Making Safer Cider Communities for All

You’ve probably seen the posts on Instagram or heard rumblings ripple throughout your friend group or community: the craft beer world is in the midst of a true reckoning right now.

Over past few weeks, there has been an immense outpouring of professionals in the industry, publicly sharing stories of gender-based discrimination or violence they’ve experienced in the workplace. These accounts, which range from repeated microaggressions to direct sexual assault, have been eye-opening for many and not so surprising to others.

Gender-based discrimination is relatively common in the US workplace, and in hospitality industries, customers, colleagues and managers can be sources of discriminatory behavior. Did you know that even though sexual harassment and gender-based discrimination are illegal, 42% of women experience gender-based discrimination in the workplace and 72% of incidents go unreported? The shockwaves running throughout the beer industry must serve as a wakeup call to all working in the alcohol sector — and that unequivocally includes the cider industry. 

The American Cider Association is 100% committed to ensuring the spaces we hold for the cider community are safe and inclusive. Part of cultivating safe spaces is regularly evaluating what measures are in place to maintain that space and to look for opportunities to improve. We are taking this moment to evaluate our community policies at ACA.

Here are new ways we are striving to help make safer cider communities for all:

  • For the past several years, CiderCon has held a code of conduct policy. More recently, we passed a code of conduct for ACA volunteers. But we did not establish a neutral third party to accept code of conduct violation complaints. Moving forward, CiderCon incident reports involving sexual harassment or assault by CiderCon participants and volunteers, ACA board, ACA staff and ACA committee volunteers can be made to WeVow. Other code of conduct complaints related to CiderCon participants and volunteers, ACA board, ACA staff and ACA committee volunteers may be made to the Executive Director or a Board Director. We will share more specific reporting procedures on our website soon.
  • As your trade association, we want to provide you with resources to reduce the burdens of doing business. This includes tools to manage your team so that your business may thrive. We have provided members with people management trainings at CiderCon, but none of these trainings specifically addressed sexual harassment policies or other such tools.

We are pleased to share that starting today, ACA members now receive:

  • A 30% discount at WeVow through December 31, 2021. WeVow is a subscription-based sexual harassment management program providing tools, policy templates, resources, counseling and incident reporting tools to your business. The packages are affordable and tiered based on business size. With your ACA discount, packages for a small business may be a little as $21/month. The ACA member discount code can be found by logging in to your ACA account and going to our member resources page. This code will expire at the end of the year.

We also wanted to provide a starting point for any members looking to create or strengthen their workplace anti-sexual harassment policies. Consistent messaging, and a transparent chain of accountability is crucial for employees’ safety — blanket statements along the lines of “sexual harassment is not tolerated here” is not as powerful as a clearly worded policy that can be referenced whenever necessary. 

Here are five more best practices for cidery owners/managers to combat and prevent sexual harassment:

  1. Have a sexual harassment policy and a clear protocol on how staff activate compliance concerns, ideally involving a neutral third party to hear complaints. 
  2. Have open conversations with your team to cultivate a culture of no-tolerance for harassment. Some states require annual sexual harassment trainings for all staff. 
  3. Publish pay rates in job postings, which helps to prevent gender-based pay inequity. Also important to note: It is illegal to ban employee conversations about wages. 
  4. Review state labor laws and compare them with your hiring practices. 
  5. Strive for inclusive management. We know from research that diverse teams perform better — this includes, but is not limited to, gender representation.

We are excited to roll out a New Member Resource Library later this year, and plan to provide further resources for managing and supporting your team. If there is a specific resource in this arena that you would like to see, please let us know. Also, if you have suggestions related to the conduct of ACA staff, volunteers and CiderCon attendees, please share them with us. 

We are committed to creating a community in which all individuals feel safe, valued and respected and have a sense of belonging. Making lasting changes is going to require an ongoing, intentional effort across our industry. The ACA will continue to improve our strategies around issues of sexual harassment and discrimination. We hope for continued conversation, self-reflection and evaluation from all of our members, so that we can tackle these issues head-on, together.

We look forward to hearing from you.

ACA Board of Directors–Executive Committee

From our Statement of Intent: “We believe that existing structures of power, privilege and discrimination must be actively questioned and evaluated in order to create equitable opportunities in an environment that embraces and values our differences. We will strive to create events, opportunities and organizational policies that embody these values, and to continue evaluating these  practices for sustained growth and improvement.”

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