Aug 21, 2021
The last few months in the British beer industry have been tumultuous. Inspired by the brave work of Brienne Allan, Britshbeergirl – real name Siobhan Buchanan – used her instagram platform for British beer people to tell stories of sexism, sexual harassment and exploitation in the industry. Scandals rocked several much loved small breweries as well as some of the UK’s biggest – including BrewDog.
My guest today, Charlotte Cook, started her career there, and while she left nearly seven years ago she is still affected by the experience – feeling strong enough about the situation at the Scottish brewery to be a signatory for Punks With Purpose, a campaign group focused on holding BrewDog’s owners and directors to account and ensuring positive change.
Long before that though, Charlotte – now of Coalition Brewing – has been vocal about the exploitation of workers in the beer industry, and a keen advocate of unionisation. Her outspoken nature has resulted in her being interviewed on BBC Radio, and has also inevitably got her embroiled in several online spats. As is so common with grassroots movements, she never intended to become a voice for the industry but has found herself in the role because she refused to stay quiet. We talk about how that responsibility lies with her, how she deals with the abuse she receives, and what solutions there are to the problems that plague the brewing scene.
We also talk about the profoundly different breweries she’s worked at during her 10 year career that also includes stints at Pohjala, Cloudwater, Hammerton and Trumans, as well as her new role as head brewer at London’s Coalition, the first time she’s joined a brewery at the very beginning of its journey.