Women and Beer: A Surprising Trend in the Beer Industry
It may be the marketing strategy of many conglomerate brewers of the past, but ads targeting just men may not reach today’s beer drinker. Not only are women more increasingly appreciating beer, but within the industry, women have solidified their place in management roles and the day-to-day operations of the brewing industry. Let’s forget about the fact that the resurgence of craft beer has opened the door publicly to an endless array of choice, enabling the beer drinker to pinpoint the flavors and tastes that make their taste buds tingle. But, the general demographics of women may foreshadow the direction most brewers may go in terms of their target market from now on.
According to the Pew Research Center, women now make up almost half of the U.S. labor force, up from 38% in 1970. In addition to this fact, women are becoming increasingly more educated than men. The AFL-CIO states that women have been earning more bachelor’s degrees than men since 1982 and are doing so at an increasing rate as we enter 2010. Demographers and marketers are taking note that a more educated and employed workforce of women will correlate to more disposable income as these trends typically hold off having children.
Beer companies have transitioned into sectors that include cooking, pairing and heavy marketing of unconventional flavors. These three segments of the craft industry have caught the attention of the major brewers. For example, Blue Moon, brewed by MillerCoors, has skyrocketed in popularity with many months of triple digit sales growth. The new customer appreciating the lighter, refreshingly fruity flavoring (with a slice of orange) seems to be a new beer drinker. As sales have snowballed for this beer, other popular brands have remained flat or slightly lower, but in no way low enough to explain the new popularity of Blue Moon.
In an interview with The Observer, Coors UK chief Mark Hunter states, “We’re trying to get to the heart of why, compared to other markets, beer is not seen as an attractive proposition by women.” In mature markets like the United States and the U.K., sales teams strive to maintain revenues with new products and a new target market.
Another attribute beer has developed is its resurgence as not only an ingredient in foods but as a pairing of flavor and contrast. The beauty of variety and flavors allow many types of beer to add a layer to the dining experience. Brasserie Beck, a contemporary European style Brasserie in the heart of Washington, DC boasts a long list of specialty beers to accompany its meals in pure Belgian style. Beercook.com, a website devoted to the pleasure of utilizing beer and food, reviews, catalogues and critiques many ways of enjoying beer and food as Lucy Saunders quotes, “because beer is food: in cooking, at the table, and by the glass…”.
Everyone appreciates flavor and choice. Some might argue that the resurgence of mainstream unconventional beers and the pairing of food and beer have nothing to do with the hope to attract women to beer. But, if it does, it has only broached the surface of a very exciting and unique addition to the world of beer.