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A YEAR LIVING SOCIAL TRENDS: Is Craft Beer leading a gender shift in beer drinking?

We’ve bee delving further into this month’s trend, using social media to try and identify whether craft beer has been a central component in encouraging women to drink and talk about beer. Turns out, you can find some answers at the bottom of the bottle!

Beer itself is ‘technically’ female since only the female part of the hop plant is used in brewing and yeast is all female… So it seems odd that beer is distinctly more popular among men than women, and is perceived by 44% of women as a man’s drink. Also (strangely) only 44% of mentions of beer and women come from women; men dominate the conversation. Attempts to market beer to encourage women to choose a pint over a Pinot have varied, with many identifying sexism in beer adverts as an issue. While 73% of men and women asked, felt that brewers’ approaches to women have improved over the last decade, there were still 320 mentions of sexism concerning women and beer on Twitter in the UK over the past year.

In March, the Brazilian beer manufacturer Skol decided to address this by hiring 6 women to redesign several sexist adverts they had previously used. The video of the reposter campaign has over 38.6k views and 50 UK mentions.

The Czech brewery Aurosa took a different approach and launched their ‘beer for women’ only 2 weeks ago in the UK.  They haven’t quite hit the mark though and it’s sparked considerable outrage with their hashtag ‘BeerForHer’ and the beer’s small, pink, marbled bottle. Jess Devonport, Sue Perkins and Lauren Laverne were amongst hundreds on Twitter who criticised the implication that beer is inherently male and needed feminising.

Rather than pink packaging, it’s craft beer’s extensive range of flavours that appeal. 57% of women voted that they would prefer a selection of craft beer and ales behind the bar than of gin, whisky or soft drinks. According to Facebook Audience insights, the typical female craft beer drinker is an educated, middle-class mum who has disposable income and is 122% more likely to have completed a postgraduate course than the average Facebook user!

Social mentions of women and craft beer are lagging behind the general beer conversation. Of the 20.4k Twitter mentions of women and beer in the last year, only 400 were specifically about craft beer. This was lower than both lager (670 mentions) and ale (1,240). However, craft beer and its female fans are on the rise; 260 of these 400 mentions occurred in the last 6 months. Brands such as the Vocation Brewery are also bringing branded discussion to the craft beer conversation (with 20 mentions in relation to craft beer and women).

While social media responded disparagingly to beer specifically for females, a focus on beer brewed by females seems to have emerged alongside the revelation that craft beer and ales are popular among women. 10% of all the mentions of women and craft beer on Twitter were of female brewers. The Fem.Ale festival, which celebrates exclusively female brewers, returned for its fourth and biggest year yet. In the past year the festival has received 58 mentions on social media.

With the rise of craft beer and increasing numbers of women drinking and brewing it seems beer is now making its way into the female market. I best go and try some out… 


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