Thanks to my fine filmmaker, Sean Marc Nipper of Reel House Films, for these short films on marketing beer to women.
Thank you for giving a great session*. I really enjoyed your entire lesson. The thing that stood out the most to me was your suggestion on how to get a better understanding of what flavors people like to transform them into a beer drinker. I never really thought about asking a wine drinker what flavors they like in their wine and use that as a gateway to beer. I have always tried to start with a blonde, amber, etc and work my way up, typically finding that wine drinkers usually tend to go with something more flavorful anyways. I’m excited to have the opportunity to try my new technique.
Megan Scheerhorn, Marketing Coordinator
*Beer & Sex: Marketing Beer To Women, Michigan Brewers Guild Winter Conference, Kalamazoo MI January 2017
Events are a lot of damn work.
So I’m always grateful for client partners who understand a few things:
- They want to work together to further beer education, for the beer and for the education.
- They understand we both have skin in the game and anticipate – ne expect – to pay me for my services.
- They are on top of the details. Logistics are involved and time-consuming – no wonder people specialize in events management!
- They forge ahead and make it work.
So my new year goblet of beer is raised today to the hard-working, smart and clever people with Fermenta today. I’ve the pure tasty pleasure to being their guest for a special January event coming right up on the 11th. Here’s the link – save your seats today (space is very limited and it’ll be a tasty blast into the new year).
- Arcardia Ales is our fine host for space and beer – yum!!
- Dagoba Chocolates has generously donated their delicious organic goods.
- Rogue Creamery is giving us sumptuous cheese to enjoy as well.
I’ll even be bringing some bootlegged Women Enjoying Beer koozies as gifts for all guests. The company Kolder stole my logo this summer and called it a mistake’… (more on that another time).
This event is open to all flavor enthusiasts, all makes and models. We’ll have a grand time in Michigan Winter tasting, talking and learning together.
Over the yeas I’ve been asked a number of times: So, how do I put together a women’s beer group?
Today’s the day I want to shed some light on successful components to planning and executing a women’s beer group.
- Education has to be the primary purpose. Educating a new segment in a population to an idea must drive the endeavor forward.
- Single gender education has some unique benefits so do it right. Full respect, no pandering or pinking and by all means make sure it’s worthy of the time you put into it.
- Title: this is the easiest and toughest for some people. What do I name it? Easy: use the words “Women” or “Females” for starters. Simple and descriptive rule the day here. Check to make sure the name you think you want to use isn’t being used by others as well (trust me, says the logo-infringed upon business owner). If it is, think again for another choice.
Conversely, never use denigrating or less-than-full-respect terms for women & beer: babes, broads, girls, chicks, and all other ilk of slang terminology holds everyone – and beer – back.
- A regular schedule is in order to get any sort of momentum. Whether you design a 3 part series or year round program, hold it consistently – day wise, time wise, location wise. Consistency builds brands.
- Charge guests for it. Part of the value proposition includes monetizing the education. Create a budget expressly for this effort and follow it. More guests will show up and take it seriously when you have a fee attached. $$ = investment of time and effort for everyone.
- Provide goodies. Free doesn’t make the world go round, but goodies can. I often get small glasses in tip-top shape at the thrift stores, put my vinyl stickers on them and give them away at tastings. Meaningful mementos of use are a great incentive and fun for all.
- Invite select media and press to attend, one at a time. Make M&P seats as valuable as the others. Budget 1 seat per event for proven press pros to enjoy, record and report. Show them a good time – just as you do all your guests – and do not expect glowing press in return. The job of the press is to report, as they see fit professionally to do so. Give them a good story and news they can use.
This gets us started today.
Want more tactics and strategy on how to put together a women’s or men’s or general beer enthusiasm group? Call me. I can help.
With a nod to the Ancient Mariner, one of the very best aspects of beer is flavor – hands (and pints) down. And one of the reasons is that we all enjoy flavor.
Do we all enjoy the same flavors? Oh goddess, no! That’s not important. What is important to is to enjoy beer and the beer community for all it offers, all beer flavors and characters included.
In my travels and adventures of beverage and food, I frequently lead beer and food pairings – often beer and chocolate. This eye-opening and often unexpected partnership of two everyday goodies is met with skepticism and enthusiasm. “Really, we’re going to have chocolate with beer?” Yes, really. Here’s why.
