Keep the change 2022

In this award, Beer52 and Ferment recognises the individuals and groups driving meaningful and positive change in the brewing industry.

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• • • Keep the change • • • GOLD

Charlotte Cook and Kate Bailey

Spring 2021 was a tumultuous time in the beer world. Respected and admired figures across the industry were being called out, both for their own behaviour and for presiding over working environments that placed staff and customers at risk. Many called it a reckoning, and saw our collective ‘cleaning house’ as an opportunity to re-shape craft beer culture as a more inclusive and welcoming place.

Whether it’s really worked out that way is highly debatable. For some though, the lack of a knockout blow against deep-rooted attitudes in the brewing industry has not meant the end of the fight. These brave individuals have dug their heels in and refused to accept any slide back into the bad old ways of the past.

In this year’s Keep the Change award, we celebrate the continuing work of brewer Charlotte Cook, and hospitality industry consultant Kate Bailey (www.handandheart.eu), who have both achieved so much in holding powerful industry figures to account, often in the face of quite shocking intimidation. Reluctant to take the spotlight, their work has been characterised by a genuine desire to support and improve, rather than wreck, by a calm tenacity coupled with a forensic approach, and by the courage to share their findings despite the personal and professional risk. 

Charlotte, Kate, you’re doing a job that British beer journalism failed to do for a long time, and Ferment salutes you.

• • • Keep the change • • • SILVER

Lana Svitankova and Eoghan Walsh (Drinkers for Ukraine)

When Russia shocked the world with its illegal invasion of Ukraine on 24 February, we individually looked on in impotent horror. At Beer52, our first thoughts were for our web development team, which is located in the west of the country, but also for the Ukrainian brewers and beer workers who we’d formed friendships with over the years. I remember having a conversation with Brussels-based beer writer Eoghan Walsh at the time, which ran along the lines of “there must be something we can do”.

For most of us, that would be a kind of rhetorical question, but not for Eoghan. With astonishing speed, he connected with Ukrainian beer writer and ambassador for Varvar Brew, Lana Svitankova, who was rapidly formulating plans of her own. The two joined forces and almost overnight launched Drinkers For Ukraine, a project that would unite craft brewers and drinkers from all over the world behind a fundraising campaign, collaborative brew and unified cry of solidary.

The three-part project was designed to mobilise the passion and generosity of the global community from day one, starting with a distributed auction of beer, memorabilia and frankly anything that anyone wanted to donate. It then moved on to a massive collaborative brew, with breweries large and small brewing an ‘anti-imperial stout’ from a recipe devised by Ukraine’s Varvar brewery, with profits going to the cause. The month-long effort then culminated in a live-streamed telethon, hosted by Lana, Eoghan and Beer52’s Doug Garry, featuring entertainment, reports from Ukraine and many, many messages of support.

In total, the campaign raised more than 90,000 Euros for the International Red Cross, and an astonishing 143 breweries took part in the auction and subsequent activity. Beer52 continues to stand by people of Ukraine, whose astonishing bravery is an inspiration, and we look forward to visiting our friends and colleagues there soon.

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