Sunday, March 19, 2017

THE BEER BEAT: Bryan Roth on sexism, anonymity and speaking openly about diversity.

As I observed on Friday ...

THE BEER BEAT: "'Pinup versus pin her down': Indiana beers stoke controversy."

 ... Route 2 will have to do better than taking credit for the idea while cowering behind a curtain. It's the same degraded mentality behind on-line anonymity. Come to think of it ... hiding's the whole point, isn't it?

Bryan Roth's blog is called This Is Why I'm Drunk ("Beer culture, history and an academic pursuit of one of our oldest extra-curricular activities"), and Roth has followed up with this.

Silence and Secrets Have No Place Here, by Bryan Roth

 ... Among the many reasons why someone’s name needs to stay secret, the threshold was apparently crossed recently when an employee at Indiana’s Route 2 Brews didn’t feel comfortable talking on the record about overtly sexist branding created by the business.

As silly as that sounds – a marketing and sales director refusing to talk publicly about their employer’s marketing and sales – it was compounded by the willingness of the Indianapolis Star to provide anonymity to a source that created the names and labels for brands like “Leg Spreader ESB.”

My former colleagues at the Guild still find themselves in search of sure footing.

The Brewers of Indiana Guild, which has previously refused to acknowledge questionable behavior by its dues-paying members, barely spoke up when offered an opportunity for the story.

I'm no longer a board member, but my stance hasn't changed since early 2015, when Leg Spreader first reared its ugly word (and world) view.

If the guild is supported by the majority Indiana breweries, and it is, and if these breweries agree that it's a good thing for the guild to lobby on their behalf, then the corollary is for them to accept an obligation to be socially responsible -- precisely because the Indiana legal regime stipulates that irresponsibility (serving minors, etc) is grounds for the revocation of the brewing privilege.

Perhaps it is true that the precise nature of social responsibility in the context of Leg Spreader (or Naughty Girl) has yet to be determined, in which case it is the responsibility of the guild to lead an effort toward definition and consensus.

It may be impossible to eradicate irresponsibility, but this doesn't mean that a guild or similar trade grouping is precluded from being pro-active to protect the collective reputation of its segment in the marketplace. Roth is right, and it's time to speak openly.

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