With New Award, the Craft Beer Industry Addresses Its Evolving Diversity and Inclusion

With New Award, the Craft Beer Industry Addresses Its Evolving Diversity and Inclusion

By  |  December 16, 2020  |  Uncategorized  |  No Comments

But the marketing of those handcrafted brews has finally gotten its due with its own awards show, the Craft Beer Marketing Awards (CBMAs), which features more than 30 categories celebrating the best of beer marketing and design and the people behind them. It’s also showing there’s diversity in brewing, and not just in different beer styles.

The CBMA recently awarded its inaugural “Woman of the Year” award to Megan Stone, a brewer at Societe Brewing Company in San Diego.

Stone got into the craft brewing business much as many people do—she started at the bottom, learned from the best and worked their way up. The difference with their journey is that she had to overcome some of the sexism ingrained in the boys club of brewing.

The Baltimore native worked at a craft beer-centric restaurant early in her career and later got a job at legendary brew house Dogfish Head, where they found a passion for brewing.

Stone’s path eventually took her to more craft breweries. Over the years, they have brewed, consulted and marketed for breweries across the country, including Mispillion River, Mikkeller and DuClaw. Last year, Stone brewed collaborations in Panama and the U.K., where she founded a diversity and inclusion apprenticeship with U.K.-based Laine Brew Co.

At Societe, she found her calling on the marketing end of the brewing biz.

“I was hitting up Societe, begging them for jobs,” Stone told Adweek. “But when I showed up, they said, ‘We’d love to hire you, but we just don’t have any remote production.’ But they were growing and they desperately needed someone in social media and marketing, and they knew that I had the experience from my own account and from consulting for other people.”

On Stone’s Instagram account—which has more than 33,000 followers—she courts diversity as a member of the LGBTQ community in the craft beer industry, spurred by the feeling that sometimes they didn’t belong.

“There were interviews where I got looked up and down by the owner, and they asked, ‘Can you even lift anything? Are you going to be good?’ There are all sorts of microaggressions,” she said.

When they started raising her voice for equality, Stone gained plenty of support. Now, she keeps sparking conversations to get people to think outside of their own perspective.

“With everything happening recently, there’s a lot of things that I’ve shared in regards to racial inequality and social justice,” Stone said. “I had a guy message me who said that he was an ‘All Lives Matter’ person, and now he’s a Black Lives Matter person. Just to hear that from someone is awesome, because you never know if that person is going to go and impact somebody else.”

Being a conversation starter has now gotten Stone recognized by her peers, which is something that fueled the “Woman of the Year” win.

The first-ever CBMAs were founded by Jackie DiBella and Jim McCune, who saw a huge hole in craft beer awards shows. McCune and DiBella had been to plenty of craft beer competitions that were about the beer and the taste, but none that centered on marketing.

About the Author: Doug Zanger Kyle OBrien

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