Beer’s grain bill – the actual grains in the beer recipe – has so many affiliations with flavors in various chocolates. In fact, since they both have a prominent base ingredient (beer = grain, chocolate = cocoa), they are naturally set up to deliciously co-exist. While I may sound bias, I can tell you that the light bulbs I see go on in a room experiencing beer and chocolate make the effort so incredibly worthwhile.
Teaching to flavor, opening minds by starting with our palate is gratifying and satisfying. Gratifying because there are always people in the room who have epiphanies. Voila! “Whoa – who knew??!!” reactions that in turn make me grin. Satisfying because I get to refresh my taste buds with beer and chocolate at the same time, thereby renewing the joy of flavor exploration.
Join us January 11th as the fine Fermenta folks and I host a lively educational event at gracious host Arcadia Ales in Kalamazoo. I’ll be giving the talk, HerStory: The Story of Women & Beer, with the bonus goodies of fresh beer, Dagoba chocolate and Rogue Creamery cheese. Bring your open mind and open palate, good humor and a friend. Space is limited so register today.
See you soon in the Great State of Michigan for a flavor filled night. Cheers till then!
this article was originally written for Fermenta, 2017.
The power of getting where you’re going is a milestone.
“Milestones are constructed to provide reference points along the road. This can be used to reassure travelers that the proper path is being followed, and to indicate either distance traveled or the remaining distance to a destination.” – Wikipedia
Where is it you want to go? What do you want to measure? What road are you creating that you’re heading down?
Milestones in beer are infinite. What was the first beer you tasted? What was the first beer you really connected with? Who were you with when you enjoyed a special beer? Where were you? How do all of these experiential milestones factor into your beer life going forward?
A few milestones for me include:
- First sips of beer in the company of my parents. Curious, though unremarkable. No big deal.
- First beer at college parties. Socially more of a big deal, taste wise – unremarkable to my taste buds.
- First taste of a sour or wild beer. Life changing, I loved it.
- First brewpub I patronized, though for the vibe & food, not the beer.
And so on.
As a researcher of women and beer, I find it interesting to learn about others’ milestones in beer. Finding out what resonates and what is benign. Hearing stories and tales of their experiences.
It places Women Enjoying Beer in a singular space, with an insight library of personal recollections and opinions unique to the entire beer world.
When beer makers, importers, distributors and retailers want to really know the milestones for women and beer, were at the ready to serve. Sharing the information through our services is how we are aiming to complete the milestone of a gender-free beer community. One in which gender is irrelevant (because it is) in relation to beer.
What are your beer milestones?
Beer for everybody. Everybody for beer. That’s a milestone worth aiming for.
To everyone who helps operate a beer with food establishment:
Ditch the Appetizers, Sell them Beer.
Why do so many places feel compelled to cut into the already thin margins of food as attractant for business for ‘happy hour’ or other reduced price events?
This practice makes no sense – in fact it can only damage the business. And never mind reducing prices on beer. That’s sacrilege in real life. Good grief.
Here’s what we need to all focus on: VALUE.
Value is the worth we place on some thing, experience and all other whatevers in our lives.
Are they worth our time? Our money? Our attention? Our repeat business? Our talking about them? Our sharing them? Our buying them to give as gifts?
Value is the true proposition we can all embrace and really sit back and ponder. It’s how we perceive worth. It’s also a smart business practice: to price on value.
For instance, I don’t offer my services by the hour – that’s simply encouraging the practitioner to keep you in the loop for longer to make more money. Is that really an ethical idea? No. Is taking care of your customers within one project rate better? Absolutely. Will you sometimes spend more time and others spend less in accomplishing what you agree to do? Yes, and it all evens out in time.
Appetizers are teasers. They warm up our palate and theoretically get our (literal) juices flowing to entice us to order more food. Is offering a reduced price appetizer the best way to get people to come to your business? It may get them in but it won’t keep them. There’s no value in discounting.
Don’t ask for a reduced price and don’t offer one. Offer value, in all ways, all the time.
Beer deserves to be a full value for everyone, all the time. Get the appetizers, order a beer and simply let it all be.
Do you respond or react when you learn of information which startles you into the reality of life?
Case in point: many beer companies are selling to other companies and entities these days. This pattern will likely continue, as does any industry that experiences robust growth as the beer making industry has.
So do you react – or do you respond?
