Sexual Assault Awareness in the Beer Industry

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A year ago, Brienne Allan, a production manager for Notch Brewing in Salem, MA made her experiences of sexual harassment at the brewery she worked for public on Instagram (IG tag: ratmagnet). She then asked her following if they had encountered similar experiences. The response was explosive and comparable to the beer industry’s own #MeToo movement. Stories of sexual harassment/assault within the brewing industry flooded Brienne’s Instagram account. With permission and their anonymity, she shared these stories on her account shedding light on how common this was for women in the brewing industry. This resulted in several brewery owners publicly apologizing for their behavior and some stepping down from their business altogether. The brewing industry is a male-dominated industry, and this could be why many of the stories that female-identified brewers felt that they couldn’t share their stories, or maybe even that their stories were unique within the industry.

Craft beer breweries have been a growing industry and have been booming on Long Island recently. Breweries have a different culture and atmosphere in comparison to a typical nightlife space. You can typically find families with their dogs spending an afternoon in the beer garden during the day and a more typical nightlife crowd in the evening. Breweries will host festivals, vendors, and many community-centered events.

Recently the Long Island Safer Bars initiative has had the honor of working with the Blue Point Brewery in Patchogue, NY as well as 9 East End breweries (Eastern Front Brewing Co., Greenport Harbor Brewing Co., Jamesport Farm Brewery, Long Ireland Beer Company, North Fork Brewing Co., Peconic County Brewing, Tradewinds Brewing Co., Twin Fork Beer Co., übergeek). We have only had a partnership with these breweries since March and they have already participated in community events and training with their staff that focuses on preventing sexual violence within their establishments. During Sexual Assault Awareness Month, we will be continuing to talk about how leadership plays a role in preventing sexual violence and discrimination in nightlife. These breweries have prior knowledge of SAAM which has helped in their planning of further events.

The physical space of breweries allows for different community building than you typically would expect of nightlife establishments. This could be why the partnership with breweries can be a more intentional space for all different establishments (bars, restaurants, breweries) to come together and address sexual violence within the industry. Long Island Safer Bars is excited to see where this partnership with breweries will lead to. We are hopeful that these continued conversations and prevention efforts will contribute to the nationwide movement in preventing sexual violence in nightlife spaces.

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