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Discrimination debate takes centre-stage

Industry experts will gather at the Manchester Beer Festival trade day to debate how the beer industry should combat discrimination.

Taking place between 6:30 pm and 7:30 pm on 24 January at Manchester Central, the panel discussion “Sexism is bad for business. What are we going to do about it?” aims to address the ongoing issues and challenges of sexism in the beer industry and determine what practical steps can be taken to address it. It follows hot on the heels of the festival’s decision to filter out beers with sexist names or discriminatory images and CAMRA publicly condemning sexism and discrimination in the industry.

Master Beer Trainer Christine Cryne will lead the debate with the following panelists on board:

  • Jaega Wise, Head Brewer of Wild Card Brewery, who has recently made headlines for her comments on sexist beer labelling
  • Annabel Smith, beer sommelier and founder of Dea Latis, an organisation that aims to bring beer to more women
  • Barry Shaw, operations manager for Beerhouse’s pub chain which includes six pubs
  • Jennifer Smith, co-owner and founder of Brewsmith Beer, a ten-barrel brewery
  • Katie Wiles, CAMRA’s senior communications manager and beer blogger at wilesaboutbeer.com

Annabel Smith said: “During our years running Dea Latis we have gathered a lot of anecdotal evidence about sexism in the beer and pub sector. Most predominantly we have identified there is a proliferation of blatantly sexist beer names and imagery which alienate female consumers, and an assumption that brewing beer is a ‘man’s job’. It even filters down to bar staff who automatically assume that beer is for the males in a group, and women prefer wine.

“Dea Latis wants to change these attitudes and perceptions because we believe that beer is gender neutral and far too good to be appreciated only by men. Come along to the debate if you’re a beer loving female and want to hear your voice heard!”

Graham Donning, CAMRA’s Regional Director for Manchester, said: “Sexism has been a hot topic across many sectors recently. But even within our festival, we have seen outdated attitudes persisting over several years, despite our efforts. It’s led to us deciding passive solutions weren’t working and it was time to take positive action.

“It’s clearly a deep-seated problem within the beer industry of which we are only a small cog. More action is needed and our trade session provides an opportunity for industry professionals and volunteers alike to come together to take us beyond talk. We want to see some practical and realistic ideas on how we can all eradicate sexist attitudes in beer as soon as possible.”

The trade session will kick off the Manchester Beer Festival, and takes place between 5-9pm on the 24th of January. It is open to the press and members of the trade, as well as CAMRA members.

The festival will open to the general public from the 25th-27th January. Tickets are available at http://mancbeerfest.uk/.

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