Beer Companies Changing Hands

Do you respond or react when you learn of information which startles you into the reality of life?

Case in point: many beer companies are selling to other companies and entities these days. This pattern will likely continue, as does any industry that experiences robust growth as the beer making industry has.

So do you react – or do you respond?

First of all, let’s consider one very important facet of businesses selling to other businesses. The business that chooses to sell is the seller. There’d be no sale if the seller wasn’t interested. So for people who get irked or high and mighty about their favorite brewery being ‘bought out’ is a misnomer: the seller has to agree to that first. Start with them, the seller, before accusatorily getting righteous.

Whatever the case may be, I'll have another beer.

Whatever the case may be, I’ll have another beer.

Next, if the plan of the ownership of a brewery – like any business – sees their business plan and exit strategy as selling to another party, good for them. That is strictly the business of the ownership, not ours as the consumers or observers. If that’s your plan, go for it.

A reaction is a response to an influence or event.

A response is an answer or reply.

They’re similar yet still different.

Everyone needs to withhold judgement before seeing what actually unfolds with a change of ownership.

Here’s the newsflash: when one company sells to another and a spokesperson for either entity comes out and says, “Nothing Will Change”, they’re lying. It may be innocent lying, but they are lying all the same.

The business has changed hands – how could it possibly remain the same!? It can’t, literally – it’s now changed. So before you blow up when you perceive that the business or beer did in fact change (whether it actually did or not), remember: the first thing that changed was ownership so of course operations will change.

Change seems to be something resisted with a great deal of effort. We’d be better served to simply observe, consider and then experience before judging and shouting.

Beer companies will continue to change hands. Breweries will continue to come online and grow into attractive enterprises to buy. It’s the way business can work for all of us. Simply enjoy what you enjoy, go with the changing-hands flow and be nice. There will always be more beer.

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Have We Gone Overboard?

There was a time when we simply described things as they were: carrots, beer, cars, songs. Hot cold, spicy, bland, fizzy, flat, red, blue and green.

Now it feels very different to me. Words like craft, artisan, farmhouse, and custom are bandied about with a carefree nonchalance that the most hardened foodie may find appalling.

And to what end? Are all these words used in context to what we put into our mouth merited? Does it truly matter to you where they came from or is it trendy? Said another way, do you think you need to be aware and care or do we fundamentally and genuinely care? Do we use the words because they really matter or because we’re keeping up with the organic-farm-eating Jones’? Here’s a few food words to consider.

Case in point: Paired.

Paired is a “craft beer + food” event offered to attendees of the Great American Beer Festival, fall every September. What was once titled Farm to Table is now Paired. Why the switch of the name, is my first question. Are we in a day and age where single glib or seemingly gravitational words are how we want to sum up an entire experience? Do we want the feeling of something or do we want to enjoy the literal fruits of someone else’s labor? Farm to Table is straight forward and descriptive.

Paired menu 2016

Paired menu 2016

Don’t get me wrong: the Paired event is quite a show. The host organization, The Brewers Association, has deemed me worthy of a media pass several years, for which I’m grateful. Trappings of that badge include admittance to this event. Any time I get to eat with drink I’m happy. The planning and effort that goes into this one event, for example, looks to be a remarkable undertaking. Kudos.

So let’s look at the menu. Read one way, we can safely say it’s chock full of learning opportunity! An overflow of words that are new to me, so no doubt a collection of new vocab to others as well. Take for instance: rillette, mignonette, tataki, fromage fort, taleggio, membrillo, fish headcheese, chorizo seco, duck pipian, loukaniko...and on it goes. A crash course in Italian and French in many ways. Cool! I love to learn so there’s a build in homework option.

And if we’re looking at keeping it real and every day, this isn’t the event for you. I honestly think that someone looking for everyday food they cook (in a broad general sense) would not fully enjoy or appreciate. Words that are unfamiliar and to some unpronounceable don’t really engender new ideas; they engender fear of mispronunciation and sometimes, due to that, simple avoidance.

I’ve found the best way to navigate this event is to simply wander and ask lots of questions. The crews present are always very knowledgeable and it’s a good way to make new connections. Simply know that the next person in line will likely also ask some of the same questions of the crew. It’s gotta be a long repetitive day, and that’s what this is about: meeting, talking & educating on a redundant soundtrack to help people learn more about what they are eating, beverage paired with food.

