“Tapping Into Culture” is a bi-weekly video series on Beer and Culture, presented by Sixpoint and VinePair. Check out more episodes in the series here.

In Episode 8 of “Tapping Into Culture,” host and VinePair senior editor Cat Wolinski sits down with Jen Blair, founder of Under the Jenfluence, and Karen Brownell, director of brewing operations at Artisanal Beer Ventures, to discuss breaking down barriers in the beer industry.

Education is a deterrent that discourages many people from entering the beer industry, particularly women and other minority groups. Yet Blair was a former attorney who loved beer, whereas Brownell is a trained chemical engineer brought up through Anheuser-Busch. Both attest that there is no “right” path into this industry, but instead many opportunities to find the right fit.

Blair explains how she is advocating for more women and women of color to enter beer judging through her free training for the Beer Judge Certification Program (BJCP) program. Yet Blair and Brownell believe it is imperative that more of these programs are visible. Further, the two discuss the value of obtaining beer certifications, specifically the Cicerone and BJCP certifications. Blair explains that a BJCP certification is second to none in training your palate whereas a Certified Cicerone is the shorthand to becoming an all-around beer professional.

Finally, Blair and Brownell understand that the male-dominated beer industry can be very intimidating. That should not discourage anyone, specifically women, to not ask for what they want. Listeners should be encouraged to take agency and be a self-advocate for their careers; that will only make this homogeneous industry more accessible.

To learn more about Sixpoint’s program “Beer is Culture,” visit sixpoint.com/beerisculture.

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