Editor’s letter: How we plan to make Imbibe more inclusive

Robyn Black

Robyn Black

20 July 2020

We’ve taken the time to look closely at how we act at Imbibe when it comes to diversity and are committing to making Imbibe a truly welcoming, diverse and inclusive community

By now you should have received your copy of Imbibe in the post – if not you can check out the digital edition online here.

We are all very proud of it. Given where we find ourselves, all of us at Imbibe felt that bringing out a regular issue of the magazine wouldn’t have been the right thing to do. And so the Community Edition was born.

Through our work on imbibe.com, and by evolving Imbibe Live into Imbibe Live Online earlier this month, we have tried to create spaces that bring all of us together even when we are apart. To celebrate the people, the businesses and the charities that have helped us all through these weird, weird weeks.

Because what has become apparent for all of us, is the importance of community. And what has become apparent to those working in hospitality is what an incredible community we are part of. Imbibe is proud, not only to be part of that, but proud to serve as something that can, and has, brought us all together. Something that is all-embracing and all-inclusive.

Except we haven’t always been.

As the Black Lives Matter movement rightly took centre stage, we took the cue to look at how we act at Imbibe when it comes to diversity. It became clear we have a lot more work to do.

Being inclusive was something that already informed a lot of our decisions – for example, I’m glad to report we didn’t need to make any changes to those we had asked to be part of our community cover on this edition. Our choices had already been mindful of BAME, LGBTQI+ and female representation. This was re-assuring but not good enough – we don’t have a single regular BAME writer on the roster for example, which is shameful, and where are the less able-bodied on our pages, or the voices from a wider range of nations?

So we are making a commitment to make sure we do better from now on. In our aim to create and foster a more representative and diverse community, we commit to:

  • Highlighting good industry practice around inclusivity and diversity where it exists, and helping others achieve the same
  • Creating a mentorship scheme for aspiring drinks writers from underrepresented groups
  • Promoting inclusivity and diversity across Imbibe and be transparent about how we are working to achieve this, including who we invite to be judges, speak at our events, and work on our magazine and website
  • Inviting and proactively obtaining feedback about our actions and progress on the above issues

This is the right thing to do. The more diverse the voices we hear, the more varied, interesting and thought-provoking our content will be and the better we can serve our community.

These are not token commitments, we will strive to make sure they inform all the decisions we make. We are determined to do better and we know this won’t happen without accountability and determination.

These pledges will help enable equal opportunity – not just representation – in these pages, on our website, across our social media channels, in our competitions, on our panels, and at our events. And that, of course, will make Imbibe a truly welcoming, diverse and, ultimately, inclusive community.

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