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Sexism In San Diego’s Craft Brew Scene

Cover image for podcast episode

Mujeres Brewing

Carmen Favela (left) and Esthela Davila (right), both co-founders of Mujeres Brewing, an all-woman brewhouse in San Diego’s south bay, on the day they received the keys to their to-be brewhouse, June 16, 2020.

An Instagram page reposting stories of women’s experience of sexism within the craft brew industry rocks San Diego’s own craft brew scene. Meanwhile, there’s been another deadly maritime human smuggling operation, this time near La Jolla. Plus, the impacts of the upcoming Mexican Elections are felt in San Diego.

Good Morning, I’m Annica Colbert….it’s Friday May 21st.

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Sexism And the San Diego Craft Brew Scene

More on that next. But first... let’s do the headlines….

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The Department of Homeland Security said in a tweet on Thursday that non-essential travel across American borders - including the one here at San Ysidro - will remain restricted through June 21st. They say it’s to combat the spread of Covid-19 and that the department is working closely with Canada and Mexico about easing restrictions as conditions improve.

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San Diego District Attorney Summer Stephan announced a new program on Thursday that aims to keep young people out of the criminal justice system. Here’s Stephan.

"It’s an early intervention program that prioritizes diversion, options for youth, instead of filing criminal charges. The program keeps them out of the courthouse that is here behind us and out of the juvenile justice system completely.

Diversions like therapy and monitoring services. Stephan says Black, Latinx and indigenous youth will get the services they need from professionals who understand their backgrounds.

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The City of San Diego is celebrating 5 years of their Get It Done app. It’s a phone app that you can use to quickly file a report about damage in the city like potholes, needed tree maintenance and graffiti. The city says the app has had over one million reports submitted.

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From KPBS, you’re listening to San Diego News Now.

Stay with me for more of the local news you need.

Sexism in the craft brew industry has been in the headlines this week after instagram posts by a woman who works in the industry went viral. Brienne Allan is a brewer at Notch Brewing in Salem, Massachusetts and her instagram handle is [at] rat magnet. After experiencing sexist incidents on her job, she asked others about their experiences. She ended up getting a huge response and she started reposting hundreds of stories from across the nation about sexist comments, sexual harassment, threats and assault in the craft beer industry..

And those viral posts ended up having real impacts in San Diego.

On tuesday, the CEO of Modern Times Brewing in San Diego - Jacob McKean - stepped down amid allegations of sexual harassment and unsafe working conditions.

Many San Diego breweries are now coming out in solidarity with women in the industry.

But, for the women who work here in San Diego….

“Honestly, none of us were really all that surprised. There’s so much of this that goes on in everyday life for women in the industry.”

That’s Lexi Russell-Martin. She’s an assistant brewer at DuckFoot brewing in Miramar. She’s also co-leader of the San Diego chapter of the Pink Boots Society, a nation-wide organization dedicated to supporting and educating women in the craft beer industry.

The thing is, sexism in the industry just isn’t new and some steps have been taken to combat it. In 2017 the Brewers Association added lines to it’s code of conduct to effectively ban sexualized names for beers and inappropriate images.

Lexi Banning response clip: 0:52 “That banning actually helped a little bit, but the problem is not all breweries are a part of the brewer’s association…the industry has been trending away from sexualized names for beers…..brewing has always been a boys club. People expect a big white bearded man to be their brewer, but we’ve come a long way we’ve gotten to a point we have to force people to accept that women work here.”

And, she says, so far there’s one thing that’s missing. Accountability.

“So many times these things happen, and nothing happens. And so our push now is we need to make sure when these things occur action is being taken. We can’t let this go by the wayside any longer.”

Can’t go by the wayside any longer, because women also now own and run breweries in San Diego. Here on the podcast today is the co-founder of Mujeres Brewing, Esthela Davila. Mujeres is an all-women brewery founded in San Diego’s South Bay. Their mission, like the pink boots society, is educating and empowering women in the industry.

TRT: 8:11
[00:00] - Speaker 1
Estella, welcome to the podcast.

[00:01] - Speaker 2
Thank you so very much for having me.

[00:03] - Speaker 1
So I'm wondering, have you personally experienced the type of incidents that Allan posted about in her Instagram page?

[00:11] - Speaker 2
I'm sorry to say that all women probably in beer have it's not an isolated incident and it's not something that people in the industry are proud of, but it does happen.

[00:22] - Speaker 1
Can you recount any personal experiences that you've had?

[00:25] - Speaker 2
More than anything? It's just men tend to think that some of the comments that they say aren't sexist or demeaning, just like I still get people, I'm behind the bar serving beers and I still get men that come in and say, but you don't even drink beer. You know, why do they say that? Why do they assume that? We're another one that I get is. Have you actually tried that beer like. Yes, I kind of work here.

