For Megan Stone, loving beer is more than just a passion, it’s an occupational necessity. As a traveling brewer, beer influencer and Diversity, Equality and Inclusion (DEI) advocate, Stone is uniquely versatile. She’s the people’s beer buff.
The Baltimore native currently resides in San Diego where she works as a media coordinator for Societe Brewing Company. Stone first discovered her interest in craft beer in 2011 when a friend suggested she ditch the standard grocery store beer she was drinking for a superior Brooklyn Lager. It didn’t take long after that for Stone to start exploring other craft options. “I became obsessed with all the different styles and variations that I could get my hands on,” she said. “I started to fall in love with brewing after my brewery tour orientation at Dogfish Head in 2015.”
That initial flirtation has now blossomed into a decade long love affair that has led to numerous partnerships, apprenticeships and a substantial Instagram following under the aptly named handle @isbeeracarb. “I initially created @isbeeracarb as a way to connect with other industry folks and learn from them, as well as share my own experiences and what I was brewing,” she said. “It gained quite a bit of attention and sort of took off, follower-wise. I learned the in’s and out’s of social media and transformed it into what it is today.”
To date, the account has garnered more than 34k followers. Stone’s large platform has given her the opportunity to talk about her other passion: diversity, equity and inclusion. “Diversity brings new ideas and perspectives to the table. This contributes to better problem solving, innovation, and even expanding your customer base,” she said.
The craft brewing industry has grown notorious for its lack of diversity. In a recent study done by the Brewer’s Association, only about 7.5% of the reporting breweries employed female brewers. Stone hopes to change that. Her experience as a traveling brewer has given her a greater insight into the industry’s landscape. “I’ve mostly noticed which regions feel the most and least inclusive of diversity (mainly women/LGBTQ+). In my experience the East Coast seems a bit more diverse and inclusive.”
Just this past year, Stone was named Craft Beer Marketing Awards’ first Woman/Person of the Year, in recognition for her DEI efforts within the beer industry. ”I am fiercely passionate about DEI and all things beer and brewing, so it feels pretty incredible to be appreciated by other people that I respect highly,” she said. “It’s also a responsibility to continue to put in the work.” And there is no shortage of work to be done, especially when it comes to improving working conditions.
“The pay and benefits of production staff and safety is all pretty awful (at the majority of places),” Stone explained. “Also, no one talks about mental health, even though alcohol is a depressant. These are tough, but necessary conversations that need to happen.”
Though many breweries remain unchanged, others have taken a more progressive stance. “I’ve seen many breweries being vocal about their support for all kinds of humans,” said Stone. “I hope that influences other breweries to do the right thing, and make more of a genuine effort.”
Cheers to that.
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