What’s Going On At InBev?

Yesterday, Pacific Standard published a piece of mine on medieval brewing and lack of gender diversity at Google. I mostly talked about medieval history and the Bennett-thesis on patriarchal equilibrium. But as I reached the end of the draft, I started doing a little research into contemporary brewing, tipped off by a friend that there had been a lot of comment about gender and craft beer.

Indeed there has been! Although home brewing codes masculine in our culture, there’s been lots of emphasis lately on supporting female-owned craft breweries. At the same time, though, the huge beverage company InBev has been buying up craft breweries, so I went to look at their management team. Its a vast global enterprise, with divisions all over the world. Not a single woman is in charge anywhere. I wrote:

Back to brewing—the craft beer revolution of the last few decades has provided opportunities for women to enter the industry, despite the modern cultural associations of beer with manliness. The Pink Boots society, an organization dedicated to supporting women in the beer industry, has been growing over the last decade. But patriarchal equilibrium is rearing its head in that industry as well, not because individual men are driving out individual women, but because Big Beer is attacking Craft Beer. Right now, Anheuser-Busch InBev, the beer giant, is purchasing craft breweries. There’s not a single woman on its management team.

It’s important to identify and work against individual acts of discrimination. The gender consequences of InBev offer another way to look at the big picture of gendered (and other forms of) discrimination.


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