Saturday, 27 February 2010

Beer, the choice of women in comfortable shoes...............

This week The Ormskirk Baron kindly brought to my attention that  Black Sheep Brewery are hosting a Ladies Food and Beer evening as part of National Cask Ale Week. The idea of a ladies beer tasting event is a great one and one I'm fully behind, with so few women drinking beer anything that makes more try a beer is a great idea in my book but the poster they have pulled together to advertise it is quite simply, dreadful.

There are a lot of reasons that women don't drink beer but one of the biggest rejection factors is beer advertising. Historically we've come to expect juvenile humour, girls in bikinis and adverts that do one of two things when it comes to women, objectify them (this Heineken ad is possibly one of the most sexist ever) or, like this completely patronize them like this ad.

But this is a good activity, according to Pete Brown's Cask Report more women than ever are enjoying cask beer with  30% of women now claim to have tried  cask ale - up from 16% a year ago and the number of women who now claim to drink cask ale has doubled - but my worry is with this approach to the advertising it will turn off women who never drink beer. For me it perpetuates the myth that beer is the preserve of women in comfortable shoes and not a serious consideration for today's modern woman.

CAMRA are also planning a FemAle Day (see what they did there) as part of National Cask Ale Week and often use the oh so attractive image of a woman with a pint for a head in their Beer magazine - is this really going to appeal to a potential new generation of consumers???

The biggest challenge the beer category faces is attracting women under 35 because they think beer is an old fashioned, unstylish, blokey drink enjoyed by their dads and so are downing Pinot Grigio by the bucket load and if these two images are anything to go by we're not doing anything to convince them otherwise.
What we need to do is position beer as a stylish, credible drink alternative and break down the myth that it's only for fat, chav lesbians if we want to see serious growth in women drinking beer. The interest in cask ale is fantastic but the fact is that 60% of women still don't drink beer ever, so lets see more events like the Black Sheep Brewery tasting but lets see them advertised in a way that makes women want to go and makes them see beer as a great choice.



Barry M said...

My wife sat down beside me while I was reading the above, and just said "That's disgusting. There's no way I'd go to an even like that" when she saw the Black Sheep poster. I thought it was something from THe League of Gentlemen! She had a similar opinion of Mrs. Pinthead which she described as "stupid".

Kristy said...

Am with her, it's a shame because I suspect it will be a good night and a good way to get more women to try beers they never have before. But most women will be like your wife and I and would be so put off by the poster they'll not even give it a try

DrinkBritain said...

Good point well made - interesting those not in the know with sexist/outdated imagery or tactics just aint gonna work. But it's true that most of us wimmin have had less chance to try the stuff. I favour tactics such as at Hawkshead's Beer Hall in Staveley where you get a tasting trio - thirds of a pint of three of their beers. Done deal!