The Brewers Association (BA) is pleased to announce the start of the fourth cohort of its Mentorship Program, which was first launched in the spring of 2020. Beginning in September 2022, 35 participants in three mentorship tracks will collaborate with a slate of experienced mentors to further their professional development in craft brewing.
Developed by the Diversity, Equity, and Inclusion (DEI) Committee and the BA Equity and Inclusion Partner, the Brewers Association Mentorship program is a 12-week virtual experience that works to increase diversity among those who work in, own, or aspire to work in or own craft breweries. Mentors provide structured mentorship and advocacy aimed at removing professional barriers to entry or advancement.
Participants in the program are able to select between three professional tracks to help focus mentorship based on each participant’s interests and level of professional experience. The aspiring professionals track is for individuals new to the craft brewing community or who have little or no work experience in the industry. The advancing professionals track is for individuals who currently work in the industry and want to advance, expand, or change their career trajectories. Further specializations within this track include production, guest experience, and brewery administration. The brewery start-up track is for individuals who aspire to start a brewery and have taken steps to do so, or breweries less than one year old.
The fall 2022 cohort features the largest group of participants in the brewery start-up track to date, as well as more participants in the brewery administration specialization of the advancing professionals track than previous cohorts.
“Several participants in this cohort aspire to work in a key role in a larger craft brewery or to open breweries of their own someday. They’re looking for mentorship in brewery administration so they can improve their business acumen and better understand how they can grow as leaders,” says Alana Koenig-Busey, BA DEI Project Coordinator and Mentorship Program Director.
“One of the strengths of our Mentorship Program is its breadth. Each participant spends two weeks with five different mentors. It allows them to make numerous relationships with individuals from a wide range of roles and specializations. That’s an especially valuable experience for those moving into leadership roles,” says Christina Sayer, Mentorship and Professional Development Subcommittee chair and co-owner of Brewery Legitimus in Hartford, Connecticut.
“One thing past participants have reported valuing most during their time in the program was the opportunity to hear their mentors’ stories and learn about the challenges they experienced. For brewery start-up participants, mentorship has helped them to avoid making decisions that could have been costly or harmful to their businesses,” adds Koenig-Busey.
Participants who complete the BA Mentorship Program receive support beyond the 12 weeks during which they are in active mentoring rotations. Past participants have maintained relationships with mentors long after their cohorts ended. Additionally, participants receive financial support to attend the Craft Brewers Conference, pursue an industry certification, attend an approved brewing education program, or build a reference library through Brewers Publications.
The Brewers Association runs two cohorts of the Mentorship Program annually. Applications to participate in the next cohort, which kicks off in March 2023, will be accepted from November 28, 2022 through mid-January 2023. However, those interested in becoming mentors in the program don’t have to wait to apply. “We are in need of mentors in all specializations in the industry and we accept applications from potential mentors at any time,” says Koenig-Busey.
The Brewers Association envisions a craft brewing industry that provides unmatched opportunities for learning, professional development, employment, entrepreneurship, belonging, and empowerment to everyone regardless of identities, experiences, or perspectives.
To learn more about the Brewers Association Mentorship Program and to apply to be participant or mentor, visit brewersassociation.org.