With ‘Beer Is for Everyone,’ Lindsay Malu Kido Fights for Human Rights, Equity, and Representation

On June 24, 2022, the Supreme Court of the United States ruled on Dobbs v. Jackson Women’s Health Organization, overturning the 1973 decision of Roe v. Wade that established women’s fundamental right to abortion. Almost immediately, Beer Is for Everyone (BIFE), a project and online publication dedicated to bolstering diversity, equity, and inclusion in craft beer, launched an open collaboration called Drinking in Another State (DIAS; named for the meme that started popping up on social media post-ruling). To participate, breweries can make whatever beer they want, use the initiative’s artwork, and use that beer to raise funds for Beer Is for Everyone’s Emergency Health Fund, set up to provide assistance to individuals in craft beer and beverage alcohol who need abortion care in states that restrict those rights. The fund will help these individuals travel to states where abortion-protected laws are in place, and will also cover up to two mental health counseling sessions as needed.

“I have been preparing for this moment from the day that Supreme Court Justice Amy Coney Barrett was sworn in,” says Beer Is for Everyone founder and editor Lindsay Malu Kido. “However, it wasn’t until the leaked SCOTUS documents, which revealed that the Court intended to overturn Roe v. Wade, that I began to culminate this project.”

Keeping an eye on the ruling allowed Kido to hit the ground running with the kind of open collaboration-for-a-cause we’ve seen from Black Is Beautiful, Brave Noise, and Native Land, with a lightning-fast response time to the new and urgent need created by the Supreme Court’s decision.

Kido started Beer Is for Everyone in April 2020 as an Instagram account aimed at promoting representation and grew it into a 501(c)(3) non-profit organization and media outlet working with some of the brightest voices in beer writing. In its content and its outreach work, BIFE tirelessly tackles the issues that are toughest yet most necessary on the path to making craft beer a meaningfully diverse industry that protects, supports, welcomes, and celebrates all people.

Recently, VinePair spoke with Kido to learn more about the Drinking in Another State collaboration as well as Beer Is for Everyone’s overall mission and work.

How did you first become interested in craft beer, and what was the path from that to starting Beer Is for Everyone?

My journey in craft beer began on New Year’s Eve when I was 18 years old. [My uncles] handed me a Maui Brewing Bikini Blonde Ale. … From there, I grew to love craft beer more and more. While I was studying at the University of Hawai‘i, I worked for a craft beer-focused restaurant as a hostess. However, when I wanted to become a server, no one took me seriously, even though I knew more about beer than most people that worked there. … [Then] when I was finished with my coursework during my Ph.D. in 2014, I moved to Las Vegas to pursue my life dream of being a professional poker player. While I was getting my roots in the Vegas ground, I helped to open another craft beer-focused restaurant in the area. Again, I was more well versed than most people I encountered, but I never felt welcomed or like I belonged.

Throughout the years, I have continued to love craft beer, and it has very much been a significant part of my life. Yet, I never felt a sense of belonging in most of the taprooms I’ve been in. I felt like I stuck out like a sore thumb. Once, I was at a brewery here in Las Vegas, and the owner and a customer were making really misogynistic, transphobic commentary. It was a truly pivotal moment in my journey realizing how problematic the “bro culture” was in something I loved so dearly.

Later, I started Beer is for Everyone as a repost account on Instagram to solve the problem of representation in the craft beer Instagram space. All of the repost accounts that existed were very skewed toward a certain demographic of people within craft beer, and it erased the diversity that is our landscape. … Then, I started the Writers Collective, which brought together critical minds to produce content that served to disrupt the industry and promote diversity, inclusion, equity, and justice. It has evolved into a non-profit organization that has reach nationally and globally.

What are some of the main goals of BIFE, and what are some of the ways the organization is working toward them?

BIFE’s main goal is to encourage and promote diversity, inclusion, equity, and justice within the craft beer community and beyond through critical advocacy and education. Through utilizing various avenues, we hope to create opportunities, collaborations, and pathways for growth in our community with a focus on our foundational principles.

[We have] multiple projects that amplify change within these specific areas of our community. We participate in many different aspects, such as scholarships, mentorships, collaborations, program creation, fundraising, and so on. Our Writers Collective is also dedicated to developing critical content that serves to educate and create awareness around issues in our community and beyond.

Initially, one of the main catalysts that led to the creation of BIFE was the rampant cultural appropriation in the craft beer industry. As a mixed-Indigenous person whose culture is often culturally appropriated, I felt compelled to change that. So, I’ve been working on a project for the last two years that will hopefully solve some of the issues surrounding cultural appropriation in the industry. I hope to launch that in 2023 sometime.

What do you feel is the impact of the biggest problems in craft beer, from its barriers of entry to its outright discrimination? How would you explain to consumers why they should care?

