Reposted from u/notfrankthecat via Reddit: as a means to help gain greater awareness for the ill treatment women face in the brewing industry as we begin to build and advocacy program as part of our “Pathways Towards Professionalism” 2021 initiative.
I left Boulevard Brewing Company in March 2020 because of harassment I received because I was pregnant.
My boss stood me and another female employee up in the lab, in front of another coworker, and demanded to know if we were pregnant. When we refused to answer, he told the other woman “the only way you could be pregnant is by your cat”, then continued to ask me. I reported this to HR, but it started a cycle of reporting his behavior to HR and then being punished (by him) for going to HR.
This wasn’t a one time incident. My boss’s bad behavior was a well known “joke” in the brewery. Former employees warned me about him. When coworkers found out I was pregnant, their response was “oh, he didn’t take that well, did he”. The brewmaster described him as “a monkey”. In spite of this, I was asked to come up with solutions to help fix his bad behavior. When I acted on these, I was called anti social. It was made clear that I was the problem for not handling it better. They had asked me in my interview if I could handle working with men, so it was my problem.
A different man was allowed to sexually harass multiple women for years. He was chastised, but when he harassed these women again (following them to their cars, trying to give them notes or gifts, sending them multiple emails) nothing was done. One of his victims quit because after continued harassment, HR told her they had done “everything they could”. He was eventually allowed to “retire early”. The company threw him a party. He was not stopped from harassing his victims at future events held at the brewery.
I know female brewer candidates with years of experience that were turned down specifically because they were female. The hiring manager told me he wouldn’t hire women because they are lazy. I know of one woman in particular and I have spoken to her privately. Instead, a man with no brewing experience was hired as an intern and quickly promoted to brewer. He is a nice person, but it does not justify that a man with no experience was preferable to a woman with experience.
As I was leaving I heard stories, that I cannot corroborate, of instances of harassment or discriminatory behavior that were not disciplined. The consistent factor in these stories is who the company punished. If you fuck up, you are forgiven. If you report misbehavior, you are punished.
I am no longer in the brewing industry. I loved my job, I worked hard to get there, and I am extremely proud of the work I did. I think it is important for everyone to know Boulevard is not a good place for women to work. It is not a “family” company.
They recently hired a female brewer and are gearing up to promote a Women’s Day beer with special glasswear supporting the women in brewing and at Boulevard. Like all marketing, this is a smoke screen for how they actually treat their employees. I’ve also ALREADY been accused of not supporting women in brewing because of my criticism of this event.
If you’ve been on this board long, you know I haven’t spoken in detail publicly about what happened to me. Because I cared about my coworkers, I did not want to publicly call the company out. There are some terrific people that still work there that I care about a lot. But I can’t stay quiet anymore. I am ready to be called all of the negative buzz words people use to describe women. I know how the company talks about other former female employees (dirty, lazy, crazy). I’m prepared to be “disgruntled”. I’m ready for Ryan to talk shit about me.
It doesn’t change the fact that Boulevard has a sexist work environment that takes advantage of its employees.
Fuck them and thank you for bringing this to the light.
I just want to add:
I had a lawyer. Sadly, there are very few worker protections in the US. My options were “wait until they fire you then sue” or get a new job. I chose to get a new job because I like working and didn’t want to take that risk.
Also, it’s important to know that all HR has to is demonstrate and document an attempt to do something about the problem (such as talking to the employee).
I’m sorry you had to go through this. My wife went through something similar in the restaurant industry. HR was useless and everything was their word vs hers (even when there were other witnesses). Glad you moved on and found something new.
You should talk to another lawyer. Sex discrimination/harassment is unlawful in every single state under Title VII. You don’t need to wait to be fired, although it makes the case stronger. Depending on your state’s laws, you may also have a constructive discharge claim because the pervasive hostile atmosphere forced you to quit. HR taking action helps, but may not matter if your boss was high enough in the company and considered an agent whose actions can be imputed to the company (proxy rule imposed strict liability).
had a lawyer. Sadly, there are very few worker protections in the US. My options were “wait until they fire you then sue”
wasn’t there something posted here before about an owner asking if a girl has purple nipples and got sued cause their HR did nothing?
