Letter from the Publisher: On the Origins of the Pride in Brewing Scholarship

Just over a year ago, my company received a troubling message from a brewery in response to an invitation from my Beer Dabbler events director to participate in the Beer Dabbler at Twin Cities Pride 2018. This brewery, hearing that our event was in celebration and support of the LGBTQ+ community, told us that they would never participate in another Beer Dabbler event again and demanded that we remove them from our invite list. As the owner of the company, and as a father, a husband, and a human, I was shocked. Not shocked that someone believes what that brewery believes, but more so that he would openly express his disdain for us and the LGBTQ+ community versus simply not signing up for the event and deleting the email. What hurts most of all, though, was that our Beer Dabbler event director, an openly gay man and an incredible human being, received this response. This open homophobic act got my blood boiling. It hurt me that this person would offend my friend and events director for being who he is, and by extension, the millions of other humans who didn’t choose who they are.

Right away I drafted a response to this brewery and wanted to make my response public. Before sending, however, I consulted legal counsel on the draft. My lawyer highly advised me not to send it on the account that if that brewery went out of business five years down the road they would likely come back and sue my business for the demise. Wanting a second opinion, I went to a second law firm and consulted again. The response was exactly the same.

Understanding that outing this brewery publicly could open my company up to litigation that could jeopardize the well-being of my 18 full-time employees, I and my team decided on another, more positive approach: to start a scholarship to Dakota County Technical College’s Certificate in Brewing & Beer Steward Technology Program, with the mission to help members of the LGBTQ+ community break into the brewing industry. (I wanted nothing more than to put the offending brewery’s name in the title of the scholarship, but the lawyers didn’t like that one either.)

Over the past year, Gray Duck Media and DCTC have hosted fundraiser events with brewery partners in support of the scholarship. It is our hope that through the funds raised and those matched by DCTC that we will be able to offer the Pride in Brewing Scholarship each year to give a leg up to a person in the LGBTQ+ community who wants to enter an industry we all love, but that is sorely in need of more diverse voices.

Some individuals have taken to social media to shame my business for how we are handling this. While it hurts to read these comments, we recognize why people are angry. However, we are choosing to stay the course. We, friends, are not hiding, we are taking the high road. The brewery who wrote my events director knows who they are. This brewery is small—small in their views, small in size, and small in heart. Perhaps one day they will have an experience that will change their views, whether it be a child growing up and telling them they are gay or having the chance to work alongside a brewer who has benefited from the Pride in Brewing scholarship.

If you want to make a change, please consider coming to one of our Pride in Brewing events to help us raise money for the scholarship. If you want to support our mission, please consider making a donation to the scholarship. If you don’t believe in what we are doing, please feel free to not do either of these things. Whichever side of the fence you stand on, please try to remember we are talking about humans. Know that what you type on a keyboard affects other people in the world—people who might just be having a bad day and your comment could push them over the edge. If you don’t have something nice to say, then just don’t say it.

Trust me, I’m not perfect. I grew up in a small town and didn’t understand the complex issues facing the LGBTQ+ community. Now, every day I feel blessed because I’ve met so many amazing humans who are gay, lesbian, and trans, who have taught me so many things I didn’t know when I was young. To me, the most important thing that I can do is to educate my own child to love and support other kids who are dealing with life as they know it. It’s important to me that my child is taught that some kids have brown skin and some boys like boys and some kids don’t learn as well as others. It’s important to teach him that some kids can’t afford video games and some kids might smell because their home life is unstable. It’s important that he understands it’s in our power to stop hating and start helping. This scholarship is my way of helping, and I hope you will help me, too.

Sincerely,

Matt Kenevan
Owner of Gray Duck Media, the parent company of The Beer Dabbler and The Growler Magazine

 

To donate or learn more about Pride in Brewing Scholarship and fundraiser events, visit beerdabbler.com/pages/pride-in-brewing-scholarship

We would like to thank DCTC, Trivia Mafia, and all of our amazing brewery partners who have hosted Pride in Brewing fundraising events, donated money to the scholarship, and have supported Beer Dabbler at Twin Cities Pride events, which in part benefit Twin Cities Pride.

10K Brewing
12welve Eyes Brewing
612Brew
Able Seedhouse + Brewery
Alloy Brewing Company
Angry Inch Brewing
August Schell Brewing Company
Bad Weather Brewing Company
Badger Hill Brewing Company
Bald Man Brewing
Bang Brewing
Bank Brewing Co
Barley John’s Brewpub
Barrel Theory Beer Company
Bauhaus Brew Labs
Beaver Island Brewing Company
Bent Brewstillery
Bent Paddle Brewing Co
Big Wood Brewery
Birch’s Lowertown
Birch’s on the Lake
Blacklist Artisan Ales
BlackStack Brewing
Boathouse Brothers Brewing Co
Boom Island Brewing Company
Brau Brothers Brewing Company
Broken Clock Brewing Cooperative
Burning Brothers Brewing
Canal Park Brewery
Castle Danger Brewery
Chapel Brewing
Clutch Brewing Company
Copper Trail Brewing Co
Dangerous Man Brewing Co
Day Block Brewing Company
Dual Citizen Brewing Company
Duluth Brewhouse
Earth Rider Brewery
Eastlake Craft Brewery
ENKI Brewing Co
Excelsior Brewing Company
Fair State Brewing Cooperative
FINNEGANS Brew Co.
Fitger’s Brewhouse
The Freehouse
Fulton Brewing
Fytenburg
GLUEK BEER
Grand Rounds Brewing Company
Harriet Brewing
HeadFlyer Brewing
The Herkimer Pub and Brewery
Inbound BrewCo
Indeed Brewing Company
Insight Brewing Company
Junkyard Brewing Company
La Doña Cervecería
Lake Monster Brewing
Lakes & Legends Brewing Company
Lakeville Brewing Company
Lift Bridge Brewing Company
Loon Juice Cider
LTD Brewing
Lupine Brewing Company
Lupulin Brewing Company
LynLake Brewery
Mankato Brewery
Maple Island Brewing
Milk & Honey Ciders
Minneapolis Cider Company (formerly Lionheart Cider)
Minneapolis Town Hall Brewery
Modist Brewing Company
North Loop BrewCo
NorthGate Brewing
Number 12 Cider
Olvalde Farm and Brewing
OMNI Brewing Co.
Pryes Brewing Company
Rock Bottom Brewery—Minneapolis
Saint Paul Brewing Company (formerly Flat Earth Brewing Company)
Sapsuckerfarms Yellow Belly Cidery
Shakopee Brewhall
Sidhe Brewing
Sociable Cider Werks
South Fork Brewing
Spiral Brewery
Stacked Deck Brewing
Summit Brewing Company
Surly Brewing Company
Sweetland Orchard
Talking Waters Brewing Co.
Tanzenwald Brewing Co
Third Street Brewhouse
Tin Whiskers Brewing Co.
Tonka Beer Company
U4ic Brewing
Union 32 Crafthouse
Urban Forage Winery and Cider House
Urban Growler Brewing Company
Utepils Brewing Company
Venn Brewing Company
Voyageur Brewing Co.
Wabasha Brewing Company
Waconia Brewing Company
Wayzata Brew Works
Wicked Wort Brewing Company
Wild Mind Artisan Ales
Yoerg Brewing Company

A BLIND TASTING BEER FESTIVAL

Taste & Rate
48 Hazy IPAs

July 18, 2019 | 5:30–9:00pm
Upper Landing Park, St. Paul