Fall Brings New Cohort, Changes to the Brewers Association Mentorship Program

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Applications for the Spring 2022 Cohort Now Open

On September 20, a group of 25 aspiring and advancing craft brewing industry professionals began a 12-week virtual experience as the second cohort of the Brewers Association (BA) Mentorship Program. The mentorship program seeks to increase the diversity of the workforce, leadership, and ownership of small and independent breweries by providing structured mentoring and advocacy to those experiencing barriers to access or advancement.

The launch of the second cohort, comes on the heels of successful completion of the inaugural cohort. The first cohort of 30 participants, which concluded on June 6, has already produced a handful of success stories. Two participants secured their first jobs in the industry shortly after the conclusion of the program, another received a fellowship to attend a selective brewing education program, and others explored opportunities to grow in their current positions.

12 of the 30 members of the inaugural cohort of the mentorship program were able to meet some of their mentors face-to-face for the first time and share their experiences in the program during a Mentorship Program Meet up at the Craft Brewers Conference® & BrewExpo America® in Denver in September.

Pictured: Inaugural cohort participant Julianna Perez (left) with program mentor Ramon Tamayo. Perez was hired by Magnolia Brewing Co. after participating in the BA mentorship program.

Along with these successes, the first cohort provided a wealth of valuable lessons that were used to make changes to the program for the second cohort. This fall, the BA introduced three professional tracks to the mentorship program in order to provide participants with a more tailored experience. The aspiring professionals track is for those who are new to the craft beer community and have little to no work experience in the industry. The advancing professionals track is for those who currently work in the industry and seek to advance, expand, or change their career trajectories. Participants in the advancing professionals track can further specialize with an emphasis in production, guest experience, or brewery administration. The start-up track is for those who aspire to start a brewery and have taken tangible steps toward doing so, and for breweries that have operated for less than one year.

The BA Mentorship Program leverages the breadth of professional experience and industry resources represented by the BA and its membership, offering program participants exposure to expertise in a wide range of industry roles. “Where a lot of mentorship experiences are intended to create deep, long-term connections that are necessarily narrow in scope, we hope to offer a shorter, intensive experience that is unique in its breadth,” says J Jackson-Beckham, BA equity and inclusion partner. “Our mentors come from every conceivable corner of the industry and represent independent businesses of all sizes.”

Participants aren’t the only ones benefiting from the mentorship program. Annette May, faculty member in the Brewing & Distillation Technology Program at Schoolcraft College and Advanced Cicerone®, has served as mentor for both the spring and fall cohorts of the program. “Mentoring in the program is a chance to guide, teach, inspire, and hopefully aid others to pursue a goal or dream in the industry we all love so much,” says May. “It’s fulfilling, and fun! I’ve met some amazing people, and I’ve learned many things too!” May’s experience inspired her to contribute to the program by serving as the newest member of the Mentorship and Professional Development Subcommittee.

The BA 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.

The spring 2022 cohort of the BA Mentorship Program will begin on March 14, 2022. Applications for participants in the spring 2022 cohort are now being accepted and will continue to be accepted through December 24.

Learn more about the Brewers Association Mentorship Program.

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