#MeToo Movement Hits the Craft Brewing Industry

#MeToo Movement Hits the Craft Brewing Industry

A second wave of the #MeToo Movement has hit the U.S. social media circuit with the craft brewing industry at the center of it. Brienne Allan, of Boston, Mass., took to Instagram to shine a light on the harassment she was facing while working at a local brewery. 

“A man is literally talking to me like a dog right now,”

Allan wrote.

She encouraged other women in the brewing industry to speak out about what they’ve experienced. Within hours responses began pouring in, detailing the excessive harassment workers across the country had faced. 

Allan’s original allegations were against Notch Brewing’s new Brighton taproom. Since she went viral, several figure heads across multiple different breweries have resigned. Many companies are facing allegations of harassment on social media, as well as claims that higher ups failed to respond to complaints of misconduct. A few local Boston-area companies, including local Harpoon and Lord Hobo, have since launched internal investigations in response to the online testimonies.

These allegations stretch across Massachusetts and claims of workplace harassment are being brought against breweries in Pennsylvania, Florida, and many other states as well.

The craft beer and brewing industry have long since been considered “male-dominated”. It may seem obvious that the idea that men and women should have different jobs is a severely outdated idea, but is likely still the cause for many of the problems women face today in toxic work environments.

Tired Hands Brewing Co. and Evil Genius Beer Company of Pennsylvania have also made it to the spotlight. Many employees explained that the laid-back atmosphere often found in the industry began to cause problems when multiple incidents went unaddressed. Allegations from flirting, to neck biting, to violent threats were ignored by these employers, proving that these companies were willing to let their employees go unprotected. 

Erica Jones, another outspoken advocate, faced harassment at several Florida-area breweries. 

“Every time I tried to speak to anyone in the building, I would get screamed at and berated and yelled at. I felt less than,” Jones said.

Jones, as well as several other victims, have chosen attorney Ashley Pileika of Forester Haynie to represent them. 

“This isn’t cancel culture. This is accountability — 100%.”

Jones said.

Inequality is defined as the unfair treatment of a fellow human being due to a certain factor like race or gender. This is a huge problem in today’s society and although some may say the discrepancies have gotten better, the goal is for it not to exist at all. The moment we look past physical attributes and begin looking at people for who they are is when this ongoing problem will cease. The same idea applies for the ongoing problems of mistreatment in the workplace. Life would be much easier for workers like Breinne Allan and Erica Jones if harassment in the workplace wasn’t as widely accepted as it still is. 

“We do think that momentum will kind of continue to grow. The more individuals that we are able to reach and represent, the more likely we can bring the case on a class-wide basis,” Pileika said.

Without those who share their stories the problems stay secret. The brave women (and men) sharing these experiences of workplace harassment online allow us to address the problems that many pretend don’t exist. If you or a loved one have experienced workplace harassment at a craft brewery or other local or national business, please reach out. Forester Haynie is currently investigating claims of sexual harassment within the brewing industry as well as claims of any other workplace discrimination.

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