So Molson Coors have launched Animee, a beer specifically for women. Let’s think about this a little. Is there a wine just for women? Or a type of bread? A car perhaps? Maybe a hotel? No there is not.
Sure, certain products or brands target women in their advertising, maltesers come to mind (and girls you know what I mean!) but they are not said to be for women. And this is where the problem lies. To say a beer is for women is patronising, it encourages the idea that we won’t like ‘real’ beer and suggests we somehow have different tastes in this regard; not because people have different tastes, which of course we all do, but because we are women. This pushes women into a little ‘specialist beer’ box as opposed to encouraging them into the wider, wonderfully various world of real beer.
Now I am a big fan of women being involved with beer. I own and run a brewery; I’m involved in Project Venus a collaboration of female brewers (or brewsters as we are properly known) that is championing women in the beer industry and I’m desperately keen to encourage more women to check out the huge range of different drinks that the real beer industry offers. In other words, promoting beer to women is very much a good thing in my books. And boy is there a lot that needs addressing here. Pubs and bars that are welcoming to women; beer names and images that are not, shall we say, overly blokey; an association with a less than healthy lifestyle and ‘body shape’ , are just a few of the things we need to work on. Indeed I spend my working life taking all of this on very happily.
And then something like the Molson Coors beer Animee comes along and sets us all back.
A beer for women misses the point. It keeps the story as being one of ‘beer isn’t really for you’ (or at least only for you in special cases). And let me tell you girls, beer is for you;, if you think you don’t like real beer (or ale) then try another one and keep trying until you find a style you like and believe me you will. I know this because beer, real beer, good beer does not belong to one group or in a particular kind of pub. It is all of ours, whatever the boys (as they almost certainly are) at Molson think.