Jul 11

It’s Not The Beer That’s Sexist, Just The People Selling It

Pumpkin Publog12 comments • 1,345 views

Another year, more whizzy ideas from the big international beer companies. Yet again returning to that old bugbear, why don’t women drink more beer? Of course you could just give up on trying to make people drink stuff they don’t want to drink, but the big brewcos would rather spend a million dollars trying to develop a beer they do like. Which is exactly what Molson Coors and Carlsberg have done as this Morning Advertiser article suggests, next to a stock picture of four women enjoying beer (so they clearly wasted money). As Kerry said looking at this stuff, she like the discussion of “targeting females” as if they were skittish creatures running around in the underbrush.

We have been here, or hereabouts before. Weaker beer for Corporate Social Responsibility purposes. The third pint glass was supposed to appeal to women who find the word third so much more attractive than half or pint. And let us not forget the goddess of beer Ninkasi, or indeed our old favourite the lady with a pint forehead. Yes brewers there are lots of people who don’t drink beer. Some of them don’t like it, some of them actively prefer the other drinks on offer. Attempting to make a lager with an even less bitter aftertaste starts taking us down to surely the ultimate solution, alcoholic sparkling water. But I for one welcome the patronising invention of Eve, Carlsberg Copenhagen, and Animee (I don’t even know how to pronounce that last one). I am intrigued by Animee being released in standard, rose and citrus flavours. For I adore a big budget marketing exercise gone wrong, and the idea that innovation and branding can make people drink things they are never going to drink is the epitome of that. When are KP going to release the peanuts that they have designed especially for people allergic to peanuts? Made in a factory which handles peanut products.

I recognise that beer is seen traditionally as a male drink, even if it was invented and generally brewed by women from its invention. But the pub and boozy culture did have a male stink about it that no subtle rebranding or All Bar One makeover is going to change overnight. There doesn’t seem to be a similar concern from the wine producers though than men are not drinking as much – say – Rose Wine as they should be. Well, Hardy’s Stamp Zinfandel, you may not have thought of it, but here on Freakytrigger we are offering you the marketing half of this problem. You may still need to tweak the wine to the particular tastes of men, bitter aftertaste, a slightly aggressive tang. But the concept is simple. Pink Wine for MEN. A million pound ad campaign fronted by the manliest men that money can buy. Picture this, a boxing club, somewhere seedy but full of men. Ray Winstone struggling to uncork a competitor brand’s bottle of rose due to the complexity of corks, then glaring at the camera saying ‘screw you’ – cut to Jason Statham easily headbutting off the screwcap on ROZE. ROZE – THE WINE FOR MEN.

Note the stylish and now use of the Z, as in Coke Zero: men know they are being marketed to when a Z comes into play. It also means that if we are targeting a low calorie version at the Men’s Health market we can call that ROZERO.

The billboard campaign is simplicity itself.


  1. 1
    TM on 19 Jul 2011 #

    Surely women don’t drink beer (or rather don’t drink it in the olympian quanities that men do – I know loads of women who drink beer. Proper beer as well as lager) because no-one likes the stuff at first but men will condition themselves to enjoy the flavour during their teens in order to look the big man in front of their mates whereas there’s no such social pressure for women to do so.

    Roze advert made me snort laughter down my nose…

  2. 2
    a tanned rested and unlogged lørd sükråt wötsît on 19 Jul 2011 #

    I am sad Pete didn’t go for my slogan — ROZE: DRINK TILL YOU PUCE

  3. 3
    Pete Baran on 19 Jul 2011 #

    In the vintage bottle collecting hobby, “puce” is arguably the most desirable colour (Wikipedia – citation needed).

    Pink on the way down, Puce on the way up may be a follow-up.

  4. 4
    Sandra Becks on 20 Jul 2011 #

    I don’t really think beer drinking is restricted to one specific gender. I mean, c’mon guys,, its the 21st century. People have moved on. Even women. I agree when you say that some people don’t drink beer because they don’t like beer. But,then again, it’s just a specific group of people you are referring to. Women too have taken into drinking beer. Some women fancy it. It’s not because it’s macho or cool. It’s just that we enjoy drinking beer. Simple logic.

  5. 5
    Kerry on 20 Jul 2011 #

    Statistically, British women *do* drink significantly less beer than British men; I agree that drinks aren’t inherently gendered but it is a fact that the average woman drinks much less beer than the average man. Hence the desperate “how do we get the ladies to buy our products?!?!” campaigns from beer producers: women spend a lot of money on drinks, but most of that doesn’t go to beer. It isn’t “restricted” by gender but it does fall along gender lines pretty clearly. I think beer producers are going about fixing it the wrong way but the disparity does exist.

  6. 6
    Pete Baran on 20 Jul 2011 #

    Oh absolutely, and it could well be due to the types of beer which are commonly available in the UK too. Cooking lagers for example may be the kind of beers which women are tempted to start on due to lower alcohol, but are also put off by their taste. Once bitten… The stats I have seen for this as well do not make it clear where they class Cider, which is a much bigger deal in the UK than any other country I can think of (do they slip it under alcopops?)

    Clearly I know loads of women who like drinking beer, and perhaps examining how they got into beer might be a better way of spending this money.

  7. 7
    logged-out Tracer Hand on 20 Jul 2011 #

    There’s a woman I know quite well who is a) French b) doesn’t like beer, but c) absolutely loves Leffe. Which is very high ABV and has so much flavour it’s practically chewy. So put that in your pipe and smoke it, brew boys.

  8. 8
    Pete Baran on 20 Jul 2011 #

    Sorry, that was sort of my point, higher alcohol, more flavoursome beers are probably what is required here.

  9. 9
    Tommy on 20 Jul 2011 #

    I will repeat – I don’t think any beer tastes good until you are conditioned to its flavour. Mind you the same goes for wine, but then drinking wine is ‘sophisticated’, whereas drinking beer is ‘manly’. I think what you enjoy drinking has a lot to do with what adult image you wanted to project as a teenager. God help today’s teens, weened on WKD and other such vile concoctions.

  10. 10
    Kat but logged out innit on 21 Jul 2011 #

    examining how they got into beer

    The only problem with this approach is that when us ladies got into beer we were kind of drunk at the time and can’t remember.

  11. 11
    Russ L on 21 Jul 2011 #

    Surely Rose wine for Danny Dyer would be described as ‘salmon’, like pink shirts.

    That “beer tastes horrible until you condition yourself to it” lark is a bit of a generalisation (by which I mean “an enormous generalisation”, obviously). It’s no doubt true for some, but not for others (and who’d have thought that statement could ever be accurate when talking about questions of taste, astonishing). I liked Guinness when I was a single-digit young’un and my mother would give me some, although I disliked lager at the time.

  12. 12
    thefatgit on 26 Jul 2011 #

    If you look at alcohol consumption amongst the New Middle Class in India, the suggestion is that women are opting for “luxury” branded spirits and mixers, rather than beer or even wine. This suits the likes of Diageo perfectly, but brewers seem to be failing to compete in an emerging market like India. If brewers don’t capture female early adopters within that market, then they’ll probably fail elsewhere as well.

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