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Good Beer Hunting

Dec 10, 2020

We hear it all the time: Craft beer is a "community" where folks can come together to socialize, grab a beer, and let loose. But what happens when that "community" isn't as inclusive as it sounds—and when you're stuck watching the industry you love tout its openness while you encounter barrier after barrier to entry?

Holly Regan is a longtime writer, and in their first story for Good Beer Hunting—a critical, two-part piece called "All In the (Chosen) Family"—they ask the question: "Why are queer people continuously erased from craft beer—and how can that change?" Holly has a background in anthropology, and prior to writing this article series, they set to work developing a survey to collect data and stories from hundreds of respondents within the beer industry. The results illuminate the myriad struggles that queer folks experience in beer, and which the wider industry has failed to address.

The idea of erasure is key. It's easy to say something like, "All are welcome here," and proclaim a space to be inclusive. But Holly rejects that simplistic approach, and uses their survey's results to demonstrate that efforts to make beer a welcoming place must be continuous and proactive. In writing this story, Holly also recounts their own experiences with erasure, and how simply being well-intentioned is not enough.

Holly's piece is exhaustive and ambitious, as well as deeply personal. They cite the advice of Elizabeth Gilbert, author of Eat, Pray, Love, as a source of inspiration: "Ideas are a disembodied, energetic life-form. They are completely separate from us, but capable of interacting with us ... Ideas are driven by a single impulse: to be made manifest. And the only way an idea can be made manifest in our world is through collaboration with a human partner."

This is Holly Regan. Listen in.

Note: At the end of the episode, Holly talks about a group they've started for queer folks in beer, The Rainbow Boots Interest Group, which you can learn more about here.