To that end it’s a smash. Again, I enjoy it. I also find that by the time I’m ready to go all I want is a plate full of one food I know and recognize and to fill up on with a full glass of beer.

Have we taken the beer & food pairing too far?

Likely it’ll get pushed farther still. So be it. For me it’s about knowing what I’m getting into, embracing it for what it is – Italian lessons beforehand be damned – and then coming out the other side. Enlightened, fuller and perhaps more curious, “Woman overboard!” an infrequent call.

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How Will Mature Beer Markets Grow?

By addressing women.

Mature markets is a misnomer, first of all. They aren’t mature if the entire population isn’t equally invited into the conversation.

One of the goals of the Brewers Association, for example, is to figure out how to grow in mature markets. Markets keep evolving and advancing, receding and changing so growth is a relative term. So I’d ask: how do you want to grow? More importantly, how do you define growth? What are those components driving your definitions? How will the definition change going forward?

 

Growth isn’t only or always about volume or quantity. It can be myriad definitions, as it suits the parties involved. I laud businesses who focus on growth as stability, internal improvement which then radiates to external audiences. Growth that lessens environmental impact, improves the quality of life of those involved and gives to the community around the entity is smart. Growth that increases capacity or volume sheerly for “more” is misguided and doomed to bust, sooner or later. Balloon walls are only so forgiving.

I can guarantee that when beer invites women into the conversation, markets will evolve – they will grow in participation – they will advance with more voices, more education and more participation. Until then, well, good luck beer.

Market growth isn’t that difficult to figure out or to accomplish. For example:

  1. Do the images and picture you use equally feature women and men? if it’s lopsided, you can fix it right now. I’ve yet to see a beer magazine have an equal mix of women and men. Who will be the first one to rightly accurately represent the population??
  2. Do labels, beer names or brand names focus on the beer, and steer clear of anything sexual? If your beer can stand on its own, it deserves a place in the market. If you are relying on sexist images – of any sort – then get out of the way for the rest.
  3. Are you talking to everyone who approaches your beer with equal enthusiasm? If you reduce people to brains & tastebuds, vs. reproductive make up, then you’re doing it right.

Beer needs women more than women need beer. Heck, women – and men for that matter – don’t ‘need’ beer at all. Growth of beer is reliant on women and the sooner the professional beer industry community sees that, the better off we’ll all be. In fact, I’ll drink to that.

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I Think We Can Do Better

“I think we can do better.” – Julia Herz, Beer and Food Summit, CIA, St. Helena CA 2015

Julia’s a wise and savvy person. And I agree with her entirely.

We all have the power & tools to be better.

We all have the power & tools to be better.

I know we can do better to invite women into beer. I know we can do better to describe beer flavors and attributes. I know we can do better to explore pairings of beer and food together. I know women can pull a chair up to the table to get involved. I know beer brands must be fully respectful to everyone they wish to sell beer to. I know we can do better in so many ways.

Doing better means you have to have a mark in which to see what ‘better’ means.

So if we think, say, pairing  beer and pizza is good, I’d say – we can do better. Let’s look at focusing in from the way too generic Beer and Pizza to something like Porter and Crimini Mushroom Pizza. That’s better.

To pair beer and cheese: we can do better by pairing not just any beer and any cheese. We can use a great resource like Janet Fletcher’s Cheese & Beer book to educate ourselves and learn to match flavors.

To market beer: we can do better by universally assuming full respect for all people, all makes, models, identifications and preferences. Who cares what all those ‘things’ are when what the human population simply craves togetherness. Let’s do better by getting together over what is universal: flavor.

We can do better. And we can do a bit better every day. In the interest of continually improvement, we can all do better when we realize that doing better makes the world better too.

Doing better means one thoughtful action at a time, adjusted to be better. Try it. Have fun, see improvements domino.

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Craft & What You Like

Craftsperson = attention and dedication to consistent excellence.

To each, their own.

To each, their own.

What is right = what you like, what your customers like

Clever + smart is only good if it’s appropriate and respectful to all.

Clever + smart is not good if it’s offensive to any.

Attention to quality is success.

Keep an open mind, like what you like, never judge.

Craft is a very individualized definition for each of us.

Women enjoy beer.

Diplomacy is queen.

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Beer Businesses Changing Hands

If you’ve ever seen a sign outside a business stating “Under New Management” then you know things change.