Sounds like you needed a better lawyer…5ReplyShareReportSave
There is a missouri law that prohibits an employer from discriminating against an employee for being pregnant. Did your lawyer at least have you file a complaint with MCHR?2ReplyShareReportSave
Super terrible…I sent you a private message! Would love to chat with ya. I hope all of this hasn’t reopened a wound that will cause further damage. Sending you all the positive vibes chica!1ReplyShareReportSavelevel 2SeethingLlama-116 points·1 day agoMore than 1 child
Do they belong to the Brewers Association? I just checked a data base and Boulevard didn’t come up but if they do, you can report them for contravening their Code of Conduct. It was introduced last August – BA Code of Conduct.
Most craft breweries belong to the BA, and it’s a significant influence in the industry. Sounds like you may be able to get them held accountable, and the issue addressed at a national level.18ReplyShareReportSave
Duvel Moortgat USA10ReplyShareReportSaveContinue this thread
Fellow former Boulevard employee here.
I can confirm that it’s a toxic work environment, and while I don’t have firsthand knowledge of this story, I am not surprised unfortunately. It’s just not a great place.102ReplyShareReportSave
Also former employee. Also can confirm.23ReplyShareReportSaveContinue this thread
Tldr; don’t buy boulevard brewing company beer. LLOYD AND CLEAR
Edit 2: I don’t know anything, don’t listen to me69ReplyShareReportSave
No need to anyways with BKS, Alma Mader, and other far superior breweries in the area.11ReplyShareReportSave
Boulevard is based in Kansas City???5ReplyShareReportSaveContinue this thread
modern work environments.
It seems most aspects of the beer industry have people who want to live like characters in Mad Men. I wouldn’t call them modern work environments.44ReplyShareReportSaveContinue this thread
My wife is Japanese, we live in the UK these days. Working for Japanese companies scarred her for life. Not only the crazy working hours, the misogeny is on a different level to the point she never wants to work in Japan ever again.
One company she worked for was as an accountant in an old school, small-medium sized family company. All women had to show up half an hour early in the morning to clean the workplace and get coffee/tea going.
An important part of her yearly review was based on her early morning cleaning attendance (this is not in her contract, it’s just expected from women in there). If she wouldn’t be there every day she risks a paycut and no chance to ever get higher up in the company.
Absolutely mind boggling for a Dutch guy like me. In here you would be called out on it the very next minute. These things are apprarantly still happening in places you think have their shit together.25ReplyShareReportSave
Takeaway; if they ask if you can handle working with men, you don’t want to work with their men.22ReplyShareReportSave
As a former employee of BLVD/DUSA I am happy something has been said. I think there are many more stories that could have had a larger effect.
I would like to add that the director of HR was a female. Which would make you think she should have been an ally. But perhaps she was distracted with her own inappropriate relationships.9ReplyShareReportSave
Just like the earlier comment HR is there for the company, not the employees. What’s worse is the HR director recently left and works for a consulting firm. How would you like that person being the HR consultant for your company? I think not. . But this starts at the top. Jeff Krum allows this on a continual basis. If you are not one of his favs you get pushed aside. Some of the best and most loyal employees get demoted just because “JK” didn’t like them. The culture is toxic. The way he has used a former employees death as an opportunity to get people into the beer hall is just inexcusable. I have been so surprised MM has allowed it for so long. I don’t think the board really knows what’s happening at the brewery or at Ommegang. Since Jeff Krum took back over the company the culture has turned toxic.
Idk how people could just brush you off as disgruntled, this kind of thing is (sadly) common. I’ve been in the craft beer industry for four years now and one of the things I’ve noticed is that for all the talk about how this industry is different/rebellious/unique/whatever other “outsider” adjectives they collectively want to use it’s still a huge boys club at its core and has some of the most toxic people I’ve met in my life. it also has some of the best people and I’d actually argue the good people outweigh the bad ones, but it always seems like the shitty ones are usually in the positions of power.
