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  • Writer's pictureSAFE Bar Network

Engaging, Practical, Manageable: How to Move Advocacy to Change

On May 11, a female brewer posted her story of harassment on her Instagram (@ratmagnet) and invited others to do the same. What happened next was reminiscent of the #metoo movement in 2017. Hundreds of stories of bias, discrimination and harassment were posted in the following weeks. The conversation quickly moved beyond the close-knit beer community and received coverage from media outlets.

In June, the SAFE Bar Network’s Haleigh Harrold participated in a conversation hosted by the SAFE Institute. A panel of beer industry reps and violence prevention experts discussed a path forward.

More recently, the SAFE Bar Network has partnered with Brave Noise, a collaboration with a big goal: a safe and discrimination-free beer industry. We’ve joined the initiative by offering active bystander training, focused on increasing safety, to people working in the beer industry. Brave Noise is advocating for safe spaces and inclusive environments by requesting breweries be transparent with their policies and commit to long-term work.

How does change start?

The first step is listening and understanding how people have been hurt by past behavior. Start with honest conversations at all levels - what problems have we had? When have we failed to foster a safe environment for all team members and customers? The change process is most effective when every person on the team has a shared understanding of the company’s values and expectations for behavior. Look for small changes that can be made quickly, to start building trust for the harder long-term changes that might be necessary.

How can we prepare staff to be ‘active bystanders’?

Start with the strengths you have within your culture and team. Servers and bartenders are often very creative at heading off problems - they may have strategies to share with others. Ask the team what strategies they could be comfortable implementing tomorrow to address overconsumption or to interrupt harassment in the moment. It’s important for leaders to communicate clearly how they will have their teams’ backs. If a customer is kicked out for aggressive flirting, will their server lose their tip? What if the customer complains that they are the one being harassed if refused service? Reinforce the great parts of your company culture that are not changing (i.e.the company softball team) while addressing the problem areas (i.e. staff drinking too much on premises after hours).

Who needs to be involved?

Engaging owners and managers is key to sustaining change, but buy-in is needed from every FOH and BOH team member. Industry groups like the Brewers Association and the SAFE Bar Network can offer opportunities for managers and leaders to share best practices and talk about challenges in a supportive environment. Affinity groups, like the Pink Boots Society, can help support growth and mentoring for groups that are underrepresented in the craft beer industry.

Head over the SAFE Institute’s blog to read more about advocating for change, building trust, and helpful policies and procedures.

Additional Resources

Interested in learning more about the SAFE Bar Network and our work to give everyone a safe night out, sign up for our monthly newsletter here. Or contact us at

The SAFE Bar Network is a nonprofit 501(c)(3) you can join the team by donating your time, talent, and money to the mission of giving everyone a SAFE Night Out, just click here.

SAFE Bar Training conversations are simple, manageable, and they work – but you don’t have to take our word for it. Check out these real-life, Everyday Active Bystanders.

To learn more about active bystander skills check out our blog post, Obstacles. What obstacles? 3 Full Proof Everyday Active Bystander Skills.

Interested in learning more about bystander intervention? Visit our friends at With Us Center for Bystander Intervention.

If you or someone you know has experienced sexual harassment our partners can help. Visit and

To learn more about the field of violence response and prevention visit and

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