Starting and operating a successful business is a unique proposition. For those of you who have done it, you know what I mean. For those of you who have not – either congrats or please withhold your opinions when someone does in fact sell their business to another.

There’s a lot of movement right now in beer – one beer business (read: brewery) selling to another person or entity. It’s really no one’s business except the parties involved.

Say you start Beer Business A. Your plan – aka dream – had long been to open your own brewery, employee people, bring the neighborhood together and build your dream. It’s a noble and common actuality.

Say you don’t have any inkling when you first develop your business plan on the exit strategy. Fine. Say you’re 5 years in and it’s a lot of work and you either keep your head down and keep plowing ahead trying to figure it out  or you start thinking ‘what’s my bigger plan?’ Say from there you decide to build it to the point where you can in fact sell it. All your hard work, thousands of hours of sweat equity and money can come back to you in the form of a sale. That sound rather good to some people. And some have planned for that eventuality to begin with, having had this particular exit strategy in mind all along.

Would you begrudge a hardworking friend the benefit of the fruits of their labors?

It’s what some would say is part of the America Dream: create a business from nothing, build it to the point of viable attractiveness to another person and then sell it. Kudos to you if that’s your plan: it’s a solid ordinary occurrence.

Celebrate the good things - including beer business sales.

Celebrate the good things – including beer business sales.

With all the kerfuffle lately over beer businesses deciding to sell to other parties, I’d take this tact: those maneuvers are theirs and theirs alone to determine. Anyone outside of the founders and owners are really not in a position to make any sort of armchair judgement or comments on who sold or, more inaccurately and cattily – ‘sold out’ – to others. Leave it alone.

The comments by a new owner or previous owner may ring hollow with the “nothing will change” line. of course things will change – there’s a new owner, how could things not change! Swing with the punches you’ve set yourself for. When you sell something, you no longer have control.

The beer community is better when we all support and sip as we so choose. When we judge, comment, and make unkind remarks about people who have built their own American dream we bring it all down.

Like the beer you like, accept who makes it or choose something else politely and kindly. With the virtually endless choices these days, we can play nice and still build diplomacy and community by welcoming everyone who wants to partake to do so in their own way.

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Hiring A Female Brewer Isn’t The Point

Hiring the right brewer is. No matter the gender, hire the right brewer.

I get plenty of calls and emails from people who think they want to hire a female brewer; to, you know, get more women into brewing.

Excuse you…what???

I’m always encouraged and simultaneously nauseous at this thought; that someone wants a female brewer as a token of gender parity. Here’s the crux of the issue.

  1. Women have always been involved in beer; the idea of a female brewer is not a new one.
  2. Women as brewers does not automatically exonerate an entire industry flagrantly negligent at proactively bringing more women up and into the industry.
  3. It’s got to start at a childhood level. Female children need to actively see and experience that the beer world can offer a worthwhile career, and not just to be a brewer.
  4. There’s a whole world of purpose in beer, for livelihood and recreation. We must include females and women of all ages in every single beer conversation to make gender equity progress.

Don’t be offended if I send you this link when you tell me you want to hire a female brewer, and can I make some recommendations. To this request, I’ll tell you:

  1. It’s about the qualified person, not the gender of the people who are qualified.
  2. Inclusion must be pushed and actively managed through every age and stage of human development. Think I’m overstating it? I don’t.
  3. Ask yourself: why do you think you want a female as a brewer? Do you also want a female as a ____? Or a male as a ____? Would you pick the wrong person in any role if you could help it? Do you look at other beer roles with the gender lens? If so, stop it. That does more damage than good. This isn’t about affirmative action – it’s about equity starting from birth.
  4. We must ask you a question....

    We must ask you a question….

    Would you call an Asian person to ask for a recommendation for an Asian brewer? How about an Africa? Or a transgender? No, I’m not being flippant or disrespectful. I’m being real. To qualify only on gender is  a mistake.

  5. There’s a very fat fine line to this entire idea: Yes, more women in beer would make it a MUCH better industry, hands down. And we must start at the beginning, not look for panaceas or bandages to slap over the sexism and problems the industry robustly has with gender inequity (if even supposedly inadvertently, though I don’t buy it).
  6. We can change the entire industry in a very short time span. We can fulfill a much more gender equitable bill of lading, have a more realistic population representation within 5 – 10 years with everyone speaking up, and bringing up qualified people of all makes and models. This includes cleaning house of poor current employees, no matter their orientation.
  7. Who said anything about gender having to do with talents, skills and potential?

