It's about the beer
Gina Miller and Bill Keeper
You might not have noticed the last time we went into a pub I was one of only three women in
the fairly crowded place. In fact in all my years involved with beer I've never been in a beer bar
or brewery where women were even close to half of the patrons. What the heck is wrong with
all the women out there? That's rhetorical Bill, so please just keep reading.
For decades now, brewers, men and, well, society, have labored under the misapprehension
that women do not like beer. This has translated into a media and marketing system that
presumes the same as well as generations of both men and women who also buy into this myth
posing as a fact. I not only know better, I'm living proof it is false.
I cannot deny that statistically speaking, women do tend to drink less beer than men. So, why
is that? Perhaps, it is because of how breweries and especially their marketers treat women.
Bill, I can see you thinking here we go again but listen a minute.
One reason for this is that most beer marketing is somewhat sexist in that the women are
hanging out with a guy just because he is drinking the right brand. I call that lazy marketing at
best and plain dumb at worst. Big brewing companies reveal their complete misunderstanding
of women when they try to brew a beer for "the ladies." as in the low carbs, tasteless swill you
can now find on many shelves. Their pitch to us is that such beer will keep us slim and
shapely which in turn will let us be more attractive to men. Baloney.
When I talk to women about beer the reason they sometimes give for not liking beer is that it
simply does not taste good. Well, that just does not make much sense, now, does it? After all,
if beer is so undrinkable, then why are breweries able to sell any of it.
I think you'll agree that prior to the craft beer renaissance, beer really did not taste very good.
In fact the fizzy, yellow stuff still defines what beer is for many people. Maybe that proves men
are more tolerant of bad beer. Perhaps it is because women are better tasters than men.
Sorry Bill, couldn't resist that one.
I for one will continue to preach the message that craft beer is the best beverage in the world
to everyone regardless of gender. Hopefully we'll soon see women embrace good beer in
larger numbers. On the downside, if too many women become craft drinkers I might find a line
at the restroom when I go to the pub. Then again the wait would be worth it for such a good
That's it from me, chug-a-lug, Bill.....see you next time!
Hello Gina -
I did notice that it's rare indeed to see males and females equally represented when we go out
on a beer adventure. And I agree with you that commercials generally (not always) depict men
drinking beer while enjoying sports or some male dominated activity, while women are there in a
subordinate position. But there is more to women not liking beer than just that.
A recent survey I saw found that 55% of men prefer beer over liquor or wine but less than 20%
of women did. They most often drink wine, according to the survey, since they don't want to get
the dreaded "beer belly" or a bloated feeling..
As you might have guessed those statistics mainly just looked at big brand beers. Does that
support your view that women are more discriminating when it comes to good taste?
One element of this question revolves around gender differences and tasting profiles. I found a
report that found claimed 64% of women are sweet tasters as opposed to 28% of men.
Sweet tasters have the highest level of taste sensitivity thus needing sweetness to offset other
tastes.. When this is expanded to beer preferences it may show that the bitterness of many
beers will preclude women liking them. I really don't buy that argument but it's out there.
It is also possible that women not liking beer is culturally US-centric. From the little I've seen
European cultures where beer is a meal staple don't have the same bias. No, Gina, I have no
statistics to back that up but it seems to make some sense.
I agree with you that beer advertisements are usually for lousy beer which might be a reason
many women never want to even taste craft brews I've often thought if women would try some
beers like a well made trippel,a tasty chocolate stout, a kriek, or framboise,they would be totally
surprised if not shocked. The problem is getting them to try it and then to do it with an open
Beer is not gender specific. Some men do not like beer while some women do. Having said that
I think that we are seeing a big change in the demographics of craft beer consumption. The
Brewers Association reported that nearly 30% of craft beer is bought by women. That's a
direction we can all be glad about and a number that I think will continue to climb.
Here's looking at you Gina