Embracing LGBTQ Culture in the Bar and Restaurant Industry
“LGBTQ bars have traditionally been used as more than just a place to get a drink,” said Scott Craig, co-owner of Akbar in Silver Lake in an LA Times interview. “They are a gathering place, community hubs, safe spaces in a predominantly heterosexual culture, a place we can plant a flag and claim as our own. The loss of these spaces [is] devastating to the queer community.”
June is pride month, and many hospitality brands are celebrating the LGBTQ community in various ways. Inclusivity, acceptance, community, remembrance, and celebration are a few of the important messages to focus on in the 30 days of June. With people leaning toward socially conscious brands, many restaurants and bars have integrated such tenets into their overall marketing initiatives. And while it is encouraging to see restaurateurs show support, it’s even more important for businesses to show they continue to nurture this sense of inclusivity all year-round. That is why Evergreen has made a donation to The Trevor Project in the names and memories of our LGBTQ team members, and family & friends.
Numerous food & beverage companies have integrated LGBTQ inclusivity into the core of their businesses; we wanted to highlight a few of our favorites:
- The Lesbian Bar Project, a campaign created by Erica Rose and Elina Street, to “celebrate, support, and preserve the remaining lesbian bars in the US” launched in October 2020 with a PSA video narrated by Lea DeLaria. It announced a 30-day fundraising campaign to support what were thought to be the last 15 lesbian bars left in the country, many of which were financially threatened by COVID-19. A second phase rolled out this month in honor of Pride Month.
- The Bitter Queens is an LGBTQ-owned, small-production, San Francisco based bitters business. They’re raising the bar through the creation of unique, handcrafted bitters and cocktail accoutrements. What started as a spirited hobby amongst a duo of cocktail enthusiasts quickly evolved into a passionate business endeavor. It became a quest of crafting unique bitters flavors of superb quality destined for cocktail dens, home bartenders, and imaginative chefs.
- New England’s only LGBTQ-owned spirit brand, Rhode Island Spirits, is also changing the spirit landscape. The woman-owned business, run by married couple Cathy Plourde and Kara Larson, supports LGBTQ nonprofits and political candidates. They also make sure to work with other like-minded businesses whenever they can. Unlike big brands that place a rainbow on their products during 30 days out 365, the team at Rhode Island Spirits are out and proud. They live their values, lead with their authentic selves, and contribute to their community whenever we can.
- The Queer Brewing Project was founded with a similar focus of providing visibility for LGBTQ people in and around beer. They sought to build community, advocate for LGBTQ rights, and raise money for vital LGBTQ charities. Led by writer, photographer, and ceramicist Lily Wait, the project has brewed over 30 beers in five different countries and has raised thousands of dollars for critical charities. Lily has even been dubbed an “LGBTQ icon.”
- Brooklyn Brewery in Brooklyn, NY, created a beer with the sole intent of giving back to the LGBTQ community. The Stonewall Inn IPA is an unapologetic and refreshing IPA to reminds us of where we’ve been and celebrates where we’re going. The Stonewall Inn has been a beacon for the global LGBTQ Pride movement since the famous Stonewall Uprising in 1969. Users can use the beer finder to find nearby locations that carry it. Brooklyn Brewery is also very proud to partner with The Stonewall Inn Gives Back Initiative (SIGBI) and to help make the world a more loving place, one beer at a time. Through awareness campaigns, educational programming, and fundraising, SIGBI supports grassroots organizations and communities across the country.
- Samuel Adams is a supporter of the LGBTQ community. They joined forces with their friends at New Belgium Brewing to co-brew Love Conquers Ale. This limited-edition beer celebrates love, inclusivity, and allyship. Bright fruit notes of blackberry and lime make this the perfect brew to celebrate love. During the month of June, New Belgium will donate 100% of the purchase for every can of Love Conquers Ale sold to GLAAD.
For additional resources on supporting the LGBTQ community, The Trevor Project is the leading national organization providing crisis intervention and suicide prevention services to LGBTQ people under 25. In addition to 24/7 support for young people in crisis, The Trevor Project offers a variety of online resources and education. There is also an events hub and overview of opportunities to get involved.
It’s an amazing time to witness a rise of ongoing support, integration, and community-building among the LGBTQ community in the restaurant and bar space!