Miss Gabe Barry covers the map as our Education Manager of Europe, spreading the word of good beer and far and wide. If you’ve been to most of our better parties in the past few years, then you’re already familiar with her infectious energy, deep knowledge, and commitment to beer as a tool for social change. Ahead of her lecture at The Brewers Congress on November 28, we caught up with Miss Gabe for the latest from her global classroom.
After many years as part of the Brooklyn Brewery team based in Williamsburg, this year I stepped into a new role as Education Manager of Europe- a transition that involved me relocating my life Paris, France. This is probably the biggest year of change for me since I started working in the craft beer industry in upstate New York in 2008. That was my beer beginning— I’d just spent a few years in New Orleans, Louisiana after Hurricane Katrina as a community organizer and I was re-evaluating my relationship to what making change looks like and how it was best activated.
As I dived into serving handcrafted ales & lagers in a little brewpub in my hometown, I started to see that the change I was striving to be a part of in the world was just as likely to begin in a bar as in the social justice communities I had been a part of for years. I began to see that craft beer was in many ways a radical stimulus for visions we had of change in the world. Sharing artful pints with friends often led to workshopping strategy and tactile process of how we’d make that change a reality. With the growth our craft beer industry has endured over the recent years, its relationship to the community is one of the only things that stays a constant: where there is beer, there are people. Where there are people, there is a community.
These days I’m a professional beer educator, but from that journey I have joyful memories of learning the basics. Beer ingredients, process and the origin stories; the mythology of Ninkasi and survival, the ties to religion and spirituality; and of course the societal development of the Industrial Revolution, when we see beer weave itself into the modernization of the world with riveting stories to back it up. From Burton on Trent birthing IPA and Cologne giving us Kölsch all the way to Ken Grossman making Sierra Nevada Pale Ale in 1981 or Garrett Oliver writing The Brewmaster’s Table in 2003, beer is rooted in moments where changes happens, and as a result beer has a tendency to also change us. I think about those crucial building block stories as it has become more than just a liquid we gather around— it has become a staple of what brings people together and gives them a platform to make their voices heard.
In the spirit of beer as a tool for social change, on November 28th in London I’ll be giving a talk at The Brewers Congress on “Craft & the Cultural Context of Community.” This is a lecture that I feel so many people have been involved in developing over the past 12 years in countless bars around the world. Hope to see some of you in London, and remember: change is not a light switch but a process we are all a part of.