Georgia women craft beer experts discuss breaking into the industry and pushing for DEI

On Friday’s special edition of "Closer Look,” Rose Scott spoke with several guests about women breaking into the craft brewing industry.

According to a demographic audit conducted by the Brewers Association in 2021, 23% of brewery owners are women and just 2% of all breweries in the U.S. are fully-woman owned.

As the craft brewing industry continues to grow across the country, many women and people of color are creating pathways to establish their beer footprint.

On Friday’s special edition of “Closer Look,” Rose Scott spoke with several guests about women breaking into the craft brewing industry.

First, Tracy Bardugon, the chapter lead for the Atlanta Pink Boots Society, talks with Scott about the history and mission of the Pink Boots Society and how the nonprofit is training women to build successful careers in the craft brewing industry.

Jen Blair is one of four advanced cicerones in Georgia, and the only female in the state to hold the title. The National BJCP beer judge talks with Scott about her career path and helping other women advance in the craft brewing industry.

Lastly, Jossette Footmon-Smith, a co-owner of Our Culture Brewing, and Jen Price, the founder of Crafted for Action, an organization focused on building an inclusive beer community, talk with Rose about the need for more DEI initiatives in the craft brewing space and many challenges people of color face in the industry.

In the spring of 2021, a viral social media post opened a huge discussion about sexism, misogyny, abuse, racism and homophobia within the world of craft brewing. Several local businesses in Georgia were called into question. The “Closer Look” team reached out to the breweries for their comment. Please find their responses below:

New Realm Brewing Company

“Thanks for reaching out. As has been the case since we founded New Realm, fostering a culture of transparency, integrity and equality remains a vital part of our mission. In support of that mission, we have undertaken a number of initiatives over the last several years, including ongoing training at all levels of the organization to ensure we maintain a safe and inclusive workplace, improving the means through which employees can anonymously report workplace concerns through a third party, and the establishment of a diversity council that is focused on ensuring that New Realm remains an inclusive, inviting, and a great place to work.”

The Tucker Brewing Company

“The Tucker Brewing Company team receives quarterly EOS management training as well as employment training. This training has helped us put processes in place to ensure a healthy and inclusive work environment for all team members, and it has been instrumental in facilitating communication throughout the organization.  We continue to employ a diverse team and are proud of the commitment all of our team members make daily to execute our vision of providing a welcoming environment for our customers and an exceptional beer-tasting experience.”

Pontoon Brewing

“Formalities aside, we are continuing to take steps to promote and support an inclusive community at Pontoon Brewing! Some of the specific steps we’ve taken in the past few years include partnering with WeVow to provide support to the entire team via a third-party anonymous reporting tool, counseling, HR support, and annual training; adding Safe Bars bystander intervention training as annual training for all team members; conducting a yearly anonymous employee satisfaction survey to get direct team feedback and input on issues and changes. One of our key goals is to provide a safe and inclusive environment for our team, our guests and the entire craft beverage industry.”