Imbibe 75 Person to Watch: Jen Blair - Imbibe Magazine Subscribe + Save

Imbibe 75 Person to Watch: Jen Blair

Paradoxically, the concept of “beer education” can sometimes put up more barriers to knowledge, rather than tear them down. Beer educator, brewer, and activist Jen Blair is on the front lines of dismantling those walls. “One thing about my approach that’s different from the ways it’s been done in the past is I’m not telling my audience what I know, but asking them what they want to know and meeting them where they are,” Blair says.

Blair is the exam manager at Cicerone Certification Program, which trains and certifies hospitality professionals in beer knowledge and service, and is also a co-collaborator for Brave Noise, a collaborative brewing campaign that promotes a safe and discrimination-free beer industry. Through her platform, Under the Jenfluence, Blair offers several educational modules for people studying for cicerone and beer judging exams. She’s also using her stature in the beer judging realm to advocate for more safe and inclusive beer competitions that are governed by codes of conduct and actively recruit non-white, non-male judges.

She knows there’s a new generation of people who’d like to participate in beer judging: She opened a beer judging online course last year expecting 40 people to sign up. She got 800, most of whom were not white men. “It’s telling people, ‘I learned this. This isn’t inherent knowledge that I have. You can learn it, too. There are gatekeepers but that doesn’t mean you don’t have access to that information,” Blair says. “I appreciate the chance to be that conduit.”

Click here to read more about some of 2023’s other Imbibe 75 People and Places to Watch.

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