Sorry you went through this, hopefully you speaking up makes at least a small change. The craft beer industry as a whole needs to take a long look in the mirror and address some of the deep seeded ugliness plaguing our otherwise amazing community48ReplyShareReportSave
Yeah for real. I’ve worked in the industry for almost 7 years and between my own experiences as a woman and stories from my friends, none of this story shocks me. It’s awful every time I hear a story of this nature, but not surprising unfortunately.16ReplyShareReportSaveContinue this thread
Thank you for sharing your story. I know several past and present Blvd employees who knew of these rumblings or experienced it first hand. None in a leadership role. Not all are bad apples. Still, no excuse for this type of behavior.
For the size of BLVD/DUSA, they struggle with being progressive and inclusive on the issues. Barely a mention of BLM last summer and almost zero LGBTQI+ presence. They almost seem worried to alienate their core Midwest beer drinking audience and prefer remaining neutral. They focus group and worry too much instead of doing what is right. Won’t help them in the long run.
Did you know that employees wanted to volunteer with Wreaths Across America an organization that puts wreaths on military graves… They got denied. Too controversial.4ReplyShareReportSave
I feel for you. I’m glad you got out of there but I’m sorry you had to leave the industry. I’d like to say that this sounds like a rarity but sadly I’ve stumbled upon instances of this myself. The industry can be down right toxic at times, it all needs to be called out and shut the fuck down.24ReplyShareReportSave
Really sorry you had to deal with that shit, and that the company won’t do shit about it.
Thank you for being willing to share, despite all the flack it may cause – Things like this need to be told if shitty behavior is going to change21ReplyShareReportSave
My dad works for the Equal Employment Opportunity Commission and this is exactly the kind of case they would handle. This is a government agency working with lawyers. Please report this to them and help future employees! Use the EEOC Equal Employment Opportunity Commission for a company with 15+ employees or DFEH Department of Fair Employment and Housing for under 15 employees. Available in all states!7ReplyShareReportSave
It’s really sad the brewery has lost its way like this. The original owner/founder went out of his way to prevent this sort of thing.
About six years ago I was in sales at Boulevard (before Duvel). I had an opportunity to execute a big promotion at a popular “breastaurant” and designed a poster which included an image of a waitress wearing a skimpy uniform to promote the feature. I received a call from the founder of the brewery patiently explaining why Boulevard doesn’t use anything potentially degrading to women to promote the beer. His words were something like “women helped me build this place, and they will never forgive me if it becomes a hostile workplace.” I guess the company has changed a great deal, though the culture of that part of the country has always been sexist and racist and I’m sure it’s a never-ending challenge to keep it out of a workplace in KC.
Edited to add: was probably more like nine years ago. The founder no longer runs it, though he still works there at times and is probably still part of the board. I’m sure this situation breaks his heart. I hope the OP finds a better place to work, I’m really sorry this happened to her.13ReplyShareReportSave
Yes, this is really horrific to hear. One because no one should ever be treated as OP was and second because I have very fond memories of hanging with the Boulevard crew back in the early days. The company has changed very significantly under the new owners.3ReplyShareReportSave
The founder is a wonderful, wonderful human. One of a kind. Love this story.3ReplyShareReportSave
I left Duvel USA recently
John McD doesn’t even work there.2ReplyShareReportSaveContinue this thread
I worked there. In the interview, I was asked if I planned to have kids, and if so, when.
