Hopportunity Awaits is a brew on a mission to help highlight careers in craft beer, and inspire more of us to hold the door for the unique talent among us, creating more pathways for diversity, in every sense, across every role. Partial proceeds will benefit Craft x EDU as we work together to launch an educational grant for emerging professionals in craft beer.
On the cans, you will meet 10 industry professionals who are ready to tell their remarkable stories of how they got their start and paved their own path in craft, rules be damned. Without further ado…
Meet Hannah Kiem, a NYC actor spotlighting the stories of women in beer on her podcast, “Brews with Broads.”
How did you discover the world of craft beer, or what inspired you to join?
Like most actors, after graduation I started working in hospitality as a flexible way to support myself between auditions and gigs. I landed at a restaurant with a robust craft beer program, which initially didn’t interest me all that much. But as I learned more about what set each beer apart from the next, I began to crave more knowledge. Not just about the technical, scientific aspects, but about the stories behind each individual beer, style, or brewery. I owe a huge debt of gratitude to my manager at the time, Kate Amos, for encouraging my love of beer and helping me lay a foundation of knowledge that I still draw from today.
The more I fell in love with beer, the more I felt motivated to find my place in it. Upon first glance, I was discouraged by how few women I saw across all roles in the industry. But as I got to know more of the women in my own NYC beer community, I was so lit up by each of their individual journeys and the incredible wisdom they had to share. I knew I had to create a platform to share the stories of women across the craft beer world to inspire people like me who were so thirsty for role models in our industry. Creating a podcast is how I wanted to do that.
So how did Brews with Broads come to be?
I have been an avid podcast listener for years. Even back when I was in college in 2010 when there were like only two podcasts in existence. The only way I could get myself to the gym and run on the treadmill was to have a podcast in. So I’ve always been a fan of the medium and an avid consumer of them.
There were a lot of little micro lightbulb moments that lead me to landing on wanting to create a podcast. But the biggest one was the first year of “Beers Without Beards” in 2018 at The Well. (Which, R.I.P. The Well. They shut down.)
I went by myself–I didn’t really have any beer friends and no one to go with me. I just had this feeling like this is something that’s important and this is going to be important for my life and I need to go to this. (That makes it sound very witchy). But anyway, I think that was the biggest lightbulb of, “Wait a minute, I want to see myself in beer,” but I don’t really ‘see’ what that means.
Meeting all of these people at this festival devoted to women was like, ‘Wow, there are so many amazing people with unique stories. Why don’t I know about them?” Enter the ‘Brews With Broads’ podcast!
What do you love about the craft beer community? Where would you love to see it grow or improve?
I really do love the sense of community and camaraderie. Whether it’s in the taprooms and beer bars of New York City, or in my Instagram DMs, people are so supportive, generous with their time and words, and always ready to geek out and share knowledge. Spending hours planning and editing the podcast can feel really isolating, but hearing from people about how much fun they had listening to an episode or how inspired they were by something my guest said makes my heart soar.
Of course we have a long way to go to make craft beer a more accepting and welcoming place for People of Color, for the LGBTQIA+ community, for women… I would love to see breweries and individuals really walk the walk of allyship. Not just participate in an “initiative” beer or post on Instagram, but really put their words into action. Actually abide by that code of conduct you made. Call out the abusers in our industry and hold them accountable. Have the uncomfortable conversations about why someone might not feel welcomed in your space and seek to change that.
For my platform specifically, I’ve learned a lot over the past two years about the best ways I can be supportive of positive change in the industry. I’ve come to learn that there’s always a next step to push for. And [I’ve learned] the importance of intersectionality, especially within the space that I’m trying to occupy of elevating voices of women and non-binary people and gender-nonconforming people.
There’s farther to go with that, but then there’s also layering in cultural differences, race, and so many other things. That means for someone like me, speaking louder. And sometimes that means taking a seat and pushing forward the voices of other people. It’s a constant learning process that is really important to not take lightly.
What types of skills have helped you personally succeed in this industry?
I would say my sense of humor and my willingness to admit when I don’t know something have helped me the most! I love to make people laugh and I am never afraid to laugh at myself.
So whether it’s getting a grumpy bar guest on my side with a joke, accidentally spraying myself in the face while changing a keg, or putting a podcast guest at ease by making them laugh, a sense of humor comes in handy. And though I LOVE to be right, I learned quickly that admitting that I don’t know something and asking for clarification are way better for my own growth in the long run.
It’s also easy to underestimate how much creativity is involved in the process of making a podcast. For someone like me whose creativity has always manifested through performance, it’s been a really fun way to realize, “Oh, I have other forms of creativity.” It really stretches my creativity because talking into a mic and having the conversation is only 20% of the gig. There’s copywriting involved and there’s graphic design.
As silly as it sounds; listening skills. With acting, you have your lines memorized or you have your list of questions that you want to ask. But I’ve come to realize that really being present in the moment with someone is far more important. Often I’ll have my list of questions and someone will share something I had no idea about or be vulnerable and open up. It’s what I learned in my acting training of “empathy” and “openness.”Listening can help so much to go beyond the surface and get to a more moving story.