So – if you ask me if I can recommend a few qualified females, would I help you find a female brewer – the answer is no. I’ll turn it around to ask you why a woman? Why in that position? And what have you done for the last – oh, say 20 years to promote gender parity overall?

Once you can reply to all of those, we can talk. Otherwise it’ll be empty, hollow and misguided (however ignorantly considered).

Everything is possible. More women in beer has gotta start with each and every one of us. And it doesn’t start with finding a female brewer.

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Beer Drinkers Code Of Conduct

Here’s my Beer Code of Conduct Rules for enjoyers, drinkers and buyers of beer.

  1.  Drink what you like, always following your own taste buds, brain and ideas of what beer can be.
  2. Accept whatever type and flavor of beer someone wants to drink. Always support them in their own beer pursuits.
  3. Welcome all comers to beer, whether they drink beer or not, whether they drink beer or prefer another beverage. The more we all gather, talk, and discuss over a beverage of any sort, the more progress humankind can make.
  4. Buy someone a beer the next opportunity you have. Pay it forward, balance out their tab and talk to your servers and beertenders about how you can surprise someone with the gift of a bought beer. It feels great and builds community.
  5. What path do you follow to promote beer?

    What path do you follow to promote beer?

    Support whatever breweries you wish, with total happy abandon. Listen only to your guiding lights and braincells, dismissing naysayers who aren’t you. You know what you like – support that.

  6. Advocate & practice Beer Diplomacy always and in all ways. The whole rising tide saying needs all boats; the tide is egalitarian and blind to what kind of boats and what kind of occupants. Diplomacy makes real things happen in our world.
  7. Share your beer. If you’ve got two people and one beer, split it. Give others a taste, a try, a sample, a bottle, a can, whatever container you are getting in beer – share it. Beer is always better shared.
  8. Give the gift of beer. Stock up on a few beers you love to share and give them as host gifts the next times you’re invited to a party, gathering, dinner, brunch, birthday. What. Ever. Beer is a celebration of flavor and camaraderie.

Any you’d add?

Cheers & keep enjoying.

g

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Stories about Women & Beer

Where are they: stories about women and beer?

I know from doing previous herstorical research that women have always been involved in beer and brewing. It started as a home chore, making liquid safe to drink when water was consistently onerous. Once the church decided to remove it from home-made to commercially made during the industrial and scientific revolutions, women were shoved aside, no longer the venerated makers of the elixir they once were.

Everyone needs to know about women and beer. Phil & Larry will be the first in line.

Everyone needs to know about women and beer. Phil & Larry will be the first in line.

So where did the record keeping ball get dropped?

It’s a grossly unfortunate fact that much of women’s’ contributions throughout time have not been recorded; women not being seen with fully and equal value, hence the negligence of recording women’s beer herstory.

There’ll be no pity parties or Poor Me crap. No one wants to hear it, least of all me, and it won’t move the progress cart forward. So, here are your marching orders: help me record women & beer through herstory.

So it’s time to reinvigorate and renew our efforts to record how women have always been involved; bring the import of women & beer to the front row. Sing the praises of women far and wide for their participation in this originally home-cooking based beverage.

Tell me: who do you know involved in beer in any & every way?

  • Maker, home or pro.
  • Pro, in any possible capacity supporting the business and global industry of beer.
  • Enthusiast, all makes and models, ages and descriptions.
  • Educators, any level, every where, teaching some facet of life that touches beer.
  • Writers, reporters, journalists – every woman and female who exercises communication of beer.
  • Every other facet that we can possibly dream of.

I’d be grateful for your help, directions, and ideas to this end of creating a modern recollection of how women and beer go so well together. Thanks in advance for your help.

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Local: For Better Or Worse

As I am entering the final few weeks of (at least one stage) of writing my first book on women & beer, I am running across some super fascinating and distracting insight. Women have graciously provided insight, opinions, and ideas for almost 8 years on their relationship with beer.

So today the word and concept Local is on my mind.

  • What does local mean to you?
  • What does it include and what does it discount? Why, for both, for you?
What's your definition of Local?

What’s your definition of Local?

For the book, I’ve worked on expounding on 10 fundamental questions from the original 2012 Women & Beer survey. The one that inspired this post is question 10: What does a beer company, restaurant, bar or distributor have to do to get you to buy from them more than once?