First of all, let’s consider one very important facet of businesses selling to other businesses. The business that chooses to sell is the seller. There’d be no sale if the seller wasn’t interested. So for people who get irked or high and mighty about their favorite brewery being ‘bought out’ is a misnomer: the seller has to agree to that first. Start with them, the seller, before accusatorily getting righteous.
Next, if the plan of the ownership of a brewery – like any business – sees their business plan and exit strategy as selling to another party, good for them. That is strictly the business of the ownership, not ours as the consumers or observers. If that’s your plan, go for it.
A reaction is a response to an influence or event.
A response is an answer or reply.
They’re similar yet still different.
Everyone needs to withhold judgement before seeing what actually unfolds with a change of ownership.
Here’s the newsflash: when one company sells to another and a spokesperson for either entity comes out and says, “Nothing Will Change”, they’re lying. It may be innocent lying, but they are lying all the same.
The business has changed hands – how could it possibly remain the same!? It can’t, literally – it’s now changed. So before you blow up when you perceive that the business or beer did in fact change (whether it actually did or not), remember: the first thing that changed was ownership so of course operations will change.
Change seems to be something resisted with a great deal of effort. We’d be better served to simply observe, consider and then experience before judging and shouting.
Beer companies will continue to change hands. Breweries will continue to come online and grow into attractive enterprises to buy. It’s the way business can work for all of us. Simply enjoy what you enjoy, go with the changing-hands flow and be nice. There will always be more beer.
When you have empty space in your fridge, what do you fill it with? Is beer automatically one of those goodies you stock up on or is it more of an impulse or purpose purchase?
Since I’m in the beer business, as well as being married to it (My Fine Husband is a long time pro brewer), it’s rare when we don’t have beer in the fridge. People bring us both beer as gifts and we are happy to buy beer when the spirit moves us. It’s part of our every day lives.
We rarely go out simply to buy beer, and it’s still one thing we do in fact enjoy and treat ourselves to.
Empty space in the fridge is almost a myth around my house too. As an avid cook and buyer of all things edible, our kitchen fridge (only) is kept happily stocked. From beer to pickles, from jam to soup, from bacon grease to vegetables…..
I could justify it by saying that a full fridge is more energy-efficient than a slightly or empty one. That seems realistic. If it’s on, it should be working to keep items cold, not just chill the space. All the same we use and therefore justify the fridge by keeping its belly abundantly full, beer included.
What I will justify is supporting brewers across the globe by enjoying the beers we choose to buy. Empty fridge? Not so much.
Keep your occupied with beer made by hardworking, flavor focused and fun folks. Cheers ~
The tricks and treats this time of year are obvious ones:
- Women enjoy the treat of beer, as do many other people.
- The trick is making sure women are addressed as any beer buyer, drinker and enjoyer: via taste buds and brains.
This Halloween season enjoy the beer you like – enjoy it with people whose company you like – and enjoy in moderation.
How to market beer to women is no trick. It’s simply knowing your audience, potential market share and supporting population. That’s a treat we can all enjoy.
By addressing women.
Mature markets is a misnomer, first of all. They aren’t mature if the entire population isn’t equally invited into the conversation.
One of the goals of the Brewers Association, for example, is to figure out how to grow in mature markets. Markets keep evolving and advancing, receding and changing so growth is a relative term. So I’d ask: how do you want to grow? More importantly, how do you define growth? What are those components driving your definitions? How will the definition change going forward?
Growth isn’t only or always about volume or quantity. It can be myriad definitions, as it suits the parties involved. I laud businesses who focus on growth as stability, internal improvement which then radiates to external audiences. Growth that lessens environmental impact, improves the quality of life of those involved and gives to the community around the entity is smart. Growth that increases capacity or volume sheerly for “more” is misguided and doomed to bust, sooner or later. Balloon walls are only so forgiving.
I can guarantee that when beer invites women into the conversation, markets will evolve – they will grow in participation – they will advance with more voices, more education and more participation. Until then, well, good luck beer.
Market growth isn’t that difficult to figure out or to accomplish. For example:
- Do the images and picture you use equally feature women and men? if it’s lopsided, you can fix it right now. I’ve yet to see a beer magazine have an equal mix of women and men. Who will be the first one to rightly accurately represent the population??