I should have known better, but I wanted the job bad enough to ignore that red flag. It didn’t get better.11ReplyShareReportSave
Wait, that’s legal in America? You can’t ask that in Australia, and rightfully so. And most companies have paid maternity/paternity or there is the government scheme, so there’s more of a reason for them to want to know.5ReplyShareReportSaveContinue this thread
Why are they so anti-pregnancy? Or moms? Mommy issues? What’s happening there?!1ReplyShareReportSaveContinue this thread
The worst person I know is a big Boulevard fan so I already boycotted them because I couldn’t enjoy their products when they reminded me of him. I did always feel bad for the company tho, not anymore.16ReplyShareReportSave
Hey @notfrankthecat, thank you. And you aren’t alone. Anytime the head of HR is in a romantic relationship with another member they oversee in the company company it’s just a bad deal. I had similar experiences with HR with other issues there as well, bring up ideas or change or issues and you are the one in the wrong for speaking out. I’m sorry you had to go through that, and although I was not the target of this harassment it makes me sad to think I was working there when this was going on. I was not even considered for a supervisors role that I had been working for when the time came, they didn’t even sit me down for an interview or ask me about it even though they had extended the offer to every other member of my department, in large part to to me going to night shift the previous year because I could not afford day care for my son and stay there. Hope you are doing well, and cheers :)11ReplyShareReportSavelevel 2bathroom_office14 hours ago
” Anytime the head of HR is in a romantic relationship with another member they oversee in the company company it’s just a bad deal. “
I don’t think she oversaw the people she was and is in a relationship with. Regardless the head of HR having relationships within the company is a bad idea. Especially with the married person. HR-Rethought should rethink that one.
I’m sad too that the harassment goes on. I view your situation more as favoritism than sexual harassment. Unfortunately, both run rampant here.1ReplyShareReportSaveContinue this thread
I shared your story in solidarity with our craft community in Columbus. You are receiving lots of support and calls to boycott Boulevard! One woman, however, feels that I have betrayed you and done wrong by you by sharing this public post to another forum. Do you share these feelings? Should I remove our support thread?15ReplyShareReportSave
I can’t edit out the stupid links giving this a stupid header picture. Edit: there we go13ReplyShareReportSave
I’m so sorry.
I did not have a positive experience working for DUSA. The glass ceiling there is incredibly low. I was not even offered an interview for a position I was fully qualified to be promoted to. Instead, a man with comparable experience to mine was shipped in from elsewhere to manage me.
There was no maternity leave – a complete shock to me. Women were in leadership in only the “typical” departments that women would be in – hospitality, marketing, HR. Don’t get me started on the lack of diversity in every other way..16ReplyShareReportSavelevel 2bathroom_office14 hours ago
Notice the type of women in leadership positions. Younger. Blonde.3ReplyShareReportSave
I didn’t get any either, just 6 week short term disability. I was still wearing depends when I returned to work. Brutal.2ReplyShareReportSaveContinue this thread level 2dotlose-55 points·1 day agoMore than 1 childlevel 1BayerVelt21 hours ago
Thank you for sharing this. I worked as a recruiter out of undergrad a few years back and had the opportunity to interview a very talented female chemist that was leaving Boulevard. When I asked her why she was looking to leave, the sentiment of her answer reflected this exactly. I’m sorry to hear it’s only gotten worse and I hope this gets exposed.6ReplyShareReportSave
As a resident, I hate to see businesses behaving poorly. But I’m also not a fan of “canceling” local companies with so much local clout. As others here pointed out, there are still good apples there, so I wonder what the community can do to encourage BLVD to change?
Just buying less of their beer isn’t actually going to solve the problem, and results in collateral damage to the community.
Disagree. They’re a company and nothing more. In fact, they’re just a subsidiary of an international company. Giving them less money is the only way to influence any company. They either fix it and get all that money back or don’t and disappear. Whatever speed in which they choose to fix this is on them.
They need to issue a statement3ReplyShareReportSave
Sorry that you had to endure that. I’m glad you had the courage to say something. A lot of individuals don’t because they don’t want to make waves or however else they want to rationalize it. Cheers to you, a new job with a better team, and less stress hopefully!5ReplyShareReportSave
Put this on Glassdoor, women need to be warned just like The Roasterie.6ReplyShareReportSave
Dang. What happened at the Roasterie?2ReplyShareReportSave
Posted to Facebook @pinkbootssociety9ReplyShareReportSave
Thank you for sharing your experience. That sounds awful, and unfortunately those sexist attitudes, punishing the victim, and unprofessional behavior directed towards women seems more common than not in brewing. The icing on the cake though is that Women’s Day celebration- how weird and hypocritical.
so sad and unfortunately completely common in this industry. i hope this encourages other women to speak up about what’s happened to them! these assholes need to be removed from their positions of power.3ReplyShareReportSavelevel 2CreativeAsFuuu15 hours ago
It’s really hard as a woman to come forward against a team of men. While I do agree with you, the powerful men dog pile on you, ban together, and drown you in their solidarity.7ReplyShareReportSaveContinue this thread
Shitty people are shitty.