The connection and reply to this question is that a handful of women indicated that they’d return if the establishment carried, made or sold local beer.

So what does this mean – what exactly is local beer? And why do women want it?

This is where you come in. I’d appreciate your own opinion and reasoning to this query.

It used to be local meant down the street, in the same town and otherwise grown or made by someone nearabouts. Then it graduated to 100 miles; then 300. Now…well, to each their own definition (much like ‘craft’).

Is local better? Is it worse? Does it matter? If so, how so? If not, why not?

Thanks in advance for chiming in. I’m always interested in your thoughts. Cheers.

g

p.s. the book is due mid September 2016, a guidebook to marketing beer to women…stay tuned!

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Marketplace Power

  • Who’s got it? Women.
  • Who knows it? Women. Some men, a few beer brands.
  • Who needs to know? All the others.

Here’s the deal: I got a notice for an art show recently that had only 1 woman with 4 other men. Why, I ask?

This is totally avoidable. So what did I do? I have written a letter, to go out in the post this week to voice my concern.

Marketing power is developed and held by those in the marketplace who have some form of leverage. In the case of women and beer, women absolutely make the majority of purchasing decisions and they need to speak up more to eliminate sexism in beer.

Write letters – paper and pen type communications – that aren’t easily ignored or deleted. Make phone calls (vs. emails) and insist on speaking with the people who set the course for the company and those who make the marketing decisions. Ask them direct professional questions on anything you find objectionable and sexist. Listen. Keep challenging when you find they seem to not listen.

Yep, it's all of us speaking up that make the change happen.

Yep, it’s all of us speaking up that make the change happen.

Sometimes it’s easy to be eaten up by the negative vibe that sexism is. That said, we all can and must turn it around to make it work against the very problem it is.

Like I stated in my TED talk: Stand Up, Step Up, and Speak Up. In this case I wrote up – you can to. I encourage you to do so: start this week with one letter. Be sure it’s civil, succinct and not a rant. That’ll just push everything back.

We’re all responsible for developing and defining our own power. To women & men everywhere: speak up when beer is sexist. It’ll make a world of change. We all deserve better – so does the beer. Thanks.

 

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Waving At Cops

I’ve long had a book title in my mind: Waving At Cops. It’d be a book about smaller towns and how it’s important to wave at everybody to build your world.

I feel the same way about beer. I want to wave at all possibilities, give them all a chance, invite them all in. And why not? There’s flavor aplenty to discover. And I want to share it all with those around me.

Class of 2007, Sheriff's Academy, Story County IA

Class of 2007, Sheriff’s Academy, Story County IA

Perhaps this thought is front and center right now because I’m writing my book on women & beer. It’s on my mind because I think there’s so much more progress and value and life in the welcoming – the waving – to all beers.

It’s like waving at cops. Or the old lady who pushes her wheely cart on the sidewalk. Or the first grader with an oversized backpack. All of these people hold value and stories. They are all part of our neighborhood.

If everyone embraced welcoming & waving all beers and all people, I think the global neighborhood would indeed be a better place. I’m doing my part, waving at my local cops. And I’d encourage you to do yours. It’s fun, it’s good and it matters.

Go on, wave…..they’ll likely wave back.

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Hey Beer: I’ve Got The Solution To Your Problem (Yes, You Have A Big One)

To all the beer pros out there: I’ve got the solution to your problem.

Before I get to it, I’ll identify your problem.

  • Problem: You’re only actively addressing less than 50% of the global population when you put together your marketing plans to sell your beer.
  • Problem: You’re not seeing what other retailers and businesses see right outside their own immediate world.
  • Problem: Active -ism’s are being intentionally practiced which repel enormously valuable market share & customers.

Here’s the Problem: You don’t know how to market beer to women.

Beer companies of all sizes have big problems: They don't know how to market to women.

Beer companies of all sizes have big problems: They don’t know how to market to women.

Yep, its true. And everyone’s got the fever.

And there are solutions everywhere!! I’m writing my first book to this end – a guide-book on How To Marketing Beer To Women, since so many, frankly, stink to high heaven at it.

Being in business means knowing what you’re getting into to a certain degree, its knowing you have a boatload to learn – all the time – about being successful & seeking the help you need. It’s knowing who the heck your market is BEFORE you sign the lease, hire staff, and open the doors.