- Do labels, beer names or brand names focus on the beer, and steer clear of anything sexual? If your beer can stand on its own, it deserves a place in the market. If you are relying on sexist images – of any sort – then get out of the way for the rest.
- Are you talking to everyone who approaches your beer with equal enthusiasm? If you reduce people to brains & tastebuds, vs. reproductive make up, then you’re doing it right.
Beer needs women more than women need beer. Heck, women – and men for that matter – don’t ‘need’ beer at all. Growth of beer is reliant on women and the sooner the professional beer industry community sees that, the better off we’ll all be. In fact, I’ll drink to that.
Thanks to everyone who came out the book events in Denver last week, during the Great American Beer Festival.
- Kokopelli Beer Company got us off and running (and sipping) by hosting 2 events: the first for beer pros & media, talking about the book, what’s in it and how to use it. The second was a screening of my TED talk for everyone. Both groups were engaged, fun and participated actively.
- A tour of the Denver Museum of Nature & Science by Dr. Nicole Garneau was a real treat. I’m a tour junkie and the behind the scenes is always the most interesting ‘exhibit’ around.
- Visit Denver then took credentialed media around on buses to 3 breweries in Denver. As is their style, they take good care of us as guests and the bonus of Ed Sealover as our guide sealed the deal.
- Book signings at GABF itself were good – both Thursday and Friday nights. The opportunity to meet with and talk to people who know the book holds real (ROI style) value is always gratifying.
- The big World Premier Book Launch party at Lannie’s Clocktower Cabaret, with my venerable crew Diane, Dave & Marty, was a success. Our partner in this event was Ska Brewing – pints up to them for ‘getting’ there’s something to this. T’was fun to have a crew of Ska peep present & participating.
- Wrap it up by attending a Brewers Association Press Conference – super useful insight – and then a special session of Paired – beer & food pairing at the GABF – and you’ve got quite the week!
- The cherry on top was a radio interview with Gary Valliere, American Craft Beer Radio, Saturday, as we eased on down the road home.
- People met, reconnections with friends and colleagues, many conversations & a few beers, books discussed signed & sold. It’s all part and parcel to my world in the beer community.
What was your week like?
- Are you a professional and in some way selling or marketing beverages to women?
- Do you want more high-value customers?
- Do you understand the value of both building more long-term customers AND professional development for you and your team?
Then call Ginger today at 515.450.7757 to register for your seats at this exclusive event.
VIP Professional Marketing To Women Seminar
Date: Thursday November 10th, 6 – 8 pm
Please join us for cocktail & beer hour + hors d’oeuvres between 5 and 6 pm. The program will start promptly at 6 pm. We recommend you arrive by 5:45 to settle in.
Location: our friends at Immortal Spirits, Medford OR
Agenda of The Evening: Based on the newly published book, How To Market Beer To Women: Don’t Sell Me A Pink Hammer, this singular groundbreaking-book seminar is designed for beverage pros who want to develop and hone their customer service and selling skills. The program will go through specifics in the book, you take note and makes notes in your copy of the book, and walk out of the event with Real Useful New Insight to apply to best sell beer to women.
This seminar is designed for beverage and beer brands, brand representatives, beverage marketers and operators, distributors and importers, retailers and restaurants and bars that sell 21+ beverages.
You get a custom menu 3-course delicious dinner prepared exclusively for you, for this event. Our fine friends at Immortal Spirits are planning a menu to include beverage and food for each course. It’s one of my Third Places and they make stellar spirits and pour delicious beers.
Why Should You Attend: Because women buy 75-85% of all goods & services in America. Because you want to sell more beverages. Everyone who sells adult beverages needs women. Women want these drinks. This exclusive seminar connects the dots, giving your company a competitive advantage over those who do not attend.
Registration required by end of day 11/9/16
SEATS ARE VERY LIMITED. Call today to reserve your seats (payment in full saves your seats; registrations are non-refundable once purchased.) And frankly: you should be there if you’re in the business.
Investment: You’ll more than recoup your entry fee of only $99 per person. The ROI will happen quickly when you apply what you learn at this seminar and from the book in totality.
If you love your beverage, if you want to sell more, if you respect women as the world’s most powerful market then plan on joining me for this incredibly high value event.
THIS WILL SELL OUT. Call today 515.450.7757
The videos we’ve been posting get you started…reserving your seats assures your increased success. Talk soon.