Hello, devoted readers of The Inquirer Morning Newsletter.

First: Philly-area breweries illustrate how craft-beer culture turns toxic — and how it can be avoided.

Then: Amazon’s treatment of residents who object to the company’s plans could be a sign of what’s next in Philly.

And: For Philadelphians watching loved ones abroad suffer, the pandemic reopening isn’t all joyful.

— Ashley Hoffman (@_AshleyHoffman, morningnewsletter@inquirer.com)

Breweries illustrate how craft-beer culture turns toxic

Craft beer’s social reckoning has come to a head.

Just last month, Tired Hands Brewing Co. made headlines, and the founder stepped down. That’s one brewery out of dozens that have been called out in the last month in allegations of serious mistreatment. The juxtaposition between brewery employees’ day-to-day and patrons’ good times can be jarring. And the reckoning has raised a widespread issue: “Toxic workplaces can flourish easily in an industry built around an intoxicating product,” writes reporter Jenn Ladd.

We interviewed other local brewery owners and employees to better understand the industry’s culture from the inside — how it can start out with the best of intentions but turn toxic, and how that can be prevented.

In Fishtown, at Evil Genius Brewing, former employees from the brewery’s early years described a no-rules workplace that was fun at first, but became problematic over time. Their stories range from ignored requests for better safety protocols to allegations of physical and sexual harassment.

We also spoke with other area breweries who have bucked craft-beer culture, which tends to be bro-centric, in their workplaces. While it hasn’t totally insulated the organizations from issues, it has helped. Workers and owners alike hope this time leads to a better industry. “Gosh, I hope we can make a change,” a former Evil Genius employee told us.

Read on for reporter Jenn Ladd’s comprehensive story on the tipping point.

How Amazon treats Bridesburg residents could be very telling

Amazon’s growth in the pandemic has been through the roof. And now the company is facing something of a neighborhood revolt in one of its oldest warehouses in the city. Amazon’s Bridesburg warehouse ranks as one of the company’s smallest in the region.

This last-mile facility delivers packages to people’s homes from 4219 Richmond St. in the city’s lower Northeast section. The neighborhood is a classic, close-knit river ward full of row houses and families that have lived there for generations. But what counts as small in the Amazon universe can make a big impact on a dense urban area. Most residents’ criticisms start with the drivers speeding like crazy through crowded streets, something the company says it is committed to addressing.

It’s worth watching closely. Bridesburg’s experience with the company could be a sign of things to come, at least in communities like Southwest Philadelphia, where Amazon is planning to plant its stake in 2022. Amazon is all around us. More than 50 warehouses already ring the Philly region, including at least six in the city.

Read on for how Amazon’s performance in Bridesburg could show us what’s next for the company’s relationship with city’s residents.

Reopening resources

What you need to know today

  • As coronavirus infections in some countries continue to rage and the distribution of the vaccine varies worldwide, Philadelphians are worried about loved ones in other places who feel the pandemic’s continued grip. Here, with systemic inequities pervasive and communities of color especially hard hit, reopening doesn’t look the same for everyone.

  • Reporter Jeff Gammage takes you inside the life of a Cambodian refugee and longtime Philadelphian who is trying to adjust to a new normal after being bounced around detention centers from Texas to Pennsylvania, while facing deportation for more than a year.

  • ATV and dirt bike enthusiasts appear to be unfazed by the city’s latest bill aimed at cracking down on the illegal street activity.

  • Philly’s bar scene = back. Drinks = all around. Coronavirus restrictions = lifted. Masks indoors: shed. Pre-midnight last calls: gone, like last week’s garbage (it’s Philly). Call it New Year’s Eve in summer 2021: This is what it was like.

Through your eyes | #OurPhilly

Always a good time to reflect on the City of Brotherly Love.

Tag your Instagram posts with #OurPhilly, and we’ll pick our favorite each day to feature here and give you a shout-out.

That’s interesting

🏀 Your 76ers beat writer Keith Pompey is asking one of the biggest questions heading into tonight’s Game 4 vs. Atlanta Hawks. We’ve kicked into overdrive now.

😂 A DRPA manager has been getting playful with improv comedy to focus the team on being in the moment, listening, and building on each other’s ideas.

🐟 Start the week off right with warm bagels and high-quality lox from a place that dabbles heavily in the dramatic arts of brunch. Our dispatch takes you inside the Italian Market list-topping destination Biederman’s, where everyone keeps things looking fish-forward. You’re gonna want to meet the “loxsmith” (see what our very own pun genius reporter Mike Klein did there?) who can demonstrate how to master a clean cut of salmon in a very mesmerizing video.

This edition of The Inquirer Morning Newsletter misidentified the transit agency in a story about improv training. It was DRPA.


“When will it end? Every day, a person is shot,” columnist Helen Ubiñas writes about two Philly mothers visiting the Gun Violence Memorial Project.

What we’re reading

Your daily dose of | Theatrics

Movie theaters often die, but rare is the movie house that is brought back to life. This one was. After decades of disrepair, in its latest revitalized incarnation, the elaborate 1938 art deco Ventnor theater has been meticulously — and expensively — restored, renovated, and literally “shored up” with steel beams during the coronavirus lockdown. Welcome to its remarkable rebirth just in time for New Jersey’s reopening, not to mention the peak summer movie season.