Supporting Women in Craft Beer
Recent events on social media have exposed an underlying element of toxicity that exists in the beer industry. Women have come forward to share their experience with sexism, discrimination, harassment, and/or abuse within craft beer, a community that has long promoted inclusion. 
Our hearts go out to the brave women who have come forward to share their stories, and to those who have experienced this behavior – behavior that demonstrates that the brewing industry has a long way to go to build a culture of true equity and respect.  
Deschutes Brewery exists to bring people together and create a sense of belonging. This is something that craft beer has always seemed to do naturally, but it is clear that there is a lot more work to be done and that this is just the start of broader action. 
It has always been our philosophy, and our expectation, that as co-owners, we do our job well and treat people with respect. We have a communal responsibility to show up for one another, to educate ourselves, to listen, to ask hard questions, to become allies and hold ourselves and each other accountable to help change the culture, and to ensure that everyone feels supported and respected. 
One of the most alarming things from these events is the number of women who felt social media was their only platform to share their experiences without fear of retaliation. This is unacceptable, all breweries, distributors, retailers, vendors, suppliers, competitions, event promotors, etc. must have a fair and non-threatening process to allow women to report harassment, discrimination, or abuse without fear of reprisal.  
Deschutes Brewery has and will continue to emphasize a zero-tolerance policy regarding any type of harassment or discrimination (we also have zero-tolerance policy for retaliation). This includes behavior from customers, vendors, and industry partners. Zero-tolerance in this context suggests that if any policy violation occurs, that the harasser may be terminated from employment. If a co-owner feels someone’s behavior is inappropriate, or they have unsettling interactions, our staff is empowered and encouraged to report it, and their voice will be heard and respected. 
This should be an industry standard with multiple ways to report concerns, either directly to the HR department, Supervisors if one feels comfortable, or anonymously. (We use Ethics Point, a third-party platform for co-owners to confidentially report instances of harassment, discrimination, etc. that is facilitated by a third party and investigated by HR.)
It should not and will not stop with simply reporting concerns. We are committed to making positive change and believe that every person should feel welcome and respected at Deschutes Brewery, and that we must provide a safe, and respectful space for all. We are in the process of launching a women’s affinity group (open to all co-owners who identify as women) in addition to our Q Committee (open to all 2SLGBTQIA+ co-owners and their allies) as forums for sharing, listening, and generating equitable, inclusive, and meaningful change in our industry. Our equitable pay program evaluates all roles within the company to ensure equal opportunities for all and will be continually evaluated. Our DEI Committee is an incredible resource for our team providing training and education to build a more inclusive work environment. We have an Employee Assistance Program that provides free, confidential counseling for anyone within the brewery who needs help. We are proud to be a part of the Crafted for All community that helps empower our organization and industry to make positive change. And we are just getting started.  We can and will do more.
We haven’t always gotten it right in the past, but we have learned and are committed to being better in the future.  It’s in our core values (The Time for Better is Now) and we will live it.  This is a sprint and a marathon, and over the next several weeks we will be forming small groups within the company to provide an opportunity to share and listen and learn from our co-owners and their experiences, as well as ensure that we all have the tools to be allies in any situation.  Our HR team, with support from our DEI committee, will be creating a space for co-owners to talk and identify what we can learn from these examples of sexual harassment and abuse and how we can continue to improve our own culture and support women across the industry. 
In solidarity,
Gary & Michael