How Heady Topper is brewing social change: The Alchemist’s Jen Kimmich

Heady Topper, the legendary and elusive IPA from The Alchemist named one of the top 100 beers in the world, has spawned a cult following — and social change. Alchemist co-founder Jen Kimmich is an influential political activist who serves on the boards of the Vermont Public Interest Group, Vermont Council on Rural Development, Main Street Alliance, and Vermont Businesses for Social Responsibility, among other organizations. She has been at the center of efforts to pass paid family leave, reduce climate change, and raise the minimum wage. She discusses her commitment to good business and good politics, the work of the charitable Alchemist Foundation and its college scholarship fund for local high school students, and why she and her husband, Alchemist co-founder John Kimmich, insist on brewing local and staying small. (March 28, 2018 broadcast)

Jen Kimmich, co-founder, The Alchemist

Will paid family leave become law in Vermont?

Paid family leave for Vermont employees moved a step closer to reality when the Vermont House of Representatives passed legislation for it on May 3, 2017. What form will the coverage take, and what will it take for paid family leave to become law? (May 3, 2017 broadcast)

Jen Kimmich, co-owner, The Alchemist

Lindsay DesLauriers, state director, Main Street Alliance

Paid Sick Leave: Has its time come?

More than 57,000 working Vermonters lack any kind of paid time off. In 2015, a paid sick leave bill passed the Vermont House but failed in the Senate. The Healthy Workplaces Bill currently in the Vt. Legislature would enable many Vermonters to be eligible for paid sick days. Gov. Peter Shumlin endorsed the call for paid sick leave in his 2016 State of the State address. To discuss paid sick leave:

Jen Kimmich, co-owner, The Alchemist, member VBSR Policy Committee

Paul Millman, president, Chroma Technology

Livable jobs, 2-4-15

What is a livable wage in Vt?

First, let’s look at what isn’t livable: The federal minimum wage is $7.25 an hour. A person working full-time with two children at the current $7.25 minimum earns $14,500 annually, which is below the federal poverty line. In Vermont, the minimum wage is $9.15 an hour, and is scheduled to rise to $10.50 over the next 3 years. So a full time minimum wage earner in Vt makes about $18,000 per year, which is still below the federal poverty line.

A recent Vermont legislative report put the livable wage in Vermont for a single person living in shared housing at $13.48 an hour, rising to $32.41 for a single wage earner in a household with two adults and two children. Many small businesses insist they can’t pay such high wages.

Four Vermonters talk about their vision of “livable jobs” in Vermont:

Jen Kimmich, the co-owner of The Alchemist in Waterbury

Liz Holtz, the founder and CEO of Liz Lovely in Waitsfield

Russ Bennett, the owner of NorthLand Design & Construction in Waitsfield, and chairman of VBSR Policy Committee

Ellen Kahler, the executive director of the Vermont Sustainable Jobs Fund