At the start of this month, the Craft Brewers Conference was held in Nashville, Tennessee. There was a bit of dismay at both the choice considering the hostility towards, well anyone not a white male, in that state as well as disappointment at the Brewers Association for not either moving it (may not have been feasible) or at least using their voice to condemn recent laws.
Let me preface the next bit by saying that I am an over 50 white guy who is trying to be more aware each day and who tries to keep rose colored glasses and blinders away from my face to see the world as it is.
There are some steps to be made that I think will help.
- Create a city selection committee who will make suggestions based on current optics and politics and not on facilities or hotels or cost and maybe not have any white people on it, just to see what happens
- Have a grievance list for the city chosen because you can easily find problems in literally every city in this country, then air your grievances like at Festivus
- March to the state house of representatives and hand them your grievances and let them know that if they are in the red, as it were, that they may not get the conference again until things change
- Allow dissenters to participate virtually if they feel unsafe going to a city. Or better yet, create an alternate conference where views can be spoken
It is easy to sweep things under the rug. It is easy to just say craft beer is broken. The truth is in the middle. There are great people in craft beer and there are shitty people in it. No one in this country is doing well by women, minorities or anyone not a rich white male. To expect that craft beer will be an exception is naive. But, we can all push the ball forward. Might only be a yard and a cloud of dust but we can all enjoy our beer and make good change.