Next Glass Works with Safe Bars for Fest Training
As Next Glass returns to hosting in-person beer festivals around the world, our all-women events team is continually reviewing our process as part of our commitment to providing the best experience to all festival attendees. In 2021, we introduced an updated Festival Code of Conduct governing all Next Glass festivals, and we made further updates to that Code following feedback from the industry and community. We expect that our Code of Conduct and other processes will continue to evolve as we produce more festivals in 2022.
But we also recognize that having a code of conduct is only one piece of the puzzle. In an effort to contribute further to a truly safe and inclusive environment, the festival and marketing team recently completed bystander and de-escalation training administered by Safe Bars.
Founded in 2013, Safe Bars is a Washington, D.C. based nonprofit, whose mission is to prevent sexual harassment and assault in nightlife by teaching active bystander skills. Safe Bar brings together decades of work against and research on gender-based violence with the knowledge of industry professionals. In 2021 alone, they provided 40+ brewery training sessions, part of their ultimate goal of bringing real change to the industry.
The Next Glass team participated in all three available training opportunities: active bystander, de-escalation skills, and empowerment and self-defense. Next Glass’s goal in participating in these trainings is to educate, empower and equip our team to effectively assess situations and determine the best course of action to prevent and/or mitigate potentially dangerous situations that could lead to sexual harassment and assault. “We take the safety of our festival attendees very seriously,” said Talia Spera, Vice President, Festivals and Live Events. “We felt that providing additional training to the team could play an important role in our producing a safe and inclusive event and were very happy to work with Safe Bars on a customized training experience.”
Safe Bars promised that the training delivered would be “tailored to the life situations and needs of the participants, survivor-centered, trauma-informed, evidence-based, and experiential and participatory.”
And they more than delivered on that promise. Each session was interactive and tailored to suit our specific needs as festival producers. Our instructors brought extensive experience to the training, and I was deeply impressed by how truly practical it was.
Across our team we have decades of experience in producing live events. In my experience, when potentially dangerous situations arise, there is often little time to think through a response. Being prepared with a course of action ahead of time can help the team act with confidence and decisiveness in difficult situations, which are key to maintaining safe environments. I personally feel even better prepared, having gone through role play with real life situations, to be an active force for good at our next festival, the Fifth Annual Beers With(out) Beards, to be held in April in Portland, ME. The fifth annual Beers With(out) Beards takes pride in representing women and femme-identifying folks in the beer industry.
In 2018, Grace Weitz, Managing Editor, conceptualized the first Beers With(out) Beards as part of her graduate school thesis capstone project at NYU. Over the past four years, this celebration of women in beer has grown to attract thousands of attendees and showcase over sixty women-led breweries.
Grace started BW(O)B to create a space where everyone felt welcome to show up, taste amazing beers, and cultivate conversations around how to break through barriers. Creating safe spaces requires a good plan.
“I found the Safe Bars training invaluable. Our workshop leaders showed us specific skills we could use in any situation to be an impactful and active bystander,” said Grace. “As someone who considers themselves more introverted, I find certain social situations very stressful. In the past, I've doubted I had the tools to step in and change the discourse. But after taking part in Safe Bars training, I learned simple strategies that even I can deploy to make a difference. Any organization, brewery, bar, or restaurant dedicated to creating more inclusive and safer spaces should consider Safe Bars.”
The addition of Safe Bars training complements Next Glass activation of #NotMe, a digital, resolution-seeking reporting platform for those who’ve experienced or witnessed racism, harassment or any type of discrimination or misconduct. Along with the code of conduct, signage throughout the festival provides visibility into this tool as an important resource for festival participants.
“As an experienced live events executive who has received formal training in emergency planning, active shooter, and sexual harassment, I am keenly aware of the need to be prepared,” said Talia. “Safe Bars training was a very unique and effective solution for me. It not only reinforced some of these same tools, it also equipped me with more practical measures to mitigate and manage misconduct, harassment and discrimination.”
In an effort to share the techniques and best practices we learned during our sessions, Next Glass and Safe Bars have partnered to deliver a specially designed training program to teams from our participating brewers who will be serving at the festival. The training will be provided on-site in Portland on April 8th, and we expect a very good turnout.
We look forward to producing our first live festival of 2022 in the coming weeks, raising a glass to celebrate women and femme-identifying folks in the beer industry. Throughout 2022 we’ll continue to work with others in the industry and our community to productively explore ways to put our values into action both in our day-to-day work and in the festivals and events we produce.