My gut-wrenching response is to shout, “How do people not care?” It hurts my soul to have to say that we should care about each other. … However, as we’ve seen, it’s difficult to care about something that doesn’t directly affect one’s self. It’s human nature to only realize the gravity of a problem once you’re knee-deep in it. So, I think intentional cognizance is key. These problems in craft beer affect everyone, even if not directly. We speak of many problems that only directly impact specific demographics of people. However, it is important to identify the privileges that allow for these problems to not affect us and use that privilege in order to help solve those problems. If we create environments of empathy and compassion, we are creating better spaces for all of us. Apathy and indifference are never going to solve the problems that exist for craft beer or for our world.

Let’s talk about the Drinking in Another State collaboration. What was the process for putting this initiative together?

I took a lot of time to create the foundation for the project. Then, my friends Ash Eliot of Women of the Bevolution and Katie Muggli of Infinite Ingredient, were kind enough to help advise me through much of the process and act as my second pair of eyes when I just became too mentally exhausted from it all. I knew that we had to have something specific to the beer and greater alcohol industries, specifically because it is such a heavily male-dominated industry.

With that being said, for many men, the overturning of Roe isn’t going to directly affect them. Now, this isn’t to say that there aren’t a great number of male allies who are fighting for these basic fundamental rights. But, I wanted to ensure that we created a fund that would prioritize our people first. As we can see from other instances, there is still a long way to go to protect and uplift the marginalized communities within craft beer. So, the gender disparity will ultimately play a role in how this affects the totality of craft beer, as an industry, in contrast to the implications it has on the greater society.

Since Beer is for Everyone is a 501(c)(3) non-profit organization, we are collecting the money and distributing it. We knew we wanted to have a way for people to apply for the fund while having their privacy protected. Therefore, I, as the founder and director, am the only one who will have access to the applications. In addition, we will be distributing aid through the use of gift cards so that these transactions will remain as untraceable as possible in the event of records being subpoenaed in “unfriendly” states. We have created a dedicated bank account that will only be used for the purposes of this project.

I reached out to Jen [Borror] of Hoot Design Studios after I saw her work with the Ukraine relief beer, Make Peace Not War. The label was amazing, and she donated her services to that project. So, when I reached out, she was able to donate a portion of her services to designing and creating the label artwork for the beer part of the collaboration project. … I had specific ideas about using symbolism as a way to make a bold but subtle statement. She did such a great job in transforming my ideas into the artwork you see today. We will be auctioning off the original artwork to also raise money for the Fund at a later date.

Why was this an important endeavor for BIFE to take on? And how would you say it aligns with BIFE’s overall ethos and mission?

As a non-binary womxn with a uterus, I felt the heaviness and weight of the Dobbs’ decision. Even though I knew it was coming, it viciously hurt nonetheless. So, with having the platform, I made the decision to do something about it. It is my strong belief that when we have the privilege of power, we must use it to cause good trouble and do our part in bettering our world. The project absolutely aligns with our mission to pursue justice for our community and industry. Our people are being impacted, so even if it’s not “beer-related,” it relates to our people. And, if we don’t take care of our people, the beer doesn’t matter.

How does the collaboration actually work — how can brewers get involved? How can anyone else get involved? What should drinkers/consumers know?

We created the project with the intention of giving everyone an opportunity to participate. From the brewery or establishment perspective, they can brew the beer or host a fundraising night among other things. Consumers can spread awareness about the project, as well as support the beers once they are released. In addition, we advocate for creativity in raising funds for this project. It can be through a Facebook/Instagram fundraiser (we accept fundraising donations via the Donations feature). They can also donate directly to the Fund on our website. For one of my other businesses, Empower Bands, I am donating 20 percent of every purchase made to this Fund, as well as 20 percent of every purchase to the National Network of Abortion Funds. But, the easiest way to help is to spread the word!

Individuals who need financial assistance in travel or accommodation expenses to a “friendly,” neighboring state can apply online via a form that we have. Again, it will only be viewable and reviewed by me. So, based on the status of the fund, we will hopefully be able to provide partial or full assistance with those expenses. We are now accepting applications indefinitely, and we will be reviewing them on a rolling basis. If there are cases that cannot be funded, we are also providing information to resources and organizations that might be able to assist further.

There are still plenty of people from the industry to the community of craft beer drinkers who think beer shouldn’t “get political.” Thinking about the DIAS collab specifically, what would you say to those people about the responsibility those in beer have and the impact their work can have?

As John Nelson said in one of our recent articles, craft beer is in a particularly unique situation where we are made up of independent operations, which means that breweries are not tied down by shareholders or political donors. Therefore, our political dollars actually make more of a difference in this industry. We have the opportunity to support breweries that support us. So, in the long run, we are ensuring that our future is a landscape that is supportive of reproductive rights and human rights in general.

It’s also important to support because individuals who need these specific reproductive health services are, by and large, still very much a marginalized group within craft beer. So, we are advocating for a population that is already vulnerable to being misunderstood and mistreated on these issues in the workplace. There are those that say “Stick to the beer.” Well, beer exists in our everyday lives. It doesn’t exist outside of society. We have the ability to influence and enact change. And, if we have that power, we better make our voices heard.

The article With ‘Beer Is for Everyone,’ Lindsay Malu Kido Fights for Human Rights, Equity, and Representation appeared first on VinePair.