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Good Beer Hunting

Feb 19, 2022

Brienne Allan became a household name in the beer industry last year, when she inadvertently sparked a reckoning against sexism in beer that quickly went global. Her face and words were featured everywhere from Imbibe to the Boston Globe, Eater, right here at Good Beer Hunting, and her Brave Noise initiative with Ash Eliot was named Brewbound’s Cause of the Year for 2021.

But now that nearly a year has gone by, what’s changed? For starters, Brienne left her home at Notch Brewing in Salem, Massachusetts, something she’d never envisioned doing until she became a worldwide phenomenon. Part of that decision was due to the sudden, and often scary, visibility she had to confront as a public face of social justice and change, which forced her to quickly figure out who she could talk to and who to trust. But even in the darkest times, she describes pockets of joy and hope that shifted her perspective about craft beer, but ultimately kept her within its space in order to keep driving positive change.

Today, Brienne and I talk about the past year—what she’s learned, how she’s changed, what she wants people to know, and what she’s looking forward to. Later in the conversation, we’re joined by her fiancé and partner Michael Fava, who shares his reaction to the reckoning as well as some of their future plans as business owners. You’ll hear an exclusive announcement about that business (yes, it involves Lagers), and why we shouldn’t expect the name Brienne Allan to go away anytime soon. We finish with a conversation about the current reconciliation plans for Mikkeller, which she calls a “huge breakthrough” as the first-of-its-kind effort to acknowledge, apologize, and atone for past sins. The dust hasn’t settled yet, but with the help of people like Kate Bailey, Fanny Wandel, Ash Eliot, and more, Brienne’s path forward is becoming slightly more clear.