Straight, White Males, 35-55

Thursday, April 11th, 2019

Wednesday, February 14th, 2018: "Turn it sideways and do I see boobs or butt ..."

Guilty of staying silent and quietly hoping something, within our own company, wasn't real or happening, we've continued to work to grow our business. But, we can no longer remain quiet and we must speak up and out. There is a group of people, many of whom are still 'internal', that have spent countless hours trolling our socials, writing offensive and fictional reviews on sites such as Glassdoor, Google, and Yelp. All telling stories that put them in the victims seat, and pointing a shameful finger in our direction. Even our own internal communication platform was forced to be shut down, when it was inundated with negativity, in favor of a 'read only' portal, that pushes information one way.

Out of the gate, in search of people that loved beer and this industry as much as we did, we didn't give much thought to the race and gender of candidates we spoke to and interviewed to become store owners-operators. We're both embarrassed by this. As minorities in our industry, we should have done better. We should have run these people through more thorough and extensive interviews, checked a long list of references, and had a very good understanding of who we were inviting into our company and into this industry. Foolish, in hindsight, as we focused on continuing to try and have a positive impact on an industry that we loved and were so excited about; we placed too much trust in people and never thought things like hatred, misogyny or discrimination would become a part of our lives and business. It certainly has - sad, but true.

Friday, September 29th, 2017: "If you rotate it clockwise it looks like a ladies bust and the counter looks like a male member."

These days, we spend a little more time checking our surroundings, as we take walks and enter or exit our front door. Trust has always been a challenge for at least one of us, but now it rears its head, almost daily, for both of us; make no mistake though, we feel strongly about staying our course. There are countless people in our lives that continue to question why we would keep pushing on, especially in the face of such hostility and negativity. The answer remains the same as its been all along: we're deeply passionate about this industry, the real contributors that make it what it is, and the products they produce. This was never a dress rehearsal for us.

Saturday, April 6th, 2019: "Are you guys answering the brand phone number? It just rings forever without an option for voicemail or anything. Where's the support?"

A group of mostly middle-aged, white males, who are fueled by their own internal rage and hatred of women and sexual orientations that are different from their own, are at the core of this kerfuffle. This, unfortunately, is likely only a portion of what drives them to try to tear Craft Beer Cellar, and both of us, down. Just as important, are their illusions of grandeur, and of thinking that they are able to do it better than we have, which encapsulates their jealousy towards the success of the flagship store. And when they can't get it done, their anger rages on. We've heard more ranting about this store from the core of this group, than is imaginable. A store that is our training ground and has been used as our model for running a successful Craft Beer Cellar. And no, we don't despise straight, white (mostly) males, in general, or on our team. But there is no denying that this is a privileged race and gender, who, especially in the beer business, have long been the powerful majority.

Even still, the Belmont store remains the top sales producer, which we've always freely disclosed to our franchisees. Instead of embracing the 'how' and 'why' of the details that define the success of this store, we continue to hear 'how special Belmont is' or that it is all attributed to the two of us being 'on campus' most of the time. While we don't wholly disagree with either of these sentiments, the reality of what keeps this store growing at around a 10% rate, is all about the model of what it means to be a Craft Beer Cellar - one that is fully defined and shared with our store owner-operators, on a daily basis, even in the face of adversity, discrimination, and hostility.

A most recent example of a jealousy-fueled hatred so real, was an anonymous Twitter account that pops up at 7:57 on Sunday night; "Craft Beer Cellar Franchise Association", originally, then, within moments, "CBC Underground", before finally "#AllTheThings CBC", just to continue the pressures and disparaging commentary, in hopes that we will fold and go away. Though it cost us our rare down time on a Sunday night, within a few hours, the handle had been reported, suspended, and later, either taken down or removed.

We push on, tighten our processes and cut ties with stores that can't, don't, or have refused to follow our proven model of success. Just as our competition has grown and the industry has changed, making this work even more so for only the extremely tenacious, so have our allies; the positive support and strong voices ring loud and true. There are more conversations around recognizing and reducing discrimination, cultivating inclusive workplaces, and fostering tolerance among difference, than ever before. We find strength in these conversations and will continue to rely on them to help us find our voice, to be able to share our reality.    

Kate Baker

In addition to being an adviser for Craft Beer Cellar's Franchise Company, every day, Kate works tirelessly to bring Craft Beer Cellar Belmont the best beer this amazing industry has to offer; and sometimes, she does it literally, by way of the delivery van! A restaurateur in her past life, Kate made the jump to retail and hasn’t looked back. Everything she does is for amazing beer. A devotee of hospitality, inclusion, welcoming environments, and any song by Brandi Carlile, Kate can always be found in and around Belmont and believes hugs and hi-fives make craft beer a better place.

The beer she can't stop thinking about:
Allagash White (In CANS!!!)

Suzanne Schalow

After working in beer for more than a decade, Suzanne rolled up her sleeves and got serious about her beer education - in 2012, she earned the title of Certified Cicerone®! Since that time, she’s wrangled with Cicerone’s advanced exams, become a judge for the Beer Judge Certification Program, and developed a retail beer educational program called The Society of Master Beercierge. Teaching and talking beer are two of the things she’s most excited about, which translate perfectly when working with new & potential Craft Beer Cellar franchisees. A lover of most styles, she believes a perfect beer is balanced by the sum of its parts, especially if it's Belgian!

The beer she can't stop thinking about:
Jack's Abby Sunny Ridge Pilsner