Sem 2 Week 11
I’m a bit of an advocate for beer consumption and believe in its power as a unifying social tool, so I can’t help but be disappointed every time sexism rears its head in the beer industry. Beer has come a long way in the past decade or so; attitudes are changing and it’s definitely much less of a boy’s club than it used to be. In spite of this, some of the stereotypes and attitudes that were reinforced by the marketing of the multinational beverage corporations in the 20th century still linger.
The beer industry’s attitudes have improved considerably - even ifthe mainstream market still has a long way to go (women apparently only want beer if it’s got less calories, according to Pure Blonde).You’ll now find women at all levels of the independent beer chain. The best example is of course Two Bird Brewing in Spotswood, who were Australia’s first female owned brewery and are definitely partly responsible for bringing craft to the masses out West.
It’s with this changing landscape of growing equality that I couldn’t help but be disappointed by some recent marketing that I came across recently. Black Hops Brewing in the Gold Coast dropped a new beer called “Pussy Juice” with a pretty lewd and somewhat rapey description and some objectifying imagery (read about it here). Thankfully I wasn’t the only one that thought this was crossing a bit of a line - the brewery pretty quickly retracted the marketing and offered an apology. It’s still not good enough though, but when I thought about it some more, sadly these male-focused and sexist ideas about beer are still kicking around.
I spend all of my Fridays and Saturdays behind the bar at a quaint little craft beer joint in the suburbs. I can’t count the amount of times that people, both men and women, ask me for the “girliest” beer we have, either for their partner or for themselves. Each time I reel off my tired spiel about how there’s no such thing, and how beer is for everyone, and that just because a beer is fruity doesn’t mean it’s “girly”, and how “girly” is such a poor term to use. Nearly every time it appears to fall on deaf ears. Women might want to drink a stout, or a sour, or an IPA, or even a fruity “girly” beer - how am I supposed to know? It’s even more frustrating when beer doesn’t even get a look in; beers for the boys and a wine or cider for the missus. I can’t even convince my own mother that beer is for the girls, because apparently women drinking beer isn’t ladylike (sorry mum, you’re wrong).
In my opinion, beer has no gender, even though it gets marketed like it does. Commercial beer still seems to be targeted at the working class man, although craft beer seems to be changing for the better (it’s not just slightly overweight bearded men who wear flannel shirts and those weird flat caps who drink it anymore, although if I’m being honest there’s still heaps). I haven’t got the answers to breaking down these gender barriers or anything in the industry, but I reckon getting out there and enjoying a beer no matter who you are is very good way of going about stimulating some sort of change. On a selfish note, I just want to see the stigma that beer is a man’s drink get broken down because as a bartender I’m quite sick of just interacting with men aged between 30 - 55 (I’m really starting to understand why working in a diverse workplace is important).
I’m not a woman though, and these are just my observations that I’ve made through way too many hours spent slinging and drinking beers. But as a beer lover, I would be pretty keen to hear from some women if they reckon beer is isolating women or if it’s getting more inclusive, and what could be done to make beer itself less gendered!
P.S Check out this Facebook post from Two Birds, it sums up the recent sexist marketing in beer way better than I can, also their Free the NEIPL is a dope beer.
P.P.S I’m really enjoying drinking The Dawn from the guys at Hop Nation in Footscray, as well as the Salted Caramel Milkshake IPA from 3 Ravens in Thornbury, highly recommend you check these ones out if you can!