Ways to Think About Equity in Your Taproom

What does DEI mean to you? And what do you do to move forward with that initiative within your own brewery? That was a discussion led by a trio of black- and BIPOC-owned brewery owners last week at the California Beer Summit as Lynn Weaver of Three Weavers; Teo Hunter from Crowns & Hops; and Rob Archie with Urban Roots gave a Tap Talk on the expo floor at the conference.

Diversity and Inclusion are discussed a lot, but Weaver wanted to tout that breweries need to work on equity as well. Archie echoed that sentiment saying that being hospitable is key.

“We have taprooms, and we have a plan to be successful in business,” he said about his Sacramento-based brewery and restaurant. “At the end of the day, we’re trying to create a safe place. And we’re trying to create a place that’s inspired to which we share the things we’re inspired by.

“What’s a big part of that is making people feel enough.”

Accomplishing racial equity and the byproduct of that is having a more diverse and inclusive community, Hunter explained.

“The way we see racial equity impacting our industry is it ultimately is a catalyst of a tide that raises all ships,” he said. “The more people that discover Crowns and Hops, the more people discover Three Weavers.

“The more people do collaborations with Crowns and Hops, the more opportunities people see alignment with this mission of achieving racial equity.”

If you apply an equality mindset versus an equity mindset to situations, Weaver said, then you end up not leveling the playing field.

“So when you talk about equity, I feel like it is important for people that look like me to be able to make decisions in business models that make sure that everybody feels included,” Archie said. “That could be a lot of little details that certain people might not think about. When you open up a restaurant, when you open up a third place, you’re representing that community.

“You’ve got to ask yourself: How am I representing that community? A lot of times that’s not just staying in your comfort zone. It’s easy to just say I’m a brewer and I don’t do that, or it’s easy to say my experience is just a bar and I don’t do that.

“No. Our fiduciary responsibilities are to understand the community we serve and to be able to make all feel comfortable.”

Photo courtesy Crowns & Hops

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