Meet San Diego influencer: craft beer’s Megan Stone
Name: Megan Stone
Follow if you like: Craft beer, advocacy, colorful photos
When North Park’s Megan Stone originally set up her Instagram account, @IsBeerACarb, she wanted to give her followers a behind-the-scenes look at the craft brewing. But over time, her account transformed into an online community that gives voice to marginalized people in the beer industry.
Stone’s passion for craft brewing began when she worked as a server at Birroteca, a craft beer and cocktail-focused restaurant in her native Baltimore. It was there that she was exposed to the craft of brewing beers.
In 2016, she made her way to Southern California, considered a mecca for craft beer, and found jobs at breweries like Mikkeler and Modern Times. She currently works as a media coordinator for Societe Brewing Co. in Kearny Mesa.
Stone noticed that as a gay woman in the typically male-dominated craft beer industry she was an anomaly, which is what attracted followers to her Instagram account. But as her following grew — she’s currently at 35.K — she started using her platform to speak out about diversity in brewing.
“It was an accident, how it first started, and then it shifted into what it is now,” Stone said. “I felt, as it grew and became this community, like there were things that I was passionate about and I was able to have this impact and this voice using this platform. I wanted to use my Instagram to encourage change within the industry for things that are important, like DEI.”
DEI means diversity, equity and inclusion and Stone is a noted DEI advocate — she fights for and encourages others to promote diversity within craft brewing. In 2020, in part because of her DEI activism, Stone was named the Craft Beer Marketing Awards’ Woman/Person of the Year.
An example of this advocacy happened just a few months ago.
In May, Brienne Allen (@RatMagnet on Instagram), a fellow female brewer and friend of Stone’s, asked her followers to send their personal stories about sexual harassment and abuse within the craft brewing industry. The story went viral with thousands of people, mostly women, blowing the whistle on abusive breweries and brewers. People named names, and Allen shared all of them to her Instagram stories.
In the ensuing media storm, Stone reached out to Allen to offer her support, be it emotional or financial. Stone relaunched a line of t-shirts that read, “Women Brew Too,” and vowed to donate 100% of the proceeds to either a legal fund for Allen, should she need it, or a charity of Allen’s choice (shirts are available here: isbeeracarb.threadless.com).
“People kept asking me if I was surprised,” Stone said. “Not at all. These were my experiences and my friends’ experiences, so I was not shocked.”
Stone added that she hopes the conversations and changes that this viral story sparked (including the CEO of San Diego’s Modern Times stepping down) remain.
“I hope that going forward, people don’t need to be reminded to do the right thing and how to do it,” she said. “(I hope) it becomes something that they are also passionate about and take the initiative to really enact changes and policies.”
In addition to continued activism and career in craft beer, Stone is currently working with friends to establish the Queer Beer Collective, a place where LGBTQ people in brewing and other beverage industries can feel welcome. She said the group will focus on meet-ups and fundraising, and she’s creating a worldwide map of queer-owned breweries and verified safe spaces for the LGBTQ community.
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