Women are the worlds largest human population. Women make the vast majority of spending and financial decisions in the household (regardless of make up of members). And women like favor.

So – when you’re ready to solve the problem, starting with your business (yes, everyone has it – don’t think you’re immune), call me. I can help.

Women everywhere are waiting.

 

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Clean Bathrooms & Organized Cellars

“Well run places have clean bathrooms and well organized cellars.”

– Dan Goode, SteadyServ

Dan’s right. Clean bathrooms are a litmus test which can tell you, as a customer, how dedicated the owners and operators are to the beer.

How?

Clean bathrooms tell us there's (usually) a overall commitment to cleanliness.

Clean bathrooms tell us there’s (usually) a overall commitment to cleanliness.

Well, if the bathrooms are clean, if everything in the restrooms is in working order, then that directly correlates to the care given to the brewhouse and making beer.

Have you been to a brewery, brewpub, or tasting room and been impressed with the cleanliness? There’s a huge likelihood, then, of those same folks having clean and tidy bathrooms. Do the stall latches work? Great – I bet all the butterfly clamps in the brewhouse are working too.

Why? Because every detail matters to them. From the temperature of the air to the toilet paper dispensers being full to the lack or dirt in the corners to completely clean walls (no mold growing) in moist environs.

Cleanliness is the #1 factor in running a solid brewery, hands down. Cleanliness is one of the top factors female beer enthusiasts do and will notice in a beer focused establishment. It’s an easy factor to get right: be diligent, regular in maintenance, and keep it together.

Since I’m in the midst of writing the Women & Beer Guidebook: How To Market Beer To Women, bathrooms cleanliness comes up once again. (p.s. that’s still a working title…)

As both my editor Julie and brewer friend (and beta chapter reader) said, ‘we still need to talk about this?‘ Yep. As long as there are dirty bathrooms, women will equate them to, well – what else could or is dirty if the bathrooms are? As easy as it is to keep them clean, it’s equally easy to be lax and let them go. That’s why we’re still talking about this.

Make your commitment complete: Keep your bathrooms clean, your cellar organized, and your patrons – especially the female ones – will keep coming back for more.

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What (Beer) Defines You? What (Beer) Doesn’t?

If you were to fill in the blank below*, what would you write?

If I was a beer, I’d be _________________. And I’d never be _________________.

(*brand, style, flavor, whatever and however you define beer)

This idea gives me pause thanks to Jim Sullivan for the inspiration today. He asked this question of the audience at the TRA last year, where I was also speaking. ‘What defines you? What doesn’t define you?’

So many beer enthusiasts proudly wave the snob banner. The best banner to wave is the diplomacy banner.

With the 'Sullivisionary' in Texas.

With the ‘Sullivisionary’ in Texas.

Diplomacy is so much better, productive, and progressive than any snob banner would be, I’m miffed as to why anyone would claim to be a beer snob.

Who wants to hang out with a snob anyway!? Perhaps only other snobs… I don’t know but it sure ain’t me.

Plus, as an open minded beer enjoyer, I want to try everything I can to see what’s available. It’s a tragic error for anyone to turn down any beer they’ve not had – regardless of all factors – unless they’ve tried it in the last month. How do you know you won’t find a brand new friend you can wait to enjoy again if you don’t try it?

Answer: you can’t.

So you allow your taste buds to go without something that could have enlightened, pleased, and delighted your entire sensory system.

Diplomacy reign supreme.

If I were to fill in the blanks above today*, here’s what I’d tell you:

If I was a beer, I’d be the fresh one you bring over for dinner. And I’d never be stale.

*qualified with “today” – it can and likely will change, as I hope it does for you.

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Changing Perception

“If there’s a problem, it’s my job to change the perception.”

These were big words uttered by a long time hospitality pro during a very worthwhile panel at the 2015 TRA Marketplace. She said a mouth-full, for sure.

So how do we 1. know there’s a problem and 2. how do we change perception.

2015 TRA Marketplace Panel

2015 TRA Marketplace Panel

In keeping with this being a site on women & beer, I’d relate it to a huge problem being the misnomer that women don’t drink or enjoy beer. While millions understand that’s simply not true, millions and billions more seem to think (actively or passively) that is it true.

So how do we change that perception, knowing there’s a problem.

Wait – first you want to know how I judge there’s a problem? Glad you asked.

