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Women's Beer Forum

$19,996 of $25,000 goal

Raised by 516 people in 1 month
**UPDATE ADDED 11/19/2018. Click on Update tab to view.**

Back in 2009 when we opened Eagle Rock Brewery, I noticed that the few women who were visiting our tasting room and attending beer events throughout town were often pigeon-holed by their male counterparts into drinking only specific beer styles. And when women asked me (a fellow woman behind the bar) about beer-style recommendations, some men would interject by sharing what they thought women should drink. After seeing this so frequently I felt compelled to create an environment that was less male-dominated than anything else in the beer world. The Women’s Beer Forum was created to serve as an educational platform for more women interested in learning about beer, tasting through different beer styles, and being with a community of other women who enjoy good beer. On occasion, we would have men attend, present, and even participate in the discussions. It was simply named “Women’s Beer Forum” because I wanted to create a comfortable, safe environment for more women to actively join the conversation about craft beer. Most every other beer bar or beer event that I attended had predominantly men in attendance, and I felt there was a true need to balance the gender scale. Thus, the Women’s Beer Forum has been recurring monthly since March 2011.

In November of 2017, we received an email from an individual who claims to be a men’s rights activist. He reported that he emailed our general email line and was informed by one of our staff that the upcoming Women’s Beer Forum was for ‘women only.’ He then proceeded to demand thousands of dollars from us, while also threatening a discrimination complaint through the government if we refused to pay. Since he had never purchased admission through our online sales portal, we were unaware about his request to attend the Women’s Beer Forum. We apologized about the miscommunication and offered him an opportunity to learn about the same flight of beers provided at the event for the same ticket price. He declined the educational opportunity and instead filed a claim through the Department of Fair Employment and Housing (DFEH). After 7 months of waiting for a response, DFEH notified us of their decision that there was reasonable cause to open a case. Our only options: Pay a settlement to him or defend ourselves in a potential lawsuit that they would file on his behalf.

Looking at this situation from a moral standpoint, our decision seemed easy...We defend what we had worked so hard to create! But another question arose: Were we defending our beloved Eagle Rock Brewery or the Women’s Beer Forum? The sad truth we faced is that while defending ourselves against litigation it would mean risking the very brewery itself.

Career plaintiffs in such cases like these are able to make a living off of filing these types of complaints because most businesses choose to preserve the financial security of the company and pay them off. Career plaintiffs, similar to the “men’s rights activist” we are up against, can make comfortable livings by getting paid out through exploiting loopholes in legislation. All they do is fill out a couple forms per case and wait for checks from their complaints to start rolling in.

It kills me to say that we ended up settling. It’s something we had to do in order to protect the business (Eagle Rock Brewery), our home, the livelihoods of our team, and the investments made by friends and family who believe in us. At this point, we still have to come up with the funds for our legal fees and the settlement amount.

Further, we truly believe that justice hasn’t been achieved and the fight isn’t over. To prevent this from happening again in the future, we are also raising funds to build awareness throughout the beer and small business communities. Our goal is to work on getting legislators to amend the Unruh Act and eliminate the ongoing abuse of this law. As much as we would love to simply put this situation behind us, we very strongly feel there needs to be more awareness about these “men’s rights activists” who target and unfairly take advantage of women’s groups and small businesses. The more people who know about this can protect themselves, their friends, and businesses from such fraudulent claims, the fewer opportunity extortionists have of continuing to make a living off of it!

We are asking for your help. Please consider making a contribution to our campaign, sharing our story, being a unified voice with us, or just stopping by Eagle Rock Brewery to give us a hug or high-five. Thank you all for the support!
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Hi friends! Just wanted to thank you all for the support and update everyone on what's going on. We're currently working with some folks up in Sacramento to see what can be done to minimize frivolous claims and lawsuits that target minority groups and women's groups. We are also doing events throughout southern and northern California to raise awareness about these cases and to try to educate other business owners on how to minimize their exposure to these types of claims. We did an event in San Diego at Tiger! Tiger! and the turnout was great with a lot of really good discussion. We'll be traveling up to northern California from 12/2/18-12/6/18 and for several events throughout the Bay Area as well. I will continue to try to get the word out as much as possible and will keep y'all updated on our progress! For those of you who have donated, reached out, attended any of our events, or stopped into the taproom or Public House, THANK YOU! There aren't enough words to express our gratitude for the support!
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Dearest friends,

There are no words to describe our gratitude for all the support! We’re truly humbled by how much everyone was willing to hear our story, and are incredibly relieved to announce that in reaching our initial fundraising goal, we are now able to pay the legal fees that we’ve incurred throughout this year-long process, as well as helping us pay the settlement.

What’s next? We have finalized the settlement and are ready to put in the real work to make some positive come out of all of this. The ultimate goal is to improve the language in the current legislation in efforts to protect groups/businesses who are trying to engage under-represented populations within the community. The Women’s Beer Forum was created to bring more women into the dialogue about beer through education. As a community striving for diversity, breweries (and any other industries that lack diversity) shouldn’t get punished for trying to make things more equitable. We are currently exploring how to instigate change in language of the legislation. And we’re continuing to raise funds to apply toward that in order to protect not just the Women’s Beer Forum, but so many other organizations and businesses that offer marginalized populations a platform from which to level the playing field. Please help us maintain diversity in our communities by sharing, donating, or stopping by Eagle Rock Brewery for hugs or high-fives!
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$19,996 of $25,000 goal

Raised by 516 people in 1 month
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