If you’re muttering to yourself that the suggestions in the paragraph above are all obvious, well, that’s great news, and my apologies for preaching to the converted. It’s a sign progress is being made. But there’s more to be done. Much, much more: women like beer as much as men. Why isn’t the industry acting accordingly?
You may have noticed this trend already, but a number of multinational brewers are creating and launching beers with hints of malt and hops yet with gobs of fruit sweetness in an attempt to win over female session drinkers. Tastings suggest that a bloke wouldn’t be caught dead drinking one of these fruity sort-of beers, and one wonders why women would want to drink these, either.
The other approach is to invest in cider, either buying existing brands or creating ones imbued with instant heritage. Cider is a halfway house, with the target market arguably unisex rather than exclusively female; yet cider is, well, for the most part less interesting, less complex than beer.
So there’s NPD evidence that some brewers have lost faith with their product. The crucial insight is that women like strong flavours, and are arguably more adept than men when it comes to recognising flavours. It’s just that the industry has been really, really, really bad at presenting beer as a proposition to women.
Let’s start with smaller serving sizes: the two-thirds of a pint schooner is a step in the right direction. Let’s offer table service in pubs. Let’s match beers with food, let’s be confident in this, and let’s make the pairing with stronger beers, those with complexity in taste to rival wines both red and white. And let’s devise advertising campaigns that treat women as real people, not as one-dimensional sex objects or as the butt of dubious male-orientated humour.