Chicks and Beer

four people, faces close

Since I wrote this, the craft beer movement has done a lot to solve this problem, providing a wide range of flavors to enjoy. However, some of this is still, lamentably, true. One big change: a glass of wine is now sometimes cheaper than a craft beer.

If you’re a beer marketer, maybe I’ll have some suggestions over the next week or so that turn on the ol’ lightbulb for you.  Or maybe not, but figure I have some good “ins” – I’m a woman, I drink beer selectively, I follow the craft beer movement and read beer blogs (write one m’self), and I talk to other women a lot in all those places where we say true things to each other.  I certainly have some ideas I don’t see y’all figuring out.  There’s an awful lot of money on the line, and your market isn’t growing without women.  Maybe, just maybe I can help.

There are a lot of factors that weigh in to why chicks don’t dig beer, and as long as men are swilling most of the brew there’s little hope these things will change.  If you’re a guy who has (or dreams of having) a steady woman that you want to make happy, and you’re a beer drinker, you probably want her to hang out with you and some of your friends and crack a cold one on a Saturday night.  In your case let’s say it ain’t happening.   Over the next few blog posts I’ll take a shot at some possible reasons why not.  I’ll also look at some of the strides women are making to carve themselves a bigger piece of the beer pie.

Plenty of women like beer just fine, and they’re not even necessarily Pabst-swilling redneck girls with a nicer pickup truck than yours.  But like everything else, women do beer differently than you do, and until you get the hang of that you’re destined to be frustrated by women who whine continually  that they don’t like beer, and order expensive wine or cocktails  instead. (I used to be one of them).

It’s true, men account for 80% of the total volume of beer consumed.  According to Gallup, of the women they surveyed who drink alcohol (let’s get the teetotalers out of the way right up front), only 17% prefer beer, 21% prefer liquor, and a whopping 48% prefer wine.   That was in 2010, when buy phentramin d drinking alcohol was up overall, to 67% of U.S. adults, the highest recorded since 1985, though not by much. Drinking alcohol has been on the decline for the last thirty years.

Guys, don’t feel bad about not getting it.  Marketing departments in major beer companies are just as stumped as you are about how to get women to drink more beer (though possibly with more $$ on the line).  In the UK, so-called women-friendly beers like Molson-Coors’ Animée and Carlsberg’s Eve keep failing – both of these are off the market by the end of 2012, according to The Publican’s Morning Advertiser .  Slim-line cans, low-carb, low-calorie, caffeine-infused beer, beers so fruity they might as well be wine coolers, and beer in pink labels (that’s you, Chick Beer) have all been big fat failures.

What’s more, on advertising and beer-related forums, women consistently sneer at the idea that beer companies are going to make a beer “specially for women” that they will actually want to drink.  They don’t want a contrived fruity pink beer with an umbrella.  They just want a beer that tastes good to them.  The words “patronizing” and “insulting” show up on these forums a lot.  Online magazine/forum Ladies of Craft Beer founder/president Stevie Caldarola writes “More often than not, I find that women I  talk to are searching for more flavor out of their beer, as well as more aroma and texture.”   (Texture in beer, hunh.  Maybe she means mouthfeel?) Women taste beer differently than men do, but there are really only a few significant factors to consider, and it’s all known science. However, the big bucks are in the men’s market, so the beer is made for men’s palates.

A few breweries tried making really fancy glasses to serve their beer in, thinking that’d make the girls happy  – think Molson Coors Bittersweet’s fancy-pants label and black goblet with gold patterning.  (See the Financial Mail Women’s Forum commentary on how well that worked.)  Prettified glasses are, once again, missing the point.

Let me say it loud: women want beer that tastes good, that they like to drink.  So do guys, for that matter.  So what’s missing here? In my next few posts I’ll look at some of the factors that affect how women relate to beer – things that either aren’t considered important or just aren’t profitable enough for the big beer makers to pursue.




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  1. I’m a woman who likes beer and I don’t know exactly why. Maybe it was an acquired taste or just that I grew up around it. My partner, on the other hand, has an alcohol preference that most women do. He prefers Wine over liquor and liquor over beer. Stouts and hoppy lagers are out of the question but so are the light beers like PBR and Miller. I guess I can see how a marketing rep would be frustrated. So what did I get him to taste that he would actually drink? Blue Moon, Flying Fish (I think it’s a local brew), Leinenkugel, Yuengling, and Gordon Biersch Märzen. I think I’m seeing a pattern here.

    • Interesting. Let me say right off the bat that I’m glad you were successful. I’m actually a bit surprised he doesn’t like some of the sweeter stouts, and that’s my prejudice showing. From what you write, dark & malty apparently isn’t his style.

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