Last week, New Belgium Brewing Co. announced the next phase of its ongoing commitment to uplift and support communities often left out of the craft beer community with its Poured for All Initiative — a year-round investment to provide pathways for more spaces, including bars and restaurants that serve New Belgium beer, to become more welcoming and inclusive for all.
In partnership with DEI training provider HospitableMe, New Belgium is developing a completely free, first-of-its-kind inclusivity training with the goal of building more inclusive and welcoming environments in thousands of bars and restaurants, including those that serve beers from New Belgium and Bell’s Brewery (which recently combined with New Belgium). This includes New Belgium and Bell’s own taproom coworkers, who will receive the training as soon as it’s ready.
The COVID-19 pandemic accelerated an already alarming decline in welcoming spaces for marginalized groups – for example, the rapid decline in LGBTQ+ bars. In the 1980s there were an estimated 200 lesbian bars, but that number is now down to 15, per NBC and other news sources. With its Poured for All Initiative, New Belgium and HospitableMe will develop and promote a custom training that empowers hospitality staff to better understand and exhibit inclusive behaviors that foster a truly welcoming space for all identities, including people with LGBTQ+, BIPOC and intersectional identities who are currently underrepresented in craft beer spaces and elsewhere.
“For more than 30 years, New Belgium has invested deeply in coworker and community wellbeing, seeking to be intentional about hearing our most underrepresented perspectives. In that spirit, we’ve approached beer with the commitment to be ‘brewed for all,’” said Courtney Simmons, New Belgium Director of Diversity, Equity & Inclusion. “But we have work to do in scrutinizing whether all the spaces we drink beer are truly welcoming for members of marginalized groups. This initiative is about putting our resources to work in fostering more welcoming bars and restaurants across the country with the lowest possible barriers to access.”
The training, which complements existing bystander intervention training from organizations like Safe Bars and will be available for free on Hospitable Me’s seamless digital platform, will combine simple but critical lessons with personal stories to enable any bar or restaurant staff member to better understand experiences of their underrepresented patrons and to help foster a truly welcoming and inclusive experience for people of all backgrounds and identities. Once the training is released in the coming months, establishments that train their entire staff will receive a digital certificate and optional window cling to help promote their commitment to inclusivity.
“We’re excited to partner with New Belgium Brewing, a craft beer pioneer and leader in inclusivity to create this groundbreaking training. As a leading global provider of strategy and education for inclusive hospitality, HospitableMe looks for projects that have a tangible impact on LGBTQ+ and other historically excluded communities. Because this training will be accessible to all companies at no cost, it will have positive impacts reaching far beyond just New Belgium’s walls as we seek to make bars and restaurants more inclusive and welcoming for people everywhere,” said Billy Kolber, CEO and Co-founder of HospitableMe.
In addition to the Poured for All Initiative, New Belgium is re-releasing its Biere de Queer purple ale, with all proceeds benefitting local LGBTQ+ organizations in our home communities — including Blue Ridge Pride in Asheville, NoCo Equality in Fort Collins, and Frameline in San Francisco. New Belgium is also raising awareness on how to be a good LGBTQ+ ally and conscious consumer during Pride and all year long with the New Belgium Guide to Rainbow Washing. For every social media share the guide receives, New Belgium will donate $1 (up to $50,000) to the Equality Federation, an advocacy accelerator rooted in social justice, building power in its network of state-based LGBTQ+ advocacy organizations combating anti-LGBTQ+ legislation.
“As a longtime DEI practitioner in the brewing and hospitality industries, I know how critical it is to create and maintain welcoming spaces for the LGBTQ+ community to celebrate and have a beer during Pride and beyond,” said Dr. J Jackson-Beckham, President of the Board of Safe Bars and Equity & Inclusion Partner for the Brewers Association. “New Belgium’s training will be a great complement to the bystander intervention work we do at Safe Bars. I’m thrilled to see New Belgium continue to lead the craft industry by example.”
“We’re proud of Asheville’s strong culture of inclusivity toward residents and visitors alike, and New Belgium has consistently shown us they share these values through their presence in our community,” said Kit Cramer, President and CEO, Asheville Area Chamber of Commerce. “But we also share a constant drive to do better, and New Belgium’s training will be a hugely helpful asset to bars and restaurants across North Carolina and the entire country. Asheville will be more welcoming, and our local businesses stronger and more inclusive, because of New Belgium’s investment.”
New Belgium has been an advocate for LGBTQ+ communities for more than 30 years, and was proud to be the first craft brewer to receive a perfect score of 100 on HRC’s Corporate Equality Index and the first craft brewer to be recognized on HRC’s Best Places to Work for LGBTQ+ Equality. With a commitment to continuously learn, grow, and improve, the company recently expanded its DEI leadership by hiring DEI Director Courtney Simmons, who brings deep experience in the corporate and nonprofit sectors, to lead this work across New Belgium and Bell’s. Diversity, equity and inclusion practices play a central role in New Belgium’s Human Powered Business model, based on the idea that deep and consistent investments for the benefit of coworkers and communities produces better business results in the long term.
The training will be available beginning in the fall of 2022, and businesses interested in participating can click here to pledge to join the Poured for All Initiative.