Podcast People: Crack The Ceiling

Did you know the term for group of white men is a podcast? 

It's a fairly well known joke (if you're very online) that reflects the fact that so many podcasts, whether based around comedy, culture or booze, tend to look and sound a certain way. Get a group of guys, get them talking on a topic – but not too much, since banter and in-jokes are key – and there you have it: a podcast that'll soon have you raking in the Joe Rogan dollars.

With the technology available, podcasting is a people's medium, too, and a lack of expertise hasn't ever stopped blokes from waxing lyrical on any given topic. 

Aside from the banter, none of the above is true for Crack The Ceiling, a podcast by Lindsy Greig and Tif Waldron which they launched just ahead of Good Beer Week in May. Though they both hail from America, the pair started the beer podcast with a wealth of local industry knowledge behind them: Lindsy's worked in the beer world in New Orleans, New Zealand and Australia, while Tif's roles have included working with Good Beer Week, running her own bar in Fitzroy, work in marketing with multiple breweries, and these days she's the president of Australia's chapter of the Pink Boots Society too.

From early last year, you may have heard Lindsy and Tif's voices on a few of their own episodes of the Ale of a Time podcast, but 2020's mishaps and lockdowns saw them push pause for much of the year and instead saw them working to develop their own show, with its own name, feel and focus. Behind the scenes, Ale of a Time's Luke Robertson continues to provide the technical support, equipment and editing, making Crack The Ceiling something of a sibling or spin-off from his and Dave Ellis' long-running show.  

With a stated aim to put conversations that often take place behind the scenes of the male-dominated beer industry front-and-centre, Crack The Ceiling's short history has already seen them discuss the gender gap in industry qualifications, the impact of language on gender roles, and the local and global reckoning against sexism in the beer industry.

Also among their aims is a desire to shine a spotlight on people who work behind the scenes to make the industry what it is but are less likely to be the focus of any attention. So, expect to hear less from business owners and more from employers, with this week's episode featuring an all-encompassing chat with Cherry Noble, the beer buyer at Blackhearts & Sparrows.

Tying it all together is their blind tasting segment at the end of each episode, where guests bring beers for Lindsy and Tif to pick apart, categorise and attempt to identify.  

It all makes for a podcast that, in 2021, is essential listening for anyone in the beer industry or with a passing interest in it, so we asked Lindsy and Tif to join us as part of our long-running Podcast People series. 


Crack The Ceiling

Ale of a Time & Crack The Ceiling live at The Catfish during Good Beer Week. Photo by Jake Van Zetten.

 

Who are the voices on your podcast?

Lindsy Greig and Tif Waldron (@talkbeerdytome and @beergirlbites on socials). Lindsy is a brewer at Stomping Ground and Tif works in marketing with Mighty Craft – both are Certified Cicerones and have a combined 20 years in the industry in just about every role. 


What's the story behind the name? 

It took us a whole year to come up with a name! 

It’s a reference to our favourite sound (cracking open a can) and also breaking through the glass ceiling. Crack The Ceiling is really a way for us to bring the intersection of craft beer, which we love, and all of the other conversations we’ve been having about feminism, diversity and inequality behind the scenes to a place where others can hear what needs to be spoken about.


How would you describe the style of the show?

We wanted to showcase the voices of the people who drive the industry – not necessarily the head brewers and owners of breweries – but of the people that work hard behind the scenes. Through this, we’re able to have more conversations about the beer industry that might not otherwise have been shared publicly. Things like working as a woman in a male-dominated industry, soft roles, masculine vocabulary, and touching on sexual harassment issues and overall diversity. 

Our schtick has always been our blind tasting segment – it’s a fun way to always talk about beer, but also to kind of show off all of the sensory skills we’ve picked up over the years.


Why did you start podcasting about beer?

Lindsy and Tif at Fixation in Collingwood.

Well, it’s probably more appropriate to ask why we started podcasting, since we both came from the beer industry! 

First of all, we couldn’t have started a podcast without Luke Robertson and the Ale of a Time network. We had been talking about doing a podcast, and Luke was keen to support some others who wanted to start out. 

It really did take us the whole year off during COVID last year to solidify what makes Crack The Ceiling different from other podcasts, but I really like the direction it’s going now. We had been talking about all of these topics among our friends, behind the scenes, and mostly just between women. The feedback on the podcast – even in a time without commutes! – has been really great so far.


Are you an authority or an inquisitor?

We are a bit of both; due to our diverse experience within the industry and our Cicerone qualifications, there are certain things we are authorities on. But that doesn’t mean we aren’t inquisitors as well – we hope to have a variety of guests from different spaces within the industry so, naturally, that is us playing the role of inquisitors. 


How do you choose your guests? 

Our goal is to highlight the humans who drive the industry but aren’t always in the spotlight. So we choose to speak with those who work behind the scenes and whose voices you don’t normally hear. It was so great to launch CtC before Good Beer Week, as we were approached by some awesome people during the week who want to be a part of what we’re doing. 

The beer industry is made up of so many passionate humans who work behind the scenes and don’t often get the recognition they deserve. If you want to hear a brewery owner or head brewer discuss their journey, their beer, their brand, then there are a million plus podcasts out there where you can hear those voices. We want to spotlight the ones that you don’t hear from as much, who typically have just as much, if not more, knowledge and passion about the industry. 


Does much preparation take place or is it a case of press record and see what happens?

A bit of both! We usually have some questions prepared, and a topic we’d like to discuss with every guest… but we’re learning to roll with it a little more.

We would be lying if we said we didn’t have to re-record a podcast once because we probably rolled with it too much and ended up wayyyyyyyy off topic. But we are learning! Every episode we have recorded we listen back to and learn from. 


What's the best question you've ever asked a guest?

“Do you think beer can save the world?”


And the best answer anyone's ever given?

Well, that’s really hard! 

 

Tif and Lindsy with Chelsea Bright; a brewer at Stone & Wood who's on a quest to visit every brewery in Australia – which you can read about here

And who would be your dream guest?

Eugenia Brown, Brienne Allan, Dr Asa Stone and Dr J Nikol Jackson-Beckham.


Do you drink while recording? And what's the ideal beer to have while in action?

We drink whatever we have on hand, and it depends where we are at. Generally, it’s going to be something pretty damn fresh (#freshisbest) or something really special. 


For those of a technical bent, what's your ideal beer to have while in action?

Our technical setup? Well, Luke loans us his gear, which is a couple of microphones and a little recorder, and we just run with it! 

We are hoping to invest in some legit gear soon and learn the editing aspect ourselves, but we wanted to make sure that we run with and are committed to the podcast first.


Where can people find your podcast? 

Online here and @cracktheceilingpodcast on Insta!


You can take a look at other entries in our Podcast People series here.

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