28 October 2021

Several breweries drop out from Mikkeller beer event over sexism claims

Denmark | The beer festival, Mikkeller Beer Celebration Copenhagen (MBCC), was hit by several withdrawals, after several ex-employees at Mikkeller alleged sexual harassment and gender bullying at the firm. This was reported by the website goodbeerhunting.com on 11 October 2021.

The by-invitation-only MBCC, which was held on 22 and 23 October 2021, is renowned for featuring some of the most highly sought-after breweries (usually 100) in the world. Craft brewers consider it an honour to be featured. Tickets for this year’s MBCC festival cost approximately USD 63 for general admission and USD 345 for a “gold” level ticket.

It was in July that Mikkeller was criticised by four former female employees for having created a workplace, where gender-based bullying, harassment, retaliation, and indifference to quality control and employee safety protocols went unchecked. Only in June, an anonymous group had put up some posters outside the Copenhagen headquarters of Mikkeller, featuring accusations of racism and sexism.

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Per goodbeerhunting.com, “three of the women worked at Mikkeller’s San Diego brewery and taproom. The fourth worked at Warpigs, the Copenhagen brewpub jointly owned and operated by Mikkeller and US craft brewer 3 Floyds from Indiana. All four say that during their time with the company (2014-2020), Mikkeller either lacked formal human resources staff or had ineffectual HR staff, so employees were expected to bring complaints to managers, some of whom were the subjects of employees’ complaints.”

Mikkeller has denied the allegations. In response to the cancellations, it posted a statement on Instagram (13 October), saying that it had become aware of a social media post that called out the firm for apparently failing to address the allegations. The statement reads: “We support activism for social justice, safe workplaces and inclusion. And we have indeed responded clearly to any allegations of employee mistreatment at Mikkeller and have, and continue to, prioritise a safe and inclusive workplace above all else.”

The brewery and its satellite bars have expanded to 23 locations globally, thanks in large part to the company’s reputation as a trendsetter. However, “the withdrawals will do nothing to support the brand’s cache as a tastemaker within the beer world,” Kate Bernot of Good Beer Hunting writes.

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