Beth Demmon

Welcome back to Happy Half Hour! This week's special guest is Beth Demmon, a freelance writer and journalist who specializes in craft beer. Beth started writing about craft beer in 2015 and has been an advocate for diversity in the industry: She founded the Diverse Beer Writers Initiative and is a member of the North American Guild of Beer Writers. Recently, she published an article on Vine Pair about allegations of rampant sexism and harassment that have been occuring in the beer industry, and the story got national attention.

The allegations were brought to light by Brienne Allan, a brewer in Massachusetts. Allan posted a question on her Instagram, asking other women who work in craft beer about sexist comments they’d gotten while on the job. The responses were harrowing—and quickly encompassed not just words, but sexual harrassment and assault as well. In her post, Allan says she was asked about her credentials while she was on site helping build Notch Brewing’s new location. Beth says comments like these are microaggressions, which are “death by a thousand cuts” that exact a toll on the recipient. She says that microaggressions against women in the craft beer industry are not only too common, but the lack of accountability and consequences for perpetrators has led to the normalization of this behavior. Beth says that the sheer volume of responses from women experiencing sexism in the craft beer industry wasn’t surprising, but the number of women willing to attach a name to their response has never been seen before.

With all these allegations surfacing, the industry has been forced to take action. Some breweries are implementing third-party reporting systems. For smaller breweries that don’t have human resources departments, Beth says that even working to develop a code of conduct is better than nothing—it’s a way for a company to put their values first. She also discussed the challenges of reporting on this topic. In a report like this, one might expect the number of false allegations to be anywhere from 2 to 10 percent—but more likely from 2 to 3 percent. Beth says that even if 3 percent of the reports turn out to be false, that still leaves thousands of others that cannot be ignored, and it’s clear that something needs to change, especially in San Diego, a city that historically avoids confrontation when it comes to issues like this.

In Hot Plates, Sky Deck food hall is opening on the second level of Del Mar Highlands Town Center on June 11 with 13 different restaurants and food concepts, each with their own seating area. Jay Birds, a hot chicken restaurant from Long Beach, is opening in Carlsbad. Ben and Esther’s Vegetarian Jewish Deli is expanding from Portland to the Rolando/College area. Also, voting for San Diego Magazine’s Best Restaurants 2021 has begun! Cast your vote for your favorites, then see the final list of the critic’s and readers’ picks in the September issue.

In Two People for Takeout / Two People for $50, Beth’s pick is Angkorian Pikestaff in East Village for their Asian fusion and Cambodian dishes. For hot, made-to-order donuts, Troy recommends Broad Street Dough Co. in Encinitas, specifically the blueberry glazed donuts. Marie’s pick is the pasta that gets prepared in a 60-pound wheel of Parmigiano-Reggiano at Bencotto Italian Kitchen in Little Italy. My pick is Point Loma Fish Shop for their Thursday night oyster special and fish and chips. Kairoa Brewing is David’s pick, for their salmon sashimi topped with crunchy quinoa.

Thank you for listening! As always, we want to hear from our listeners. Need a restaurant recommendation? Is there a guest you want us to book on the show? Let us know! You can call us at 619-744-0535 and leave a voicemail, or if you’re too shy, you can email us at happyhalfhour@sdmag.com. See you next week!

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