A couple of weeks ago a friend who’s thinking of setting up a brewery messaged me and asked:
“What do women look for in a beer?”
My reply: “Why would they look for anything different to what men look for?”
“Good point,” said he, and so the conversation ended.
But the theme didn’t end – in fact the whole discussion over how to brew a beer that will capture the attention of the fairer sex is one that keeps on rearing its head. A few days after the aforementioned conversation, Mitch Lockhart from Devil’s Peak posted a link to a short article on ‘Female-friendly beers’. I think he did it just to annoy me. It worked.
March 8th is International Women’s Day and it’s bringing out the feminist in me. I’ve been meaning to write this post for a while, so here it is. Here’s the answer to the question that brewers, bar owners, beer critics, chefs and Cicerones (that’s a beer sommelier to you and me) seem to ask so often. Women who drink beer, oddly enough, want the same thing in a brew that you, oh testicled beer drinker, want – you know the sort of thing: hops, malt, mouth-feel, flavour, alcohol. I enjoyed tweeting the ‘female-friendly’ beers piece to rile up fellow lady ale enthusiasts. General consensus: lots of us have as much of a hop hankering as the men. I love a high IBU beer, the bitterer the betterer as far as I’m concerned.
Well, what did you expect as an answer to “what do women look for in a beer?” For it to be pink? For it to match our shoes? For a penis to stir it with?
I know that when people ask these questions, they’re not talking about the likes of me, Beer Guevara’s Megan Cook-Cawood, Jamie and Lenny from The Beer Garden or BeerLab’s Lynnae Endersby (to name but a few awesome ale-loving ladies in SA). They’re talking about capturing new lady beer drinkers and converting them to malt ‘n’ hops. But I don’t really see how this is really any different to trying to get non-beer drinking males to switch from their alcopops and ciders to a pint of ale. No-one ever asks how to make a glass of wine appeal to a man, so why must we insist on beer being a beverage for blokes?
I will end this Women’s Day rant with a quote from someone far more experienced and respected in the beer world than I am. At the 75th NBWA conference in the States last year, the subject of how to get beer to appeal to women came up. Dogfish Head’s Sam Calagione was addressing the delegates and gave this much-appreciated answer: “by not treating women beer drinkers any different than we treat men”.
Women beer drinkers – tell us what you want in a beer in the comments section below. And men, just so’s you don’t feel left out, why not tell us what you want in a female beer drinker…
This post was first published on The Craft Beer Project.