Two members have stepped down from the board of Philly Loves Beer, the nonprofit behind the popular event Philly Beer Week, after anonymous allegations of harassment, sexism, and racism roiled the local and national craft beer community last week.
The two members who stepped down — Evil Genius Beer co-owner Trevor Hayward and Devil’s Den owner Erin Wallace — did so for different reasons, according to Forbes, which first reported the story last Friday.
Hayward stepped down from the board Friday, after he and fellow Evil Genius co-owner Luke Bowen were named in several Instagram posts that alleged harassment, assault, and mistreatment of employees. The anonymous stories had been sent to Brienne Allan, a brewer at Notch Brewing in Salem, Mass., who set off an industry-wide reckoning last week by soliciting and sharing stories of workers who allege discrimination.
Hayward pointed to a company Instagram post in response to a request for comment. “The past week, and even the past year, has forced us to reflect on and evaluate our leadership,” the unsigned post read. “We’ve made mistakes in leading Evil Genius. It has not always been the place we want it to be, and we take responsibility for that. We are sorry for the impact that our mistakes have made on the people who gave so much to our business.” The post outlined changes the company has already made and more it plans to make, such as creating a diversity, equity, and inclusion committee.
Wallace, the Philadelphia chapter president of the Pink Boots Society, stepped down last Thursday as a protest to the Philly Loves Beer board members implicated in the accusations on Allan’s account. “I really felt if I stayed on the board serving next to these people, it would pretty much be saying their [alleged] actions were OK,” Wallace told Forbes.
Wallace could not be reached Monday morning for further comment, but in an interview last Tuesday, she told The Inquirer she was not surprised by the stories that Allan shared — and that women in craft beer (and food and beverage writ large) have had these discussions for years. “I was shocked at how many men seem a little oblivious about it,” Wallace said. She also said she was looking into outside resources for women who have filed or who want to file formal complaints at their workplaces. “There’s no real way to see how the process is being followed up and what happens and how long it’s going to take,” she said.
As of Monday, Philly Loves Beer’s website still listed Wallace as a board member and Hayward as its treasurer. Also on the board is Tom Kehoe, the founder of Yards Brewing Co., against which a former employee filed a pregnancy discrimination suit this month.
Last Friday, Philly Loves Beer responded to the shakeout set off by Allan’s Instagram account by announcing it would develop a code of conduct for its events and participating bars and breweries. “While PLB cannot and should not dictate the HR policies of breweries, bars, or any other member businesses, we must ensure that Philly Beer Week events are safe. This year [that] not only means complying with existing COVID mitigation measures but also instituting anti-harassment policies with clear reporting mechanisms,” wrote executive director Christina Dowd.
Dowd said the code of conduct would be distributed in advance of this year’s Philly Beer Week, which is slated to begin on June 4.