The global collaboration that’s making beer a better place
Saturday 18 December 2021
This article is from
Brewing the Future
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Particularly as we’re setting the scene for what will hopefully be a brighter year in 2022, we couldn’t be more delighted to be part of the global Brave Noise collaboration, and bring you a beer that stands for a better, more inclusive beery world.
Brave Noise was co-founded in the US by brewer Brienne Allan (formerly of Notch Brewing) and Ash Eliot of Women of the Bevolution. In May, while Brienne was sharing women’s stories of sexism and misogyny in the beer industry on her @ratmagnet Instagram account, Ash began gathering resources and connecting with her peers, figuring out how best to support survivors and keep up the momentum.
Brave Noise requires that breweries submit a code of conduct and post it publicly - Brienne Allan
“Brienne and I connected via Instagram and started discussing what it would take to launch a beer collaboration and ensure it inspires action. She had already brewed the Brave Noise pale ale prior to May and the name resonated with the movement, so we decided it would be a good way to make some noise for the brave voices who have spoken up.”
Rather than make it a one-off brew though, Ash and Brienne threw down a challenge to breweries across the US – and the world – to join the movement, pin their colours to the mast, and brew a Brave Noise beer of their own.
“When Brienne and I were discussing the best way to ensure it was different from other collabs, we knew we had to find a way to create real action. So we ask partners for transparency; Brave Noise requires that breweries submit a code of conduct and post it publicly, commit to the long-term work and donate a majority of proceeds to a charity that reflects the Brave Noise mission of advocating for a safe and discrimination-free industry. We knew this was one step in the direction of change and a way for staff and customers to hold businesses accountable if they aren’t living up to their code of conduct and values statement.”
Several UK breweries have taken up the challenge, including our good friends at Aberdeen’s Fierce beer.
Co-founder Dave Grant says: “We’d obviously been following the story over the course of 2021, so when Beer52 approached us about brewing a Brave Noise beer for the ‘Future’ box, it felt like a very good fit. We already had a code of conduct, but it was a bit fluffy. So this prompted us to revisit that and give more depth to it. What we have now reflects what we were already doing in practice, but this gave us a chance to check-in and bring that aspect of the brewery to the forefront. And of course a percentage of the profits go to charity too, so that’s fantastic.”
Since Brave Noise has now expanded outside of the US across multiple continents, I ask Ash whether she’s surprised that its message, based on the stories of individual women, has carried so well.
“In light of stories that have been shared in not only the US but the UK and Canada, I’m surprised there aren’t more involved,” she replies. “Especially from the UK, there have been several voices in this movement including Fanny Wardell, Siobhan Buchanan and Charlotte Cook who have actively been sharing stories and speaking up about harassment in the beer industry. We need more breweries involved in this collab and conversation now… I think it will evolve from here. We’re starting to see other alcohol brands – cider and non-alcoholic beer – engage with the collab. And between Brienne and myself, we are actively trying to have conversations with festival organisers and engage with other industries like music and entertainment to educate and initiate plans with them to create safe spaces.”
In terms of the beer itself, each of the breweries works to a set of guidelines, including that it should be a pale ale and incorporate Sabro and Mosaic hops. The details though are up to the individual brewer.
“It’s a really nice way of doing it,” says Dave. “If you were too prescriptive, I guess that would be detrimental, because you'd get an awful lot of beers exactly the same, or very similar. So for example our friends at Vault City did one, in collaboration with Siobhan Buchanan, which was completely different; still the same hops, quite a similar hop bill, but very much a Vault City beer. I really like that.”
Ash and Dave share a hope that, even for breweries not participating in the collab, this work will change the nature of the discourse and gradually shift the dial toward making beer a more inclusive place for women, non-binary, BIPOC and LGBTQIA+ professionals, as well as customers.
“I think it’s a step in the direction of change,” concludes Ash. “There is a lot of work to be done. But the industry hasn’t had a movement like this before, and we see slowly changes and tough conversations happening. Yet again, there’s still a ton of work to be done.”
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