Brewers association

Brewers’ association tackles beer diversity and marketing

The Brewers Association (BA) has updated its Advertising and Marketing Code and also formed a new Diversity Committee, as announced at the Craft Brewers Conference & Brew Expo America 2017®. These recent actions are closely tied to the BA’s goal to promote and protect America’s craft brewers, their beers and the community of brewing enthusiasts.

Diversity Committee

The new Diversity Committee met for the first time at the 2017 Craft Brewers Conference. Led by Scott Metzger, Founder of Freetail Brewing and BA Board Member, this new Committee will use 2017 primarily to gather information. He will also engage in a variety of tasks, potentially including:

  • Identify issues related to maximizing the diversity and inclusiveness of members of the Brewers Association and the industry as a whole, including beer enthusiasts.
  • To enrich the association and its ability to serve members, as well as the craft brewing industry, through the integration of multiple perspectives and experiences.
  • Conduct outreach activities and participate in conversations with like-minded groups to share best practices.
  • Monitor industry discussions between media, members and beer lovers on diversity topics as they relate to race and gender.

Updated advertising and marketing code

Language has been added to address the marketing of beer with sexually explicit, obscene or degrading brand names, language, text, graphics, photos, videos or other images. An Advertising Complaints Review Committee will deal with issues as they arise if a voting member brewery files a code-related complaint.

The updated code will apply to winners of the BA, Great American Beer Festival (GABF) and World Beer Cup competitions. From 2017, brand names that are determined not to comply with the Marketing and Advertising Code, and win a medal or award, will not be permitted to use GABF and/or World Intellectual Property. Beer Cup (brand names and logos) when promoting winning beers. In addition, the brand name will not be announced on stage during the awards ceremony or promoted in contest materials, such as the list of winners. The brewer and style of the beer will be advertised/listed, but not the name of the beer itself.

This addition does not respond to any particular brand or brewery. Additionally, this only applies to new registrations for our upcoming competitions. The Brewers Association believes in freedom of expression, innovation and creativity. As businesses, brewers can and should name and market beers however they choose. However, the Brewers Association also believes that beer marketing should represent the values, ideals and integrity of a diverse culture. We will not be a platform to promote or celebrate brands that violate the Advertising and Marketing Code.

Why now?

Many conversations with the media and members prompted the above steps. Pulse is not a specific thing, but rather a compilation.

Especially in recent years, we have been asked about beer diversity by a growing number of brewery members and beer community stakeholders, including beer lovers and the media. Additionally, a growing number of diversity-specific media stories have focused on the topic. The BA is taking meaningful and determined action on a subject that has permeated many industries in our culture, including beer. Many member associations have codes and initiatives in place to address diversity.

In November, writing about this topic in both The new brewer and in a BrewersAssociation.org article, I admitted the complexity of talking about diversity, and that we as an industry don’t always get it right. Importantly, these new steps also stem from acknowledging the conversation taking place in our culture regarding diversity. Inclusion is a problem that has many aspects and points of view. Some may think we haven’t gone far enough, while others think we’ve gone too far.

Regardless of the complexity, as Scott Metzger shared with BA members during CBC, an increased focus on better equipping BA member breweries to market and sell beer to a diverse group of adults, as well as to increasing the pool of talent to hire is the right thing. TO DO. It has been said that diversity is not a problem to be solved, but a value to be lived. This mantra is something to keep in mind as we step into these new waters.

As a collective group, craft brewers are incredible citizens of the community, constantly using their craft beers as a cause for other causes. Craft brewers donated approximately $71 million in cash to charitable causes in 2014, and in 2016 provided 129,000 full-time and part-time jobs. They fuel our economy and tax base while advancing tourism and our food culture.

It’s important to point out that more than two-thirds of today’s adult legal drinkers live within 10 miles of a brewery. These 10 miles are where many hires for brewery jobs and lots of shopping take place, providing a diverse geographic mix of brewery workers and beer enthusiasts. However, none of us really know how diverse the craft brewing workforce in the United States is, because we have never studied this information. In addition to the updated Advertising and Marketing Code and newly formed Diversity Committee, the BA will also use 2017 to collect data on the gender and race/ethnicity of brewery members who are open to sharing these information. As an organization representing tens of thousands of corporate members, the BA is taking the positive step of becoming more knowledgeable about the makeup of the large group of individuals who work in America’s breweries.