We’ve all seen the beer commercials where women are in swimsuits and men are “being men”. The staple drink has been marketed to men for years, but originally it was women who were the brew masters. Up until the 1300s when men started pushing women out of the position.
Gradually, women have been expanding their palettes from wine and vodka cranberries to craft beer. The Brewers Association has spent the past few years focusing intensely on building diversity in the beer lover community. They have been providing resources to businesses attempting to grow their customer base, started a grant program for events focused on inclusion and diversity and collected data about beer drinkers all over the country.
Now don’t get me wrong, they are clear about why they are so dedicated to diversification. “Research studies increasingly show that diversity and inclusion (or D&I) can help increase a business’ bottom line, drive innovation, attract more talent, attract more customers, and create more opportunities for growth.” (brewersassociation.com).
Capitalism is capitalism and businesses still need to make money. Still, diversity is a great goal to strive for even when driven by profit.
There’s still a long way to go. Men still make up the majority of craft beer enthusiasts. Women make up 24% of beer drinkers, while men occupy 59%.
People of color in brewing are shockingly scarce. Craft beer has become a hipster interest, which means it is dominated by white people.
There have been cases of outright racism like the Heineken commercial, “Sometimes lighter is better.” Which faced outrage from viewers and even warranted criticism from Chance the Rapper.
5 Rabbit Cerveceria in Chicago is the first brewery with a Latin American focus. Their brews are made with Latin ingredients and crafted to pair with Latin food. While most breweries focus on German, English and Scandinavian style beers, 5 Rabbit creates culturally significant beers that reach out to an underrepresented part of the beer community.
Craft beer is such a big community; with breweries, festivals, tastings and even competitions. It, like so many things, is overwhelmingly white and male. Diversity is slowing growing and strong efforts are being made to improve.
Cheer’s to constant growth!