When Animée lager was launched, earlier this month, the only things I heard about it were bad. The main gist of what was being said online is that there are far better tasting beers already on the market, and brewers should stop marketing their products solely to men rather than waste time and money on developing bland and patronising alternatives aimed at women. There are so many amazing beers out there that simply being introduced to more of them is all that many women would need in order to start drinking the stuff. In her Guardian article, Melissa Cole (who runs the blog Taking the Beard out of Beer) points out that:
Several pieces of research – ironically including one done by the Molson Coors’ “girly arm”, BitterSweet Partnership – clearly show that there are several factors that stop women from buying beer: a lack of education, too much gassy rubbish and ugly glassware. Top of the list, however, is that they find the inherent sexism in beer advertising and marketing off-putting – and there’s certainly little that says “it’s not pink and fruity enough”.
A trip to Belgium would certainly open the eyes of any non-beer drinking female. Working my way through a tiny selection of the beers available at Poechenellekelder, I was delighted by the branded glassware that came with every bottle, amazed at the differences in taste, and relieved that more types could be tasted due to the lack of pint measures. None of the beers were especially masculine or feminine in look (even the fruit beers are simply ‘fruity’ rather than ‘girly’), and the whole experience was one of taste rather than getting drunk for the sake of it. Beer in the UK needs to shed its macho image and start appealing to more people. If certain groups of women want to drink something that looks like it’s been designed by the same people who do the covers of ‘chick lit’, then I’m sure they would prefer to stick to wine, cocktails and alcopops. Personally, I think I’ll stick with real ale… because it tastes good.