breweries devoted to change. Read Kate Bernot for Good Beer Hunting and Beth Demmon for VinePair, and also follow accounts like @emboldenactadvance and @womenofthebevolution on Instagram.

The founder of Women of the Bevolution, a platform devoted to giving women in the alcohol industry a safe space, resources, job opportunities, and more, is Ash Eliot, and Ash teamed up with Brienne to turn Brave Noise into an industry-wide project. Brienne had worked on a pale ale at Notch called Brave Noise right around the time the movement broke out, and other breweries started reaching out asking if they could make the beer, too, where they were in order to start conversations about eradicating sexism and discrimination in the industry. 

So now, Brave Noise is a pale ale that any brewery can sign up to brew, if and only if they first do some real, lasting work in their own workplaces. In order to participate in this collaboration, breweries must create a code of conduct if they don’t already have one, and submit it to the Brave Noise team. When they make the beer, they must make that code of conduct public so staff and consumers alike can see it. They must commit to ongoing work toward improving not just their own organization, but the industry around them. And some portion of the pale ale’s proceeds must go toward a cause that supports the mission. The collaboration’s website has a ton of resources, like suggested causes for donating, and even a recipe for homebrewers to make Brave Noise, too.

“Brave Noise was inspired by the brave voices who have shared their stories of sexual harassment, assault, gender discrimination and racism in the beer industry,” Ash says. “The initiative and global beer collaboration is advocating for a safe and discrimination-free beer industry by asking for transparency and commitment to the long-term work from breweries. Through the collab, we want breweries to submit their code of conduct, provide the necessary resources for staff and customers, pledge to help us change this industry and further support a non-profit organization that reflects the Brave Noise mission by donating a majority of the proceeds from the beer. We hope Brave Noise is a stepping stone in the right direction for much needed change.” 

Breweries have started to make and release their versions of Brave Noise; there’s a December deadline to encourage action now. This collaboration is special because of the work that is so much bigger and more impactful than simply brewing a beer. It raises awareness, and it also ensures that every participant is responsible for growth and improvement. Any brewery making a Brave Noise pale ale is cosigning an industry-wide promise to change for the better. And we’re so proud that we have a couple of breweries on TapRm who are doing just that, Ross Brewing Co. in Port Monmouth, New Jersey, and Jackalope Brewing Company in Nashville.

“The pale ale Brienne came up with is one we are looking forward to brewing and we are so proud and happy that the ladies on our team across a variety of functions like marketing, sales, administration, and the tasting room have really taken this project and run with it,” says Ross Brewing’s president, John Ross Cocozza. “When Brienne first started sharing the stories of what was going on via Instagram, we were shaken to the core. Breweries we knew, breweries we admired, were being implicated in the most horrific of behaviors, and it was disappointing, damaging, and disgusting. We called an all-hands meeting right away and hashed out exactly how we can ensure we never turn into an environment where behaviors such as those could ever take root. A code of conduct was born, and a close team grew even closer.”

In addition to brewing Brave Noise, Ross Brewing is also participating in other important initiatives, like Curtain Up, which raises funds and awareness for the live entertainment industry and how affected it has been by Covid-19; All Together, which raises funds and awareness for the similarly threatened hospitality industry; and Black is Beautiful, the collaboration from Marcus Baskerville of Weathered Souls Brewing that raises funds and awareness for the anti-racism, social justice movement. This winter, John says, Ross Brewing will release a “Collabs for a Cause” mixed four-pack, with one of each of these collaboration beers. 

Meanwhile, in Nashville, Jackalope’s founder and CEO Bailey Spaulding is excited about working on Brave Noise and the change it stands to impart. 

“As a woman-founded brewery, we feel it’s incredibly important for the craft beer industry to be a safe space for all people, and to create a more inclusive place for both work and play,” Bailey explains. “We want our voice to be heard in support of the ‘Bevolution,’ and to raise money that will hopefully be a meaningful donation for a local nonprofit doing the work.”

Keep an eye out for both Ross and Jackalope’s Brave Noise beers, as well as the Brave Noise brews that continue to pour forth from other breweries all over the United States and far beyond. And, perhaps even more importantly, keep an eye out for the chance that this collaboration is helping to make happen: better safety for all, and greater equity, inclusivity, representation, and visibility.

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