I sincerely hope with the women’s brew day and new brewer they e seen their mistakes.
Congratulations on the addition to your Family!!4ReplyShareReportSave
welp no more Boulevard for me.5ReplyShareReportSave
Yikes. I’m a huge boulevard fan but had no idea it was this bad. Hadn’t been to the brewery in over a year because of covid. Thank you for sharing.2ReplyShareReportSave
This. There’s just so many choices for good/great beers out there that a story like this just means I’ll choose something else. I’ve written off breweries for political support choices, or what I deem to be tasteless beer names or artwork already, and this goes far beyond those choices.
I’m never a fan of people commenting ‘well, never buying your beer again!’ but making a personal choice about what kind of companies and people you want to support is obviously everyone’s right.5ReplyShareReportSave
As a female who works in the industry , thanks for sharing your story. Hope things are going fantastic for you at your new job!5ReplyShareReportSave
Not buying Boulevard for awhile5ReplyShareReportSave
All I can say is I’m sorry you’ve experienced that and thank you for making me a more informed beer buyer. I have no interest in supporting companies that do not swiftly and thoroughly eliminate this kind of toxicity.2ReplyShareReportSavelevel 1andyworthless1 day ago
I’m so sorry that happened. We have so far to go in this industry.3ReplyShareReportSave
AS a female that also works in the industry, i’d like to throw in my 2 cents (i’m going with the stream of consciousness approach ): Not everywhere is for everyone Sounds like a very douchey situation where u were very good for u to go. However: DO NOT quit the brewing industry if (as u said) u worked hard in it. There’s deep knowledge and wisdom within the blood sweat and tears it takes to learn it. most Certainly there’s going to be a higher M to F ratio in most breweries but all work environments are starting to shift to being more diverse . You gotta keep on keeping on.3ReplyShareReportSavelevel 1kamisabee1 day ago
Thanks for sharing your story. I’m sorry you went through that. As a woman, I’ve faced my own fair share of BS treatment in the workplace as well, including being written up for using the bathroom while I was pregnant, and being skipped over for a promotion because they “didn’t think I’d want it with a new baby at home” even though I’d expressed my interest several times. I’ve never worked in the Beer industry at all, and I honestly wouldn’t ever want to (minus one particular company- BrewDog), as even from the outside it seems like just a giant Boys Club. It’s sad that they still think they can get away with this BS 40s/50s mentality. Boulevard was my boyfriend’s favorite brewery. I will never again buy a Boulevard beer nor allow one in my home. And now, I’ve got a t-shirt to go burn and a glass to break.4ReplyShareReportSave
Yeah fuck those guys big time.2ReplyShareReportSave
Fuck Boulevard. This is the kind of shit that is going to keep the brewing industry professionals in the Stone Age2ReplyShareReportSave
Glad you shared on here, I’ve read this before on other spots.2ReplyShareReportSave
Happy to see this pissed off my fellow reditors as much as it pissed me off. Cheers everybody let’s keep working towards equality2ReplyShareReportSave
Contact the Pitch. They did a story about Alamo recently that is similar in nature.2ReplyShareReportSave
Well, then. Not that I’ve had their beer in quite a while, I will now avoid it.2ReplyShareReportSave
I’m so sorry you had to deal with that and I appreciate you sharing your story — I know that’s not an easy thing to do. Being in the industry I’ve heard my fair share of rape jokes and experienced harassment that was never dealt with by my bosses. It sucks and is never okay. Stay strong!1ReplyShareReportSave
Wow, fuck Boulevard. Not buying their shit anymore. There are plenty of other local breweries that are better anyway.3ReplyShareReportSave
Thanks for sharing. So sorry that was your experience there. Clearly there are enough people that had similar stories to collaborate your experience. And those of us reading can rest assured that this is not a “disgruntled employee” story but rather a disturbing trend with Boulevard. Boulevard is now dead to me.3ReplyShareReportSavelevel 1MikeoPlus22 hours ago
Serious bummer, Boulevard. I rode hard for these folks in Ohio, now I’m feelin like a big dummy. Anybody want a Love Child vert?2ReplyShareReportSave
I don’t have anything to add to the discussion, but it really sucks that they treated you this way, and continue to treat other women this way, at Boulevard. I won’t be buying their beer any more.3ReplyShareReportSave
This makes me sad and wonder if it wasn’t a blessing that I wasn’t picked for a job there last year. I’m sorry you had to endure that! And thank you for sharing your story.1ReplyShareReportSave
Fuck – I will make it a point to bring this up each time I see their bullshit on tap
It’s insane that some breweries allow this anti-woman bullshit. Hey assholes, women are in the industry, but beer, and unless you got that shrimp dick energy then I don’t know how you can be complicit in this harassment
Women’s rights are human rights. The fact I have to say that is disturbing.1ReplyShareReportSave
Wow. This definitely does not reflect well on Boulevard. At all. Sorry if I lost the thread, but could you please clarify:
The dude who harassed you about pregnancy is no longer with the company? And what pretense did he have for needing to know anything about your personal life, if at all?
