How To Market Beer To Women: Don’t Sell Me A Pink Hammer
This morning I sent an email to all 252 Women & Beer Survey responders. The input they provided helped form the foundation of the book, How To Market Beer To Women: Don’t Sell Me A Pink Hammer.
Do you know a woman – or are you one – who replied to the survey? Then, thanks.
The original survey was 50 questions in length. That’s a good amount of time sitting in front of the computer, entering your thoughts and opinions. See, this survey is qualitative – it’s ‘messy’ data. It’s all opinions, thoughts, ideas, factors in our decision-making. I love every moment of reading and interpreting it as well.
Qualitative date tells us the Why behind the action. It’s a critical, oft neglected part of research. I’ve heard some people who work in various data collecting companies say that gather this kind of data is hard and unwieldy. So? It’s the most important stuff. Only knowing statistics – what has been measured and leaves out the Why – is to leave out a huge part of the picture.
The book was a 7 month intensive investment for me. It forced me to set aside other work & revenue generating activity. I had to think seriously about doing so, since I’m my own business. Everything I do affects the top & bottom lines. I discussed it with my family to ensure I had their support (I did).
It’s with pride that I am now crowing about and carrying around the book to show and sell. Many people have already expressed an interest, several have purchased it. You can buy it here online now and yes, we absolutely ship internationally. Women & beer are everywhere. That’s an easy request to fulfill.
Be in touch when I may be at your service: education, consulting, speaking on women, women & beer, beer & food. Workshops, pro education, media & press requests, and consulting. Book events, both public and private, are happily executed as well. Thanks.
Ginger Johnson Releases Trailblazing New Book on Marketing Beer to Women
Founder of Women Enjoying Beer Debuts Book During GABF Week
Ginger Johnson, founder of Women Enjoying Beer, is releasing a comprehensive new book that instructs beer-industry companies on how to properly market beer to female consumers.
The book — How to Market Beer to Women: Don’t Sell Me a Pink Hammer — is a first-of-its-kind and valuable how-to book for the modern beer industry. The book’s insights are based on surveys Johnson conducted with female beer drinkers and Johnson’s eight years running Women Enjoying Beer, the nation’s only female-focused beer marketing company.
Johnson hopes the book will help fix a shortcoming in the beer industry.
“I wrote this book,” Johnson says, “because beer companies don’t completely & respectfully market beer to women. They are ridiculously overdue in realizing they must reach out to women with a dedicated effort. It’s not about pinkifying – that’s pandering. It’s about acknowledging with full respect that you want female beer drinkers to be your customers.”
“Women in America make 75-85% of all purchasing decisions,” Johnson notes, “and they can make or break beer companies. So it’s time for beer makers to retire the old sexist and juvenile jokes and get serious about beer and women. When beer pros and businesses get it, they’ll tap into a huge opportunity.”
On Thursday, October 6 and Friday, October 7 at 6 PM each night in the festival’s bookstore area, Johnson will sign copies of her new book at the Great American Beer Festival in Denver.
Wednesday, October 5 at 6 PM, Johnson will discuss her book at Kokopelli Beer Company as part of the brewery’s Women’s Wednesday series. Kokopelli is at 8931 N. Harlan St. in Westminster, CO.
Johnson’s main event for her book release takes place on Friday, October 7 at 1 PM at Lannie’s Clocktower Cabaret on the 16th St., Mall in downtown Denver. Johnson will conduct a “Beer Marketing to Women 101” class at this event and read excerpts from her book and discuss its findings. Admission is free and limited to 100 people.
Ska Brewing Company, Durango Colorado, is a major sponsor for this event. “I’ve long believed in Ginger’s work and message, that’s why we’ve worked with her before. We’re very glad to support the reason for this event: betterment for the whole beer world,” states Kristen Muraro, Ska Brewing Events Coordinator.
In many ways, How To Market Beer To Women ($49) showcases what Johnson has learned since starting her trailblazing company eight years ago. “In 2008,” Johnson recalls, “I looked around and wondered why more women weren’t enjoying beer like I was. That moment was the catalyst for my company and it has driven me ever since. The enjoyment of beer has been foundational to the development to the United States, and it’s a damn shame the beer industry has yet to fully recognize and address women as beer enthusiasts.”
A growing number of craft brewers have benefited from Johnson’s expertise and research.
