A BASINGSTOKE business is responding to issues of harassment and abuse in the beer industry with a new charity initiative.

Twisted Crow Beer & Bottle Shop on Mortimer Lane is a craft beer off license which has decided that ensuring that its premises are an inclusive and welcoming space is not enough in light of issues of “boys club mentality” in the industry.

Owner Mat Bedford told the Gazette that he became increasingly aware in recent months of a need to do more to be an ally and advocate to those who all too often feel excluded, after seeing stories on social media from women, people of colour and members of the LGBTQ+ community.

He said: “I think like many people I had gotten a bit complacent in thinking that we had made such progress towards equality in the last 20 or so years, maybe because over the years I have associated more with like-minded people.

“However, reading the reports on social media really made me question whether we had made any progress at all. The stories ranged from misogynistic comments, to harassment and just straight up sexual assault. The accounts from predominantly women, but also POC and members of the LGBTQ+ community of what they had endured working in an industry that I cared deeply about brought me up short.

“I think, because of my own belief in equality, I had begun to take it as something that doesn't need saying. I always knew when starting my own business I wanted it to be an inclusive and welcoming space to all. However reading those accounts made me realise that this is still something that very much needs saying.”

The shop is donating 100 per cent of its profits from all Queer Brewing Project beers sold in June and July to charity, with the funds being split between Women On Tap, as well as local LGBTQ+ support initiatives.

The Queer Brewing Project was founded by Lily Waite to try and use beer as a means of raising the visibility of the LGBTQ+ community in what has been a space they often felt excluded from, and donates a portion of the companies profits to charities to further this aim.

Women On Tap is an organisation that promotes women in beer and hosts events to make sure that women's voices are heard and respected within the trade.

Twisted Crow Beer stocks over 200 craft beers, with approximately a quarter of them sourced from breweries within 30 miles of Basingstoke.