Booze | October 8, 2021 4:41 pm

A New Survey Reveals Brewery Owners Are Overwhelmingly White Men

According to the survey results, brewery owners are 93.5% white and 75.6% male

Man sitting in a brewery drinking a beer on some steps. A new survey by the Brewers Association suggests most U.S. brewery owners are white and male.
According to a new survey, U.S. brewery owners are most likely white and male.
Reza Estakhrian / Getty Images

If you’re at all familiar with the world of craft beer, these statistics shouldn’t be surprising, but that doesn’t make them any less upsetting: according to a new survey conducted by the Brewers Association, the vast majority of brewery owners are white men.

The Brewers Association selected 500 random breweries in the U.S. for the survey and found that 93.5% of their owners are white, with 92.2% of breweries having entirely white ownership. And while racial diversity is obviously severely lacking, so is gender parity; only 23.7% of brewery owners surveyed were female, while 75.6% were male and just 0.2% were non-binary.

This is, of course, troubling for a number of reasons — including the fact that the craft beer industry is still reeling from a recent Me Too reckoning in which a number of female brewers or other brewery employees spoke out about the sexism, harassment and abuse they encountered in their jobs. But having the industry be dominated by white men is also potentially bad for business as craft beer’s customer base continues to diversify.

“The American beverage alcohol consumer is increasingly BIPOC and female,” Bart Watson, chief economist for the Brewers Association, said. “That shift is ongoing and will likely continue going forward. For example, female drinkers under 25 now outnumber male drinkers under 25. So for craft to continue growing and moving more in the larger beer and beverage alcohol consumer market, it will need to connect better with that diverse customer base.”

“While there’s nothing that says white and male owned businesses can’t connect with that more diverse customer base, it’s going to require additional work in building diverse organizations and shoring up blind spots,” he added. “The BA is working to build those resources. Our industry has to see the value and want to use them. These results should underline why they are needed.”