The EID Board
Our Equity, Inclusion, Diversity (EID) Board is an employee-led group championing positive change with the goal of building a more equitable and diverse company and industry. They strive to foster a culture of education while increasing awareness of their own biases. The EID Board recommends and executes changes that make Lawson’s Finest Liquids accessible to all people.
As we enter the new year, the EID Board spent some time reflecting on their progress over the last twelve months. In 2021, they pioneered change in every department and fostered meaningful conversations along the way. Below are some of their biggest accomplishments.
On June 17th 2021, the EID Board unveiled the Lawson’s Finest Liquids EID Action Plan. The Plan is a compilation of all our social justice work as a company to date. The EID Board carefully examined our values and the practices already in place to foster equity while we combat discrimination and harassment.
The document serves as a promise for positive change throughout our company with the hope that it will make an impact in the wider craft beer industry. It remains a living document that is regularly re-examined through the lens of our changing world. It has already sparked action by our employees and fans alike, bringing immense positivity internally and cultivating important conversations throughout the company.
In 2021, Lawson’s Finest Liquids joined WeVow, a sexual harassment training platform that shows employees their value and gives them the power to become the solution. It’s designed to give participants 100% clarity that sexual harassment is not tolerated at Lawson’s Finest Liquids and elevates expectations against it.
The EID Board has been working diligently to make every aspect of the Lawson’s Finest Liquids experience as accessible as possible — including our digital presence. We’ve updated our website with a range of accessibility options that give everyone a positive user experience. We have also worked to incorporate accessibility best practices on our social media platforms.
This past year Lawson’s Finest Liquids hired Kelly Putnam, our first HR Manager. Kelly has been working to ensure the internal operations and hiring process at Lawsons Finest Liquids are equitable and accessible. She also provides a safe space for every member of our Lawson’s Finest Liquids Team with frequent check-ins. Beyond recruiting new team members and ensuring our company is a fantastic place to work, she has joined the EID Board to bring a new, human resources perspective to the Board.
Everyone is Welcome Here
In 2021, the EID Board wanted to emphasize that our Taproom remains a safe space for everyone. The rainbow sign they created (above) now hangs throughout our Taproom and offices reminding staff and guests alike that they belong. It’s a simple way to set a standard of inclusivity, spread some joy and celebrate the differences in our rainbow array of fans.
The EID team has made our food and beverage menu more accessible by giving viewers the option to have it read with a screen reader. This reformatting invites everyone to try our tasty food and delicious beer.
Gender Neutral Bathrooms
We officially created a gender-neutral bathroom in our Taproom so all of our guests feel welcome, comfortable and seen.
EID Good Brews for a Cause
By brewing Brave Noise Pale Ale, we partnered with Brienne Allen (@ratmagnet) in a revolution against sexism and harassment. The beer recipe was created in response to the industry-wide reckoning of discrimination in breweries and taprooms everywhere. Brave Noise united breweries from all over the world through a pledge of transparency and progress for staff and customers to drive change internally and throughout the industry.
Through our Good Brews for a Cause initiative within our Social Impact Program, we donated 100% of Brave Noise sales to Vermont Network Against Domestic and Sexual Violence, helping them fund their Uplift Vermont campaign. This initiative changes the way we talk about domestic and sexual violence in Vermont. Through conversations, they are working to eliminate violence by providing resources that help allies address survivors in a way that advocates for victims and aids in their healing process.
Things We Don’t Say IPA
In 2021, Lawson’s Finest Liquids also brewed Things We Don’t Say: Craft Beer For Mental Health to join a collaboration across 197 breweries in eight countries committed to smashing the stigma surrounding mental health. Wandering Soul Beer first released the beer in 2019 to highlight the impact on the owner’s struggle with mental health after the stillbirth of his daughter. When he and his wife experienced this incredibly painful trauma of loss, they realized the stigma inhibiting them from talking about it was just as painful. He envisioned each can of Things We Don’t Say IPA as the start of a conversation.
For every glass of Things We Don’t Say IPA poured in our Taproom through our Good Brews for a Cause initiative, we donated to Hope for a Day, a national organization advocating for mental health, and Washington County Mental Health Services, a local organization supporting the cause.
Outright Vermont Merchandise
In July 2021, the EID Board brought in new, rainbow merchandise to our Retail Store to support Outright Vermont. A portion of profits from our Rainbow Shirt and Rainbow Can Cooler go toward their mission and help build a Vermont where all LGBTQ+ youth have hope, equity and power. Through our Sip of Support initiative within the Social Impact Program we donated $5,697.58 to the organization in 2021 and are looking forward to our continued partnership in 2022.
Supplier Ethics Rubric
Our EID Board went beyond our own company to take a closer look at our suppliers and partners. Through evaluation using our Supplier Ethics Rubric, every business partner was examined thoroughly. This led us to pivot away from certain suppliers who did not align with our values of social and environmental sustainability while reinforcing partnerships with businesses who share our beliefs.
Michael Jackson Foundation for Brewing & Distilling
Lawson’s Finest Liquids donated $5,000 to the Michael James Jackson Foundation for Brewing & Distilling to support their mission of advancing technical education and facilitating career opportunities for people of color within the industries of brewing and distilling. The Michael Jackson Foundation is named for Michael James Jackson, an acclaimed beer and whisky writer. Through the organization, his anti-racism activism persists through the next generation.
Change In The Air Festival
In 2021, our Sales Team attended Change in the Air Festival hosted by New England Brewing Company. The festival was an opportunity to support inclusion in our industry as well as the CT Brewers Guild African American Brewing Scholarship, which was created in collaboration with New England Brewing Company. The festival was founded on the goal to create a more inclusive beer industry while uplifting and highlighting Black and Brown businesses focusing on food, music, art and entertainment. The festival featured BIPOC-owned and socially responsible breweries, music acts, food vendors and artists. It was a celebration of culture and the beginning of a new era in brewing.
Throughout the year, the EID Board planned company-wide de-escalation training through PAC Maine. Each session built skills in boundary setting, bystander intervention and de-escalation to maintain a safe, welcoming space. The training gave each member of the Lawson’s Finest Team the tools and confidence to decrease emotional, physical and mental stress levels in potentially harmful situations.
E.P.I.C. Education Series
Our company took part in the E.P.I.C. Education Series presented by Abundant Sun and VBSR (Vermont Businesses for Social Responsibility). It is an eight-part series of virtual roundtable workshops that address some of the most pressing issues of our time including ethics, leadership and governance. The series dives into topics including anti-racism, business resiliency and climate crisis to encourage education and promote conversation.
Stand Up Resources
Last year, Lawson’s Finest Liquids began a three-part educational series through Stand Up Resources. Each session is led by speaker, writer and activist, Anna Nasset who gives our team the tools for effective bystander intervention. She covers difficult topics like domestic violence, human trafficking and sexual assault so that our Taproom will remain a safe space for everyone.
Cheers to the New Year!
Through the EID Board and their relentless work, Lawson’s Finest Liquids will continue pushing toward a more diverse, equitable, inclusive community, industry and world. Cheers to all the good they will do in 2022!