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Female brewers in Washington agree it's time for a reckoning on sexism in the craft beer industry

Female brewers across the U.S. have shared hundreds of stories about sexism and discrimination. Local female brewers say there's an industry-wide problem.

SEATTLE — Female brewers across the country are speaking out and saying the craft beer industry is filled with sexism and discrimination towards women. Their stories are leading to change. 

It started two weeks ago with a question on Instagram from Brienne Allan, a female brewer in Massachusetts. 

"What sexist comments have you experienced?" Allan asked on her Instagram page. 

Women brewers across the country sent in hundreds of replies. 

"Me: standing on top of a ladder. A guy from behind the bar: 'Watch out for that glass ceiling up there!'" said one anonymous post. 

"Male brewers being professional brewers while I'm just an amateur brewer," wrote another. 

"There were more and more responses of really horrific abuse, harassment, rape and traumatic things," said Lisa Rome, a brewer at Stoup Brewing in Seattle's Ballard neighborhood.

Rome said she doesn't know a woman in the industry who found the responses surprising, while some men have been shocked. 

"I've had to deal with inappropriate comments from guests. I've had to deal with inappropriate comments from coworkers," said Rome. 

Rome and her boss Robyn Schumacher, a co-owner of Stoup Brewing, want to see more women involved in the brewing industry. 

"We across the board for our taproom and production we're almost 50-50 women and men, which is really unusual," said Schumacher. 

Schumacher said the brewery doesn't specifically look to hire women, but she believes because Stoup is mostly women-owned, they might see more women applicants. 

She also wants to see more women in ownership roles. Schumacher owns the brewery with husband-and-wife team Brad Benson and Lara Zahaba.

"There are quite a few breweries that are owned by husband-and-wife teams. There aren't any breweries in Seattle that are owned solely by women anymore," said Schumacher. 

Allan's Instagram post has now caused a reckoning in the beer industry. The Brewers Association posted a statement saying, "We at the Brewers Association want to make it clear that we condemn any act of assault, harassment, violence, bigotry, discrimination, or inequity. Realizing our shared vision of a safe, inclusive, and equitable community will require a long-term, industry-wide effort, which the Brewers Association is prepared to lead."

Thursday the Brewers Association began a three-part webinar series hosted by Define the Line about preventing sexual harassment. 

Rome is hopeful there will be change but says there's a stigma the industry needs to overcome. 

"I think there's still very much a male idea of beer, like beer is what men drink," said Rome. "We need to have a change of the conversation of who enjoys beer. We need to make it more inclusive." 


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