Imbibe 75 Person to Watch: Brienne Allan - Imbibe Magazine Subscribe + Save

Imbibe 75 Person to Watch: Brienne Allan

Brienne Allan was beyond mad on that fateful day last May. The Notch Brewing production manager was working on the brewery’s new Boston-area location when construction workers questioned her qualifications. Why was she on-site? Allan had worked in brewing for nearly a decade. Being a woman was irrelevant to her résumé. She turned to her Instagram account, @ratmagnet, to ask followers another question: What sexist comments have you experienced? Allan soon received hundreds of replies, then thousands, largely from women chronicling everything from sexual harassment to physical abuse. Bartenders, brewers, sales reps: Sexism impacted women at every position. She posted the anonymous stories, sparking an industry-wide reckoning for breweries that’s still reverberating. “It doesn’t stop,” Allan says.

She’s ensuring the brewing industry remains accountable to sexism and discrimination with a multipronged approach. Along with Women of the Bevolution founder Ash Eliot, Allan created the global Brave Noise collaborative beer project that seeks to eliminate discrimination by requiring participating breweries to commit to lasting change. Concurrently, Allan was commuting two hours from Portland, Maine, to Notch in Salem, Massachusetts. “I needed to take a step back from brewing to focus,” says Allan, who left Notch late last summer. She joined the LLC for Women of the Bevolution and is looking to bolster resources to encompass legal help, therapy, and employment. “Hopefully we can have a great job board that’s vetted to make sure these companies have an accepting culture,” she says.

After a grueling year, Allan took needed downtime in December to travel to the Czech Republic to brew traditional lagers and take classes on pouring properly foamy Czech beer, several abiding interests. There’s also a historical project researching pitch-lining barrels, which prevents beer from contacting wood and impacting flavor. The idea is to launch a side project related to pitch-lined beers, plus further explore the history of pitch lining.

Going forward, Allan also plans to enroll in human resources classes to best advise everyone seeking help, providing educated answers to all the questions. As the face of the movement, “I’d like to be that for people,” she says.

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