[00:51] - Speaker 2
I have tried all the beers here, so and I don't mean to, like, make light of it, but it's just it's a daily thing that kind of occurs. And and you get the oh, why don't you smile more or, you know, you'd make better tips if you smiled more kind of thing. And it just. Yeah, it's rough. It's rough sometimes. But I also want to point out that for the bad there's a lot more good.

[01:15] - Speaker 2
So I just think it's maybe a little bit of lack of of education and maybe they just don't understand that what they're saying, you know, hurts people. But hopefully we're going to change that. And that's we're trying to do it.

[01:27] - Speaker 1
Moraitis, what was your reaction when you saw these posts in the industry getting so much attention?

[01:32] - Speaker 2
I don't want to say I was glad about it, but I'm I'm yeah, I guess I'm glad that it's finally out there and people are aware of what does happen.

[01:40] - Speaker 1
It seemed to start a conversation.

[01:43] - Speaker 2
Exactly. Yeah. And that and it needed to be done. And conversations have been started before, but not to this level. There was incidents last year with Boulevard brewing. I don't know if you're familiar with that, but it was along the same lines and that started the conversation. But it eventually did die down. And I don't think it's going to die down after this. It can't die down after this. I'm hoping so. It did start this conversation.

[02:08] - Speaker 2
What have you been hearing just from women you work with in the industry? What have they been also saying?

[02:14] - Speaker 2
I think we all feel kind of the same sentiment. We're just we're glad that men are finally realizing to what extent it does go to, because I think a lot of them just thought that they were comments here and there. But some of the stuff that's coming out is it's horrific. And obviously a lot of these things, you know, we didn't know about. And I'm just like I said, I'm happy it started a conversation and hopefully there will be changes.

[02:38] - Speaker 2
And it's not just a conversation. You know, I have seen a lot of babies already post. These are the steps that we're doing. We stand with women. But I hope it's not just them seeing it. I hope it's actually them doing something about it.

[02:50] - Speaker 1
So that kind of makes me wonder. Like when it comes to the next steps, are there any strategies that have been identified? Like what would change look like, do you think?

[03:00] - Speaker 2
Well, I think it starts with getting everybody trained in sexual harassment and know that steps that we've we've taken here at is and mockeries. We are a little bit different because it is only women here. And maybe we we don't handle things the same way everybody else does because we've been about this since the start. So this is a little bit different for for us being here. But at the same time, we're honestly thinking of having security here now on very busy nights and stuff, because sometimes guys do tend to get out of control and guys do tend to just see some things that are just inappropriate.

[03:37] - Speaker 2
And and after you've had one or two beers, I guess, you know, judgment is just not there.

[03:42] - Speaker 1
And I was just going to ask if there is anything else that other types of things you do at Mujeres to prevent these types of incidents or things that you think could be implemented beyond the sexual harassment training?

[03:53] - Speaker 2
Well, we are very self-aware here and we never have anybody working by themselves because of that. Also, just to kind of protect ourselves and just to be ready. We have open the dialog with the girls a

[04:17] - Speaker 2
And I tell all of them, you know, I'm literally just a text, a phone call away. Please do not hesitate, no matter how small or big you think a problem is. Please let us know. And I'm happy to say that all of our girls here are very comfortable. And we did discuss everything that's going on on Instagram right now in the conversations. And it was just like I said, for us, it's been an ongoing thing, though.

[04:40] - Speaker 2
We started the club to get more women in beer because we need more women in beer, honestly. And that was the whole reason why we started is group club, which eventually turned into Mukaddes Brewhouse.

[04:52] - Speaker 1
I do want to talk a bit more about Mujeres, but before moving on to that, as this conversation about sexism in the craft brew industry kind. Evolves and it's we're expecting it to keep going. Are there any specific issues you really personally want to see addressed, like anything specific that sticks out to you?

[05:09] - Speaker 2
One of the things that I've always had a problem with is I always debate what I wear before I come to work. And just because, OK, if I bend down to grab something, you know, somebody's going to say something. If I, you know, you know, I wish I could just wear what I wanted and not have to worry about that. But that's just something that we always have that we're conscious about. And that was one of the things that I saw so many women talk about, that they get certain comments when they were certain things.

[05:37] - Speaker 2
And, you know, I wish that wasn't that wasn't an issue.

[05:40] - Speaker 1
So let's talk about Mujeres. It's an all female brewery. Can you walk us through the origin story of Muirhead's as a brewery? And what were the reasons you had or your inspirations for creating an all female brewery?

