The Firkin for August 2021

The return of beer festivals is again and maddeningly in another limbo pause courtesy of the duo of unvaccinated and Delta but that provides an opportunity to make some tweaks to them.

One addition that I would like to see is raising awareness of women being subjected to all levels of crap behavior by men. Ranging from being man-splained about beer to unwanted sexual advances.

My idea is that those pouring beers and those volunteering would wear festival branded t-shirts with statements on the front such as “No I do not want your number.” or questions like “Have you ever felt unsafe at a festival?”

The back would say, “If you need help, ask us.”

I am sure that female craft beer fans would be able to come up with many, many, many more examples for the front of the shirt.

If enough of these shirts were at festivals, I think that those who felt they had license to behave badly might not see your festival as looking the other way. Maybe even staging an impromptu scene where volunteers act out how to use the help and the consequences might make even the most cavalier of men take notice.

The Firkin for January 2018

6 characters can make the privileged tremble: #MeToo.

First a bit of disclaimer – this is written from my white male point-of-view. Having never held a position of power or been a member of a popular clique, I don’t have much real-world experience in terms of overt “power” and/or “popularity.” All I have is my human revulsion of what far too many men think they can get away with just because of a one-chromosome difference. End of disclaimer; onto my entreaty.

It is past time for we beer fans and consumers to make it known that misogynistic, patronizing, and discrediting behavior towards women in tap rooms and beer bars is more than not acceptable. I offer a list of action items for men to put into actual action the next time they are at their favorite watering hole:

1. Don’t tell a woman what to order or what style “women” prefer. Surprisingly, just like men, women are individuals and don’t uniformly enjoy one type of beer – especially the one that you have decided they should.

2. Accept that a woman behind the bar is there for a reason. Don’t assume that she knows less about beer than you do or less than a male counterpart working with her. In fact, she very well could be a supertaster (while you, more than likely, are not).

3. It sounds very PSA, but if you See Something, Say Something. Don’t allow or enable sexism to happen in front of you. Your reproach doesn’t have to be confrontational, but, out of respect for your fellow female humans, you can and should let the sexist know that you, too, have just witnessed them crossing a line.

4. Do not audibly complain about pink hats or marches or rushes-to-judgement while sipping your hazy IPA. Zip it, Matt Damon. You likely have no true grasp of how much the women in earshot of you have put up with, so stow your tantrum.

5. Believe. When a women says she has been victimized, believe her. Then defend her and support her as needed.

We have an opportunity to actively make beer places safer and more fun for everyone. To anyone unwilling to contribute to creating that type of atmosphere: please remain in your cave with your non-evolved friends and drink there.

It is in all of our englightened self-interest to get as many people as possible from all walks of life into taprooms. The better business they do, the better and more beer we all get.

Just Stop – Part 2

It is past time to set some guidelines for how to treat beer, breweries and the people who make it for us. Right now there is way too much entitlement out there and it is spawning ugly behavior. People seem to think they are due rare releases, that they are due to be sexist, that they can spew crap on the interwebs because it is due to them.

So, here is an easy set of rules to follow:

Rule A (from which all other rules flow)
If you would not like to receive the e-mail, Tweet, Facebook post at YOUR place of business or at your home, then you should not send it to someone else’s. Seems clear but most people seem to think it is within their right to abuse people online. If I could, I would re-route the obscene message sent by the trolls and CC their immediate supervisor and kids. (Maybe I should ask the Anonymous Hacktivists to get on this)

What you are allowed and encouraged to do is clearly state your issue (with beer release, beer event, beer in general) and recommend possible solutions while acknowledging the difficulty that a brewery may be working under.

Attack e-mails with Trump-d up accusations are to be thrown into the unsent bin from which never to return. Attacking a person personally who works at the brewery is also verboten. Why? (Well, it should be obvious that you treat everyone with respect but that doesn’t seem to work with some people, so….)

Sub-Rule 1
You are not entitled to ANYTHING. Remember that you are a special & singular snowflake. Just like EVERYONE else.

Sub-Rule 2
Seriously, you are not the fulcrum on which craft beer pivots. (please re-read Sub-Rule 1)

We all have opinions. But getting to an actual discussion is harder when everyone else is yelling. And most of the time people are yelling because they think that their opinions smell like freshly bloomed roses when in fact people are swatting away the proverbial flies from the manure. If we can listen, we can hear and appreciate people’s opinions and from there you just might not be a dick to other people

I want this to happen because I want to be active in online craft beer discussions but I avoid it now like the plague.

I want this to happen because brewery employees spend too much time responding to the S*%#& when they could be doing real work.

I want this to happen because craft beer should aspire to be better.