Members Of San Diego's Craft Beer Community Under Fire After Allegations Of Harassment Surface

May 15, 2021

The global craft beer industry is under fire following a lengthy series of Instagram stories detailing incidents of rampant discrimination throughout the male-dominated industry, with many San Diego craft breweries and beer bars called out in the process. 

On May 11, Brienne Allan - a brewer and production manager from Notch Brewing in Beverly, MA - asked her Instagram followers, "What sexist comments have you experienced?" Since then she has been using her Instagram channel to share stories from anonymous followers from around the world detailing incidents of sexism, harassment and racism that have allegedly taken place within the craft beer community. Among the hundreds of posts on her Instagram stories, several San Diego breweries and bars have been mentioned, including several posts about Modern Times Beer and the owner of Hamilton's Tavern in South Park, which is rumored to be permanently closed following a fire last fall

"As a former co-owner of a small brewery in San Diego, I'm not surprised that so many of these stories are from here," read one post shared on Brienne Allan's @ratmagnet Instagram profile. "The toxicity of the industry was a factor in me shifting focus to wine, which is still male dominated and sexist but IMO less so, at least in SD."

A GoFundMe page has since been launched to assist Brienne in covering any legal fees resulting from the fallout of sharing other people's stories. Many breweries, including San Diego's Modern Times, have also released statements in response to the posts.  

Visit Brienne Allan's Instagram page at instagram.com/ratmagnet and click on her profile photo to see the posts in her story. Modern Times Beer's response to the accusations against its employees and founder can be seen below:

As many of you are aware, there has recently been an industry-wide outpouring of employees sharing their experiences with several forms of oppression in the beer world. On a public forum Friday, stories involving Modern Times team members were shared as part of a larger necessary and valuable reckoning for the craft beer industry when it comes to misogyny and harassment, specifically toward the women+ members of our industry. Some of these stories were not new to us, have previously been investigated, and resulted in terminations or meaningful corrective action at the time. Others have prompted new investigations to be opened that start today.

In tandem with these investigations, I will be working this week to partner with team members here who I want to help drive our response and actions toward making Modern Times the safer workspace each and every employee (and guest) deserves for it to be. Today, I have asked specific team members to work alongside me, initially to improve our reporting mechanism for team members as well as to identify immediate next steps when it comes to training - a topic that will include bystander training and the onus we all share to report observed misconduct.

Those team members will be announced internally once they have agreed to step up in this way.

This group represents a cross-section of our divisions and are team members I know to be respected by their peers (and certainly myself). They will help fashion our response here -- not to pass the buck, not to just distribute stress across more people, but to ensure that the next steps we take here are solutions our women+ team members actually think can/will improve our work environment. The last thing any of us want is a performative response that changes nothing.

This is a heavy topic -- for those first and foremost with firsthand experiences in this industry or elsewhere as well as for those who have friends, spouses, loved ones with their own stories.

If you are reading this and wondering if you should report something you experienced or witnessed, please do so. For the time being and until the group mentioned here potentially recommends a change, anyone not currently working at Modern Times can send a message directly to our General Counsel, David Israel (david@moderntimesbeer.com). He will partner with a third party investigator as needed depending on the nature and scope of a report.

This work will continue alongside the development of our Employee Resource Groups (ERGs), which aim to better the work experience for our Women+, BIPOC, African American, and LGBTQIA+ communities here as well. As part of that work, we are a couple of weeks away from hosting manager and team-wide anti-racism and anti-oppression training, which the MT group previously identified as a majority priority in terms of education and training.

More to come soon here, as we have meaningful progress to report on. This will remain my number one priority here for as long as it needs to to make the progress we all expect to see happen, happen.

Chris Sarette
President/COO
Modern Times Drinks