[05:52] - Speaker 2
Basically, it's been about two years now. And Carmen Favela, her and her husband own border brewing. She had an idea where she just wanted to have something for women in beer, but she didn't know what she married into the brewery when she married David. So she doesn't she didn't know beer and she wanted to learn more about it. But there was really no place for her to go and learn or talk about this. And we were mutual friends.

[06:21] - Speaker 2
So she reached out to me because she knew that I knew beer. And I also do a beer podcast and beer festivals when we could do festivals. So I already knew about craft beer. And so she reached out to me and said, hey, you know, I have this idea, I want to do something, but I'm not sure what I want to do. And that's where we kind of decided we're going to do more brew club. And basically what we did was we would meet at Water Brewing.

[06:46] - Speaker 2
We had monthly classes and the classes ranged from the history of beer to beer styles all the way to actually making a beer. And it was supposed to be a six month series and we didn't know how many girls we were going to get. And like I said, this was just to bring more more women, especially Latinas, into beer. And the first class, we sold out twenty five tickets almost immediately. So we added a few more, added a few more, added a few more, and then we were up to sixty seven for the first class.

[07:20] - Speaker 2
And you know, both of us were in shock and the classes just kept going month after month. We made that first year which is called it another year, and we actually have it on draft now because we made it again. So then we started another six months series because it was so popular and the girls were all like, when are you guys starting this again? We want to do this again. And it got to the point where there's also a broader location in Los Angeles and Bill, and they kept asking for it as well.

[07:47] - Speaker 2
So we launched a second club in Los Angeles and then covid hit so we couldn't meet anymore. We didn't have a space. We couldn't take away the space from Water X to me because we would take up their entire Biergarten essentially when we would have our meetings. And Carmen and I were just in the phone one day and she told me joking around, hey, we should take over that brewery, that that's closed. And that kind of is where it started.

[08:11] - Speaker 2
And we're going to celebrate our one year anniversary and finally have a grand opening on June 19th. Wow.

[08:19] - Speaker 1
So you guys, like, went for it during the what was that like doing it during a pandemic?

[08:24] - Speaker 2
It was crazy. It was scary. But at the same time, we got this opportunity because of the pandemic and we just kind of figured if we don't do it now, when are we going to do it? So we just went for it. And luckily, it's it's been an amazing ride so far. Wow.

[09:59] - Speaker 1
And I've been speaking with Estella Devila, co-founder of Mujeres Brewing. Thank you so much.

[10:05] - Speaker 2
Thank you so much for having me.

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Coming up.... There’s been another deadly maritime smuggling operation, and Mexican elections are coming up, what does that mean for San Diego? Well have those stories next, just after the break.

It has happened again.. another deadly smuggling operation off a local beach. Border patrol spotted the boat near Point Loma at around 5 am on Thursday morning. A short time later, Lifeguards had to act fast near La Jolla to save people who were dumped into the water. KPBS’ Melissa Mae has more.

A Border Patrol agent first spotted the boat off Point Loma just after 5 this morning. A short time later, lifeguards were called to a site in La Jolla..
Maureen Hodges/SD Fire Rescue Lifeguard Division
“This morning around approximately 5:30 lifeguards were notified of a vessel inside the surf with people in the water needing assistance in La Jolla off Marine Street.”
Lifeguards rescued ten people from the water there. Eight were taken to four local hospitals.
Maureen Hodges/SD Fire Rescue Lifeguard Division
“We were later notified that there was, that the vessel had washed up at wipeout beach near the children’s pool about a mile north of the original rescue location.”
Maureen Hodges/SD Fire Rescue Lifeguard Division
“There was only one person near the vessel.”
That person was pronounced dead at that scene.
A total of 15 people were taken into custody.
Earlier this week authoritie s detained 23 people on another suspected smuggling boat. And earlier this month, three people died when another boat capsized off Point Loma.
University of San Diego Professor, Ev Meade explains why migrants are getting desperate.
Ev Meade/University of San Diego Professor
“A regional refugee crisis in Central America, an economic crisis caused by the pandemic and then a crisis in our immigration system where we have way more demand than we have ability to adjudicate cases.”
Ev Meade
“If you put all that together, you’ve got some really desperate people who don’t feel like they can wait and very little opportunity for them to come in a safer way.”
Meade says migrants are targeted by smugglers and unaware of the dangers.
Ev Meade
“You don’t actually have the tools to make a rational risk assessment. What you have is a low level representative of organized crime coming to you and offering you a service.”
Passengers on previous boats were identified as Mexican and Guatemalan nationals. There's no word on where this latest group came from. Melissa Mae KPBS News.