I’m sorry you went through this. I dealt with significant harassment at the first brewery I worked for, and am insanely grateful for the team I have now. But it’s definitely the team and not the company that I rely on. I’m so sorry that you didn’t have the support of either.1ReplyShareReportSave
I was a fan of Boulevard Brewery, after reading this, I am no longer a fan. I wish this lady would have gone more public about it. Ladies and yes even gentlemen, do not forget about the power and accountability publicly displayed during and after the #metoo movement. Fuckers need to be brought to light.1ReplyShareReportSave
Do you hear that Boulevard? It’s the sound of people never buying your beer again.1ReplyShareReportSave
Thanks for letting me know. I just had their sour berry last night and it was fine but there are a billion others to choose from. I hate seeing mediocre men flourish without accountability. That reminds me I have to call my senator and tell him to get off his butt.1ReplyShareReportSave
I’m happy to no longer carry their products at my store! I refuse to support a brewery that treats people this way.1ReplyShareReportSave
Well, looks like I’m not buying Boulevard anymore.1ReplyShareReportSave
Former female employee of BLVD and this is a lot of truths sprinkled with embellishments. My heart goes out to those who actually experienced sexual harassment and a finger wave at the person who is making this about her.-4ReplyShareReportSave
You say a lot of truths, then basically say you know she didn’t experience sexual harassment. You know OP, worked there at the same time, and know what happened?
I’m not sure she’s even effectively making it about herself, using a burner account, with only those that know her being able to link it to her.3ReplyShareReportSavelevel 2dotlose-7 points·1 day agoMore than 1 child
Ryan is not involved in any alleged harassment. OP doesn’t like him because he stood up to her when she hijacked a post about an employee who passed away.7ReplyShareReportSave
Ryan has nothing to do with this. Please stop dragging his name. Ryan is an ally to women but unfortunately OP and Ryan are seemingly not on good terms. But please make it clear that Ryan is not the harasser in this post.2ReplyShareReportSavelevel 1BlvdKev80-5 points·1 day ago0 childrenlevel 1JustHarmless1 day ago
Boulevard should be ashamed of themselves. I guess after the owners sold out they just don’t give a damn anymore. They are now definitely on my no buy or drink list-1ReplyShareReportSave
Ryan is the most unprofessional in the NE brewing industry. I’m so sorry this happened to you. Good for you for getting out and saying something.0ReplyShareReportSave
What are you even talking about2ReplyShareReportSaveContinue this thread
Submit the story to the media. Nothing they love more than a good ol’ ambush exposé, and nothing gets these corporate bro-downs more spooked than having their stupid mugs blasted all over the news for being shitty.
When the law fails you, take it to the court of public opinion. Boulevard is a beloved company, but they’re also part of a very diverse community that really wouldn’t take kindly to this kinda behavior. Guarantee if it gets any traction with local news channels, they’ll start seeing a dip in profits and then make the right choice. Sucks that it takes that kind of attention for them to do the right thing, but that’s capitalism for ya.