If you were interviewing yourself, what is a question you would ask?
I have a few set questions that I often ask my guests. One that I love and have gotten a lot of thoughtful answers to is, “What would you tell your five-years-ago self and your five-years-from-now self?” I think I would ask myself that because with all of these creative pursuits, it’s easy to get bogged down in the day-to-day and the rejection.
Whether that’s not getting a part or having someone totally ghost you when you really want to interview them, it’s so easy to get bogged down in that. By asking that question, it can offer perspective for yourself which is huge. And people are really, really generous. I’m learning a lot, and this something I struggle with in my own negative self-talk. The people I’m reaching out to are really busy. Not everyone has the time to participate in everything. So I shouldn’t take it personally if I get turned down or ghosted after asking for an interview.
In that same regard, when my guests agree to be on the show, I always try to be super on top of my stuff and on time because people are giving me their time. While I think most people who talk to me like to have fun and we do have a great time on the show, I hope they get something out of it too. I’m just a person. I don’t make money from this podcast. They’re doing this for free with the hopes of inspiring others, so I try to be cognizant of everyone’s time.
Who in the craft beer industry do you admire? Do you have any favorite podcast guests?
Am I allowed to say everyone I’ve ever interviewed!? Every one of my guests has inspired me in different ways. Jen Blair certainly sticks out. I invited her on the podcast last year to talk about beer sensory training. Her depth of knowledge and the incredibly unique way she talks about tasting beer blew me away. During our chat she made a point that I return to constantly:
As women we often wait until we’ve checked every box and feel perfectly qualified to apply for a job or pursue an opportunity. When we do this, we count ourselves out in a way that men simply don’t do! So go for the thing, take the leap!
She is such a kind and generous person, and such an amazing advocate for change in our industry. Talk about putting your money where your mouth is- Jen does THAT.
I also really enjoyed sitting down with Tara Hankinson & LeAnn Darland, the Co-Founders of TALEA Beer Co. It was my first podcast for Brews With Broads that we did in front of a live audience. I know both of them very well as I work there and they are my bosses! I’ve done a few one-on-ones with other guests where I’d invite them over. But there’s nothing quite like being in front of a live audience to look up to see my friends and family, but also some strangers in there too. It’s thrilling and helped me see how seamlessly my acting career could merge with my passion for this podcast.
The rush from being surrounded by an audience is extra invigorating when the process is often isolating at times. Especially if you’re talking into your microphone and editing all from a coat closet (great acoustics!) in a NYC apartment. But even when isolated in a closet, the interview process is always special. You can go into it drained and always come out beaming. People let me into their lives, they share their stories, and it is such an honor.
What is the most memorable brew you’ve ever had?
Oh gosh that’s so hard! It has to be the Schlenkerla Rauchbier, which is one of my favorites now. I remember tasting it for the first time. It was in a beer education class taught by Kate Amos for Union Square Hospitality Group (where I was working at the time) and my mind was blown. I could not wrap my brain around this smokey, umami, soy sauce tasting beer that I was drinking. It was like nothing I had ever tasted before. I was hooked.
Is there anyone you haven’t gotten to interview yet that you would like to?
Hands down, Celeste Beatty from Harlem Brewing. That would be a dream. Also, Lily Waite out of the UK who started Queer Brewing Project.
Are there any challenges you’ve faced while creating this podcast?
Oh, all the time. It’s hard not to let negative self-talk and impostor syndrome get to me because it’s a lot of hard work. Apart from the interview, which is like 90 minutes of connection and affirmation, the rest is very isolating from planning to editing. You have to stop and remind yourself during the hard parts of the process why you love it. And you have to sit down with yourself to ask, “What do I love about being an actor that I can translate into this?” or whatever your skill set may be. For me, it’s sharing stories and being there in front of people. It’s feeling their energy and communing with an audience.
Sometimes topics can be tough. Navigating those and knowing how to handle them as a host has also been a learning experience. Oftentimes, very personal topics arise. I’m not a journalist–I’m a girl with a BFA sitting in a coat closet talking into a microphone. But I am responsible, and I take the responsibility very seriously, that people are trusting me to help tell their stories. And my listeners are coming to me to be inspired and to learn, not to be triggered or upset.
As we hold others to codes of conduct, I am asking myself, “What does that look like for me and for the things that I’m trying to do to make this world a more diverse place when it comes to gender, identity, and beer? How do I conduct myself even with the best of intentions and make sure I accept responsibility and admit when I have made a mistake to be better at what I do.”
Any advice for those looking to break into beer with a set of talents similar to yours?
If an idea excites you, keep talking about it. The more people you tell what you want to do, the more people will be excited. Just do the next right thing and set a deadline.
Keep in Touch!
Say hi on social and follow @brewswithbroads on Instagram!
Click here to meet more of our talented rule-makers and read their remarkable stories. Once you hear what they have to say, you will realize that yes, you can brew it too.