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It’s election time in Mexico, and Baja California will soon get a new governor. KPBS reporter Tania Thorne tells us about some of the candidates and how this election impacts San Diego.

Thousands of offices are at stake in Mexico’s upcoming election. Almost half of the country will elect new governors.
Christian Dunn, a repre sentative for the Morena party, says June 6th will be a historic day for Mexican citizens to go to the polls.
CHRISTIAN DUNN/MORENA PARTY REPRESENTATIVE
“This is the largest election in the history of Mexico because it's a concurrent election. Before, local elections were held one year and federal elections the next. For the first time, federal and local elections have been combined.”
In Baja California, 7 candidates are running for governor. Three of them are women.
Rafael Fernandez De Castro, the director of US-Mexican Studies at UC San Diego, says 3 candidates are currently leading the polls.
RAFAEL FERNANDEZ DE CASTRO/UC San Diego US-MEXICAN STUDIES DIR.
“The one who is ahead in the polls is Maria del Pilar, which is the candidate of Morena, the party in power. She’s currently the mayor of Mexicali.”
Pilar has been advocating for free drug rehabilitation, increased salaries for police forces, and keeping an “eye” on crime by setting up 10,000 security cameras.
Following Pilar in the polls is PES candidate Jorge Hank Rhon, who owns the Tijuana soccer team, los Xolos de Tijuana, as well as the largest sports betting company in Mexico, Grupo Caliente.
RAFAEL FERNANDEZ DE CASTRO/UCSD US-MEXICAN STUDIES DIR.
“The party known as PES, sort of a religious affiliated party, is Jorge Hank Rhon, who is a very controversial figure in Tijuana, in the entire of Mexico.
Hank Rhon has been rumored to be a suspect in a variety of money laundering investigations.
His campaign message has been about providing security, education, and development. F ernandez de Castro says Hank Rhon may also be taking votes from another top three candidate.
RAFAEL FERNANDEZ DE CASTRO/UCSD US-MEXICAN STUDIES DIR.
“People say he’s basically dividing and limiting the chances of the coalition between PAN and PRI who have Guadalupe Jones, a former Miss Universe.”
Originally from Mexicali, Guadalupe “Lupita” Jones doesn’t have much political experience, but says this is to her advantage as she says she is a true “citizen candidate.”
She says she wants to create a “model” state for Baja California by creating a transparent government, stopping violence against women, and connecting Baja California with the rest of the world.
Fernandez De Castro says Baja California could well be on its way to have the first woman governor…. but voters first need to go out and vote.
RAFAEL FERNANDEZ DE CASTRO/UCSD US-MEXICAN STUDIES DIR.
“Unfortunately, Baja California has a much lower turnout freight of voters than in other states .”
Fernandez De Castro says in the last governor election only 29% of Baja Californians voted.
In comparison, 64% of California voters participated in the 20-18 gubernatorial election.
CHRISTIAN DUNN/MORENA PARTY REPRESENTATIVE
“In this election, our biggest rivals aren’t the competing parties. It’s getting people to go out and vote and gaining their trust.”
We asked Mexican citizens at the San Ysidro border if they were participating in the upcoming elections and everyone shared similar sentiments as Brian Contreras.
BRIAN CONTRERAS/ MEXICAN CITIZEN
“I don’t plan on voting. Every time a new government takes office everything stays the same. We don't see the change.
Contreras works at an Amazon facility in Chula Vista and lives in Tijuana.
Fernandez De Castro says this election will have an impact on San Diego.
there's a very important integration happening here. Not only the economy, its tourism, its social, there’s a lot of family ties,
He says the connection between the U.S. and Mexico hasn’t been taken advantage of due to poor government.
But this election could shift that.
“What are the personalities who will ensure that Baja California gets a house in order and profits and takes advantage of being next door to California, the single richest state in the U.S.”
The elections will take place on Sunday June 6th. The candidate with the most votes will become governor of Baja California on November 1st.
TT KPBS News.

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And before I let you go, we have Julia Dixon-Evans here with her top picks for local arts this weekend...Here’s Julia.

Weekend preview: 3:00

That’s it for the podcast today. Be sure to catch KPBS Midday Edition At Noon on KPBS radio, or check out the Midday podcast. You can also watch KPBS Evening Edition at 5 O’clock on KPBS Television, and as always you can find more San Diego news online at KPBS dot org. I’m Annica Colbert. Thanks for listening and have a great day.

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San Diego News Now

San Diego news; when you want it, where you want it. Get local stories on politics, education, health, environment, the border and more. New episodes are ready weekday mornings. Hosted by Anica Colbert and produced by KPBS, San Diego and the Imperial County's NPR and PBS station.