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Good Beer Hunting

Apr 27, 2021

In beer, even the heaviest intellectual conversations around topics like racism or worker exploitation tend to hit a natural barrier after a couple of pints. That slow fizzle doesn’t happen when you speak to A.J. Cox. In fact, her obvious passion for human rights only increases the longer the conversation goes on.

Cox is a brewer and pro-union academic with an affinity for Marxism and social justice. She’s worked in beer both in the United States as well as Ireland, where her tenure at Heaney Brewery was interrupted by the onset of COVID-19. Her research relating to social anthropology extends across the globe, focusing on the history of labor, how today’s inequities have evolved from said foundations, and how that all relates to the beer industry.

Our conversation for this podcast touches on many of her points of passion and expertise. We discuss how low pay exacerbates inequality and contributes to a continued lack of diversity within the craft beer industry, how consent differentiates between sexuality and sexism (and how they relate to influencer culture), and the ways that neoliberalism contributes to the economic stranglehold of capitalism. We’ll also touch on how the perceived value of certain jobs in beer can create disparities of access, how non-disclosure agreements (or NDAs) can harm efforts to reduce sexual harassment or discrimination, what Marxism really means, and what to expect if you follow her on social media. (Don’t worry—it’s mostly dogs and beer.)