Eighteen years ago, I imagined a magazine that would tell stories about the places we live, neighborhood businesses, people whose efforts positively affect and influence us, and the many things we can explore throughout our community.
Madison Essentials has done that and more since its 2004 debut, including talking candidly and creating thoughtful discussions about some tough topics: racism, racial justice, guns, mental health, voting rights, the environment, free speech, and domestic abuse. But when we first started talking about our copy editor Kyle’s favorite topic of beer and breweries, we never imagined it would lead to lending our voice to a disturbing industry exposition—sexual harassment.
When an east coast brewer vented on social media and asked if others were experiencing sexist comments on the job, the response was beyond anything she could have imagined. The stories shared in over 1,000 responses delved deeper and were much darker than the brewer’s inquiry.
Why are we talking about and exploring an east coast story in Madison Essentials? Because the responding voices were from across the country, and they resonate in Dane County and across our state. Erica DeAnda, Tumbled Rock’s brewmaster and former Pink Boots Society chapter leader, has been part of our beer discussions. Erica reached out to Kyle about the social media response and what has been occurring, and asked if we’d be willing to write about it.
Kyle came to me—visibly upset—and asked if an article would fit within the parameters of our magazine. While I knew it would be more news-oriented than our regular feature-based pieces, I said I not only wanted to write about it, I felt it was our duty to do so. That we also need to share this newfound awareness of the dark side of an industry we’ve long touted in support of the victims, making it clear with the strongest statement possible that sexual harassment is intolerable and unacceptable everywhere. We all need to raise our voices, including those who support and those who work in the beer industry. It doesn’t mean Madison Essentials won’t continue to highlight and support local breweries—we believe these instances are exceptions and not the norm—but we also believe and support the victims. We’ll continue to write and continue to be clear about our intolerance to what has and is occurring in the beer industry.
In addition to the article inside, we’ve included stories that have been shared with us at madisonessentials.com . I hope that when you read the article and online stories, you’ll join us in being vocal and acting to increase awareness and create change.