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Addressing Harassment - Open Letters to the Beverage Alcohol Industry

Deborah Brenner, Founder & CEO, Women of the Vine & Spirits


Addressing Harassment in Craft Beer

May 20, 2021


Dear Women of the Vine & Spirits Community,

I am writing to you today to address the recent news of sexism, harassment and violence impacting many of our colleagues in the Craft Beer Industry. On May 17th, VinePair reported on a highly disturbing and longtime pattern of sexual misconduct, harassment and manipulation in the workplace. 

We, at Women of the Vine & Spirits (WOTVS), condemn the perpetuation of harassment in our industry, and stand in solidarity with those who have bravely stepped forward to share their story. 

Furthering our mission of Diversity, Equity and Inclusion, WOTVS is continuing our commitment to provide educational resources on the prevention of violence and harassment in the workplace. By centering the voices and experiences of survivors, we aim to provide a space for healing as well as strengthen our allyship.

We encourage our community to participate in our ongoing initiatives to address harassment and discrimination. We must take collective action. Enough is Enough. 


Sign the Pledge of Commitment to End Workplace Harassment Today

We are continuing to share our Pledge of Commitment to End Workplace Harassment. Thank you to those of you who have already signed in solidarity. We are now at 1,106 signatures! 

"The world needs to see, hear and experience true support for all!! Therefore, my signature is my full support to pledge, learn from this and pass it on." - Wendy, Oregon

“Growing up in a single parent family I saw firsthand the difficulties my mother faced due to sexism. I would like to ensure future generations can thrive regardless of their gender.” - Toby, United Kingdom

As part of our ongoing effort, the Pledge is still active, and we encourage you to share this with your networks. Sign here.

By signing the WOTVS Pledge  of  Commitment, you demonstrate to your team, colleagues and to the alcohol beverage industry, worldwide, your commitment to creating a respectful, harassment free workplace where all women and men can thrive.


Educate Yourself: Workplace Harassment Resource Library  

If you are interested in learning more, visit our WOTVS Resource Library, focused on Workplace Harassment. Here are just a few resources available to our members:

Check out our Resource Library to see our full range of support resources.

Content is provided by organizations including RAINN, the CDC, the National Organization of Sisters of Color Ending Sexual Assault, Love is Respect, The SAFE Bar Network, the World Health Organization, and others. We will continue to add relevant content and invite you to share any resources you would like considered for inclusion.


Listen & Learn: WOTVS Community Live Chats 

Continuing with WOTVS’ practice of tapping experts in specific fields, we recently hired RAINN to hold a customized training for our members and non-members. If you were not able to make the session but are interested in learning more, you can review the WOTVS: Sexual Misconduct Prevention and Response Training Supplement.  

WOTVS also offered a Bystander Intervention Training with The SAFE Bar Network for our members and non-members. You can find training materials provided by The SAFE Bar Network in our Resource Library.

Just this month, we were pleased to be joined by Former Google Chief Compliance Officer, Andy Hinton and President & Chief Business Officer, NotMe Solutions, M. LeBaron Meyers to learn about #NotMe, a groundbreaking resolution-seeking reporting platform for those who’ve experienced or witnessed racism, harassment or any type of discrimination or misconduct. Corporate Members can watch the recording of this session here.

The WOTVS team is currently working on installments for this summer to provide further training, education and healing to our members. Stay tuned for upcoming sessions on bystander intervention, violence prevention and more.


Join the Conversation: WOTVS Brewers Group

Join our Brewers Group! Our Co-Leads Julie Kinch, CEO & Founder of JK Leadership Advisors and Julie Rhodes, Owner of Not Your Hobby Marketing Solutions, are planning a Live Chat in the coming weeks to address recent events and provide space for healing. Group members are also encouraged to share helpful articles and discussions around topics important to this sector. If you do not work in the brewing industry, we would love to see you there in solidarity! 

If anyone is in need of urgent support, or is struggling with any issues related to sexual violence, RAINN's hotline is available 24/7 in English and Spanish, via telephone at 800.656.4673 and online at y

All the best,



WOTVS Pledge of Commitment to End Workplace Harassment

December 2, 2020


Dear Members and Friends, 

We did it! We surpassed the goal of 1,000 pledges and are still seeing more coming in! Thanks to you, more than 1,000 women and men made their voice count and signed the WOTVS Pledge of Commitment to End Workplace Harassment.

We received pledges from supporters around the globe in countries including Australia, Argentina, Barbados, Bolivia, Canada, France, Germany, Hong Kong, Hungary, Italy, Jamaica, Japan, Mexico, New Zealand, South Africa, Spain, Ukraine, United Kingdom, and the United States. We are encouraged to see the number of signatories continue to rise.

Together, we are standing in solidarity to demonstrate to the industry at large that we are committed to fostering a work environment in the alcohol beverage industry where all women and men can thrive no matter their gender, race, or sexual orientation.  