Do a quick online search of articles on women and beer, beer labels and sexism in beer and it’ll come at you with lightning speed.

The problem, Houston, is that we’re making much ado about an incorrect and damning stereotype. I can tell you for a fact – women enjoy beer. Women enjoy beer, they enjoy wine, spirits, cider, mead and sake…and everything else out there any one person can enjoy. Like Nancy Nichols, the author of the cited piece above said, “don’t view your sex as a factor.”

There’s a misperception that certain alcoholic beverages hold a lock on a certain gender. It’s a bunch of bladerdash.

Think for yourself and with your own brains and taste buds. If you run into a misperception – when you run into a problem with this thinking – set the record straight.

Ain’t so such thing as a woman’s beer nor a man’s beer. To thine own taste buds be true and we’ll all make progress breaking down the sexism in beer.

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Yes, You Can!!

The classic (for a reason) children’s book, “I Can’t” said the ant by Polly Cameron is on my radar right now.

When I was moving furniture around a month ago to paint my floors, I unloaded our full book cases. In a former life I taught school and would often order books when my students could. Anyone else remember the thrill of getting the Scholastic order forms?? Anyway….

What I continue to love about this book and what makes me keep it is the inherently positive message it conveys.

Yes, you can!

Yes, you can!

Yes, the title has a negative. Can by it’s very nature is a word of choice – you can and you can’t; it’s up to you. It annoys the crap out of me when someone tells me they can’t do something. Baloney! It’s usually because you don’t want to, not that you literally cannot do whatever. I stay away from can’ters.

Here the ant thinks it can’t…yet all the ants friends and encounters tell it YOU CAN! It’s how I choose to look at the world every day, regardless of what’s going on. I can.

When I think of this book in context of beer (yes, I have a connection) I know that I can and will try any beer put in front of me. Home brew, professional beer, international – whatever. It’s because I know there are flavors and beers out there just waiting for me to enjoy. Discovery excites me.

To say ‘I can’t’ before I even sip and try is pessimistic and fatalistic. And certainly not how my taste buds choose to roll!

Say “I Can!” each and every time someone offers you a beer, no matter what kind it is. Seriously. If you back off because of an earlier experience that was negative – guess what: that’s not happening right now and you are different than you were, this is a new circumstance.

So try it. You may like it and find a new friend.

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Open Your Mouth

  • Silence = agreement.
  • Speaking up = challenge, agreement, inquiry, support, debate.

Whenever we speak up about what you support and believe in, we can make progress forward. Indeed, when I applied to give my first TED talk (April 2015), I didn’t realize it was going to land firmly in the humor-cum-gender-equity arena.

So it goes for me. Why I can’t keep my mouth shut is the same reason I have a damn near impossible time not piping up when I see, read, and otherwise witness some sort of insult to gender related to beer.

Open your mouth...

Open your mouth…

The primary reason: it’s not necessary in anyway shape or form. Great brands lead by people who understand smart business rely on the quality factors, on consistency and on opportunity. Education for all with beer & women & men will move the progress needed forward. Gender equality is good for all.

So – speak up for your beer. Speak up for gender equity. Speak out against any -isms that we unhelpful to all of the above.

“If I’m too strong for some people, that’s their problem.”Glenda Jackson

After all, sharing a beer with people all over the globe should bring us together. And I say cheers to that.

 

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Water, Water Everywhere…But….

With a hats off to Lucy, here’s the scoop on the very important 2016 Great Lakes Water Conservation Conference. Information and registration is here.

It’s totally my option to endorse and publish the press release here with more detail.

We’re all responsible for water conservation: it’s the key to life on earth. Never mind our selfish enthusiasm for beer!

Conserve, attend, support.

Conserve, attend, support.

Beer requires a hefty amount of water to produce it – from the cleaning and sanitation to actual production to the beer that lands in our glass. It’s critical we give it the attention, time, and effort required to help our planet stay healthy starting with our water.

“The Great Lakes Water Conservation Conference brings together brewers to consider innovative answers to water and wastewater management issues and discover collaborative, sustainable solutions for the community and for the environment.”

Do your part to conserve:

  1. Exercise restraint and smart use at home, business, volunteering and all places you are and go.
  2. Educate others and help them execute the same.
  3. Appreciate the life water helps us live.

Here’s a terrific 100 Ways To Conserve Water. Apply immediately.

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