How Craft Brewers Celebrate Pride

Each year when June comes around with a smattering of rainbows from numerous companies and corporations, it’s easy to forget the basic heart of what Pride is – a celebration of love and a reminder of the basic rights hard-won by the LGBTQ+ community. Today we’re talking Deb Loch of Urban Growler Brewing Co, and Jessica & Erika Jones of Giant Jones Brewing, two LGBTQ+ breweries where Pride isn’t a once-a-year party, but an everyday celebration.

-What was your brewery’s first Pride celebration?

Deb Loch of Urban Growler Brewing Co. – We were a brewery in planning, and the Pride Committee let us set up a table to sell T-shirts and talk about our vision for the brewery. We had no tent, just a table, under the blazing sun. We told our story to anyone that would stop by. That was in 2013.  People were very interested and excited and helped us gain momentum. That was critical for Jill and I to know that this crazy idea could work. We opened in July 2014.

Photo Credit Urban Growler Website: Master Brewer Deb Loch and co-head honcho Jill Pavlak of Urban Growler Brewing Co. 

Jessica & Erika Jones of Giant Jones Brewing – We’re a little brewery run entirely by a trans woman and a queer woman; our opening day in June 2018 was a Pride celebration just as every other day! When you come to Giant Jones, a queer or trans woman will serve you an organic beer made by a trans woman. Supporting LGBTQ+ people and spaces that are safe for them are the essentials of Pride!

Photo Credit to Focal Flame Photography: Jessica & Erika Jones of Giant Jones Brewing

-What does it mean for you to celebrate Pride?

Deb Loch of Urban Growler Brewing Co. – Pride is a time to celebrate how far we’ve come.  And yes, there is still a lot of work to be done, especially for our BIPOC and transgender community. It seemed like back in the day, Pride was just for gay people, now it seems like a community celebration.  I love how so many people are supportive of us. 10 years ago, you probably would not have been asking me to comment of the blog.  I love how things have changed – It’s really cool.

Jessica & Erika Jones of Giant Jones Brewing – It’s about the pride of being a publicly visible trans woman in my community. I spent years of depression in the closet, largely because there were not visible examples of trans people to look towards and realize it was actually possible to be myself. So, Pride is about being in the public eye for others to see. It’s about feeling safe in my neighborhood, giving me the mundane opportunities to take a walk or get groceries. It’s about the continual process of trying to claim and build a sense of self-worth after decades of not being myself. It’s about knowing there are other, out or closeted, trans people that are inspired by our little brewery. Pride is the chance to be and love myself while working to make my community a better place.

-Any plans for this year’s Pride celebration?

Deb Loch of Urban Growler Brewing Co. – We’ll be at Beer Dabbler beer festival at Pride.  We’re making a beer honoring Jan Malcolm, commissioner for the Minnesota Department of Health.  We’re going to name the beer “Dazzle me with Science”.  We’ll also be having a food and beer special at the taproom that weekend.

Photo Credit MPR Hop Notes: Deb Lock & Jill Pavlak at Urban Growler Brewing Co. 

Jessica & Erika Jones of Giant Jones Brewing – We are excited about our June 2021 plans. We are reopening our tasting room for the first time in sixteen month as the Madison area crosses the 70% vaccinated mark. Moreover, our reopening event is the release of another batch of Black Is Beautiful on Juneteenth with proceeds going to Freedom Inc to support their work towards Black & Southeast Asian liberation and Gender & Queer justice. This is our idea of a great Pride event!

Photo Credit Giant Jones Brewing Website: “Black is Beautiful” Beer at Giant Jones Brewing

-How do you create a safe, inclusive environment in your brewery?

Deb Loch of Urban Growler Brewing Co. – We provide a safe and inclusive community for all by being out and open and having a staff that gets behind our mission to bring people together through beer.  We try to hire for fit to our mission.  We have a variety of people and that embodies the richness of diversity.   All are welcome.  No disrespect is tolerated towards anyone.

Jessica & Erika Jones of Giant Jones Brewing –

  • We have a well-lit, open space, without hidden corners or hallways.
    • Our toilet rooms are undesignated single use rooms.
    • Our social media is filled with images of two queer women running a brewery.
    • We give 3% of our gross revenue from direct sales to Freedom Inc year-round in addition to proceeds from Black Is Beautiful.

To learn more about what’s brewing at Urban Growler and Giant Jones, click the links on their respective names. Don’t forget to get your tickets to the Pride Beer Dabbler if you’re in the Minneapolis area!

Happy brewing, and happy Pride!

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