What’s Next?

Our Groups: Online Discussions and Live Zoom Chats

WOTVS recently added new Groups which are essential in our efforts to foster conversations and create learning opportunities to aid in ending workplace harassment:

  • People of Color Alliance - led by Corporate Members Sarah Bettman, Director, Diversity & Inclusion, Constellation Brands and Erika Hopkins, Sr. Director, Culture & Corporate Social Responsibility, Republic National Distributing Company

  • Pride Alliance - led by Corporate Members Meredith Nelson, Brand Manager, Marketing, Pernod Ricard and Lauren Mutti, VP Labor & Employment Counsel, Southern Glazer’s Wine & Spirits

  • Working Mothers - led by Corporate Member Marbet Lewis, Co-Founding Partner, Attorney, Spiritus Law 


New! WOTVS Resource Library for Workplace Harassment

WOTVS added a new category within our WOTVS Resources Library focused on Workplace Harassment. 

  • Members have access to downloads and information including “How to Help Someone you Care About”, “Bystander Intervention Tips & Strategies” and “Safety Planning”.

  • The resources are shared by such organizations as RAINN, the CDC, the National Organization of Sisters of Color Ending Sexual Assault, Love is Respect, the World Health Organization, and others. We will continue to add relevant content and invite you to share any resources you would like considered for inclusion.


New! 90-Minute Training Session Led by RAINN and Customized for WOTVS

Continuing with WOTVS’ practice of tapping experts in specific fields, we are hiring RAINN to develop customized trainings for WOTVS. RAINN, the nation's largest anti-sexual violence organization, will provide our members with education to increase awareness around sexual misconduct and strategies for prevention. RAINN helps organizations meet the complexities of today’s climate by moving beyond compliance toward values-based, sustainable solutions that promote safe and healthy communities. The date of the Training Session is being confirmed and will be announced soon.

  • Together, RAINN and Women of the Vine & Spirits, with the input of our members, will cover topics on prevention, healing, and bystander intervention. This will be achieved through sexual misconduct prevention and response training.

  • RAINN will develop and deliver a customized 90-minute training for members of WOVTS. This training will educate participants on the complexities of sexual misconduct, with an emphasis on addressing misconceptions, understanding the role that members play in shaping healthy communities, and identifying resources for those directly and indirectly impacted by these issues. 

  • WOTVS members will receive a resource guide that bridges the gap between the concepts discussed in the training and actionable skills specific to the participants’ roles in prevention and response.

  • Additionally, RAINN will conduct a Pre-Session Survey to allow our members to assist RAINN in identifying the relevant questions and topics specific to our members’ needs, provide members with context for the session, and provide awareness about RAINN’s support services.

  • RAINN will also conduct a Post-Session Survey, used to help RAINN and WOTVS understand how the session was received by our members and to gain insight into possible additional needs or areas for further education.

We look forward to announcing more resources, trainings and live chats in the coming weeks. Together, we will continue to eradicate harassment and co-create a more diverse, equal and inclusive workplace where all can succeed!

All the best,



Sexual Harassment In The Alcohol Beverage Industry

November 5, 2020


Dear Fellow Members,

I am writing to you today to address the recent news out of the Court of Master Sommeliers, Americas, one of the nation’s most prominent wine organizations. Last week, the New York Times reported on a highly disturbing and longtime pattern of sexual harassment in the court. More than two dozen women came forward to report and share their experiences of harassment, manipulation and assault. Enough is enough. Women of the Vine & Spirits supports these brave women, the ones who came before, and those who remain in silence as well. We will not stand for the sexism that plagues our industry, and we will take action.

As you know, Women of the Vine & Spirits is built on a foundation of respect, integrity, and trust, and we are committed to creating and fostering a work environment in the alcohol beverage industry where all women and men can thrive no matter their gender, race, or sexual orientation. Our mission is to be a springboard for action; the connection to the brave collective. To that end, we commit to the following actions:

  • Create a Resource Library with tool kits for preventing, reporting and interrupting sexual harassment. Speaking up is a brave and important first step. And, we need to take the subsequent steps. In the coming weeks we will add to our online resource library actionable tools for taking back control from those who would keep women from advancing in this industry.

  • Convene our membership for professional led training and healing sessions. Stay tuned for an invitation to our first of many discussions focused on prevention and empowerment, as well as response and recovery.

  • Raise our collective voices. We will not be silent. In the next few days we will invite members to sign on to a letter demanding the industry take concrete actions to investigate and address all acts of harassment and to take significant measures to eradicate prejudice and harm.

Please know I am available to speak with any and all of you who want to discuss this issue. As I have said before, together we have the strength, resiliency, and stamina to tackle these changing times and unique challenges.

In solidarity,




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