I was walking into work one morning past a well known pub in my area when I saw a lorry pull up, delivering casks from a large, well known established brewery. On the side was an artistic drawing of a blonde woman in red nightwear holding a beer.
That same evening, I went to a local micro pub. On the bar was yet another, more distasteful, badge sporting a chesty blonde woman. I asked the bar tender about his choice of beer, to which he responded, ‘Had I have known about the artwork, I wouldn’t have ordered the beer!’.
You only have to type the words ‘women’ and ‘beer’ into Google to see the underlying sexism and stereotypes of women in the industry (as illustrated by the stock photo we found for this article, which was one of the tamest ones).
There is a shift occurring: Beer is no longer solely aimed at middle aged men who like a good blonde joke and drool over photographs in The Sun. And yet this kind of thinking is still adopted by breweries in an attempt to market their beers to a particular audience.
Jumping on the back of the successful pro-women campaigning prevalent through social media of late, Brew Dog even released a rebranded Punk IPA as ‘Pink IPA: Beer for Girls’, only to receive severe backlash from critics online regarding the opportunism surrounding the campaign.
A Brave New World
If you delve under the surface, it is evident that the paradigms are changing. People such as Jaega Wise of Wild Card have been instrumental in opening up the conversation and challenging the issue. Even on a local level, for Sheffield Beer Week this year, Neepsend Brewery‘s Hannah Bolton-Tite, Lost Industry‘s Helen Seaton, Devonshire Cat’s Liz Casserly and beer champion and owner of the well-known bottle shop, Hop Hideout, Jules Gray collaborated on a dry-hopped sour beer called ‘Emmeline‘ to celebrate women in the industry.
The days are coming and are even here among new-wave breweries when the industry and marketers shed off their archaic thinking and sexist marketing and promote the nations favourite drink based upon the merit of the flavour and stories of the brewers themselves, regardless of gender.
About time, too.