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Opinion: Craft Beer and Female Fans

An article was brought to my attention by a friend “How Craft Beer Fails its Female Fan Base” and I thought I’d give my two cents on the topic based on the Stereotypes that are brought up in the article:

1. WOMEN HATE BITTER, AND LOVE SWEET AND FRUITY.

I do know women who want a sweet beer, or a fruity beer, or a light beer and because I know them pretty well, know it’s because they want to get into craft beer and are nervous because they’re used to wine and cocktails and are overwhelmed by options. To be perfectly honest, it was a fruity, sweet beer that got me into craft beer in the first place. I’m happy to recommend these when asked but am also very, very open with other stuff I like that may not fit into these categories that they may also like.

I’ve since embraced other flavors and do like the occasional refreshing fruit beer but I don’t drink them exclusively. I like porters, stouts, sours, gose-style and (gasp) IPA beers. I don’t dig most Bourbon-Aged beers though but that’s just a general distaste for bourbon in general.

Just like with everything else where women are not included or considered because there is a perception, which may or may not be based in fact or actual evidence, I’d say presume the person who’s asking you knows what they’re talking about and are actually very interested in your opinion.

Good rule of thumb: If a woman asks for your opinion, your next question should be “Sure, what do you normally like to drink?” And go from there.

2. ALL WOMEN GET INTO CRAFT BEER THROUGH THEIR BOYFRIEND, HUSBAND, BROTHER, ETC.

My husband likes hard liquor and IPAs. I assure you that it’s more me dragging him into Craft Beer than the other way around.

And I’ve probably dragged other friends down the rabbit hole too. I’m not ashamed.

3. WOMEN CAN’T BE BREWERY OWNERS OR BREWMASTERS.

Women can be whatever they want to be. I wanted to be a video game writer, so I did it. I then wanted to be a craft beer reviewer, did that too. And I’m in good company in the craft beer world.

4. WOMEN NEED BEER “MANSPLAINED” TO THEM WHEN ORDERING.

I’ve not experienced this when I’m out and I’m typically the person who’s making recommendations on beer before someone actually goes up to order.

In the times where I have inquired about a specific beer or asked for a recommendation, the men behind the bar have been very polite and very informative. Anything less is just poor customer service and unnecessary condescension.

Gentlemen in craft beer are really excited to talk to someone who also loves craft beer regardless of gender. If they feel it’s necessary to mansplain they’re probably just d*cks in general.

Again, to repeat what I said before: If a woman asks for your opinion, your next question should be “Sure, what do you normally like to drink?” And go from there.

In Conclusion:

Do I feel like marketing that is man-centric is annoying and sometimes inappropriate? Yep. It’s not isolated to craft beer. Yes, it’s a problem that plagues the craft beer community. It’s also still a huge problem in gaming (see also the backlash from Xbox’s GDC party and subsequent apology) and in marketing in general.

Am I concerned that beers like Clown Shoes’ Trampstamp use suggestive imaging that might be misinterpreted? Not really. If you understand the tongue-in-cheek nature of most craft breweries, it’s not as bothersome. I have bigger bones to pick with other industries’ portrayals of women.

The apathy is probably pretty heavy with me since I’ve come across much, much worse but I’d *love* for Craft Beer to lead the charge and be a shining example of how we can include women in marketing without reducing it to gimmicks or pink labels.