“Let’s face it,” says Hugh Sisson, founder of Baltimore’s Clipper City Brewing, “the Craft Beer Industry – the beer industry in general – has tended to overlook the female side of the market. Ginger Johnson is not only adept at educating brewers to open their eyes to this under-served market segment, but she also gives brewers practical ways to reach this enormous audience.”
What’s it feel like to be excluded?
This clipping shouts NO WAY loud and clear. So imagine if you’re a check. Or a woman. Or whatever… Communication that states you’re distinctly unwelcome is discouraging at best.
As I get close to completing my first book on marketing beer to women, this little slip of paper I have kept for a few years seems to have jumped out at me today. “Use me!” it screamed….and aptly so.
Some establishments that serve beer welcome women. In fact some don’t look at “who” at all. Kudos to them.
Others judge us when we walk in; female, male, whatever. And that sets an unhelpful, disrespectful tone which holds us all back – and very much on purpose. If you’re plainly advertising that some element of society is not just unwelcome – that you’re excluded on purpose, then hell. It’s time to immediately turn around and find an environment with open arms.
Last week I was delivering a very lively and interactive presentation on the customer experience. At one point I told the audience, “Look – change is coming at you every day, no matter what you do. You may as well open up your arms and welcome it.” With a big nod to Mike who shared this brilliantly right insight years ago, it’s so damn true.
The choice to adapt – aka Change – is yours. The choice for beer makers, sellers, and purveyors to welcome women is theirs. Yes, we can scream bloody murder, we can rant, rave & protest.
Change will happen when the powers that be realize that change is marching forward whether they want it to or not – and then open their arms.
The place where I got this snippet of paper is closed today. While it might perhaps be a stretch to say their demise was based on not welcoming personal checks, I do believe that any time you choose to put up barriers to customer engagement, you’ve intentionally shot a hole in your own balloon.
Besides, checks are still very easily navigable at your banks. Sign your name, cash it – and then deposit the cash. (props to Mike Wagner for that tip). No risk, all deal, easy. Plus they’re not “unable” – they’re choosing not to. Big difference here.
Welcome your customers and how they transact. After all, what’s next after no checks?
As I am entering the final few weeks of (at least one stage) of writing my first book on women & beer, I am running across some super fascinating and distracting insight. Women have graciously provided insight, opinions, and ideas for almost 8 years on their relationship with beer.
So today the word and concept Local is on my mind.
- What does local mean to you?
- What does it include and what does it discount? Why, for both, for you?
For the book, I’ve worked on expounding on 10 fundamental questions from the original 2012 Women & Beer survey. The one that inspired this post is question 10: What does a beer company, restaurant, bar or distributor have to do to get you to buy from them more than once?
The connection and reply to this question is that a handful of women indicated that they’d return if the establishment carried, made or sold local beer.
So what does this mean – what exactly is local beer? And why do women want it?
This is where you come in. I’d appreciate your own opinion and reasoning to this query.
It used to be local meant down the street, in the same town and otherwise grown or made by someone nearabouts. Then it graduated to 100 miles; then 300. Now…well, to each their own definition (much like ‘craft’).
Is local better? Is it worse? Does it matter? If so, how so? If not, why not?
Thanks in advance for chiming in. I’m always interested in your thoughts. Cheers.
p.s. the book is due mid September 2016, a guidebook to marketing beer to women…stay tuned!
Pints up to the fantastic & very good sports who joined me for a bit of performance art at the TRA Marketplace show last week in Houston, Texas.
I was lined up to give two What’s Hot In Craft Beverage sessions in their recently expanded Craft Beverage Pavilion this year (gave 2 last year too). In plotting the sessions, I thought: “Let’s invite some of the terrific exhibiting businesses.” So I reached out to 4, 3 reached right back, almost immediately, and I invited them to join me on stage.
Props to the following guests who sat with me (check out the TRA’s Facebook page [TX Rest Assoc] for the recorded sessions). Here’s a bit about them. Follow the links to learn more.
- Sasha & Juan Sotelo, Triple S Michelada – yum yum yum! Check out their story and enjoy their super flavorful beverage as a stand alone drink as well as a mix choice.
- Zack Silverman, Kelvin Slush Company co-founder. When’s the last time you had a slushie??? How about one with delicious enhancements? They had 4 refreshing choices – I sampled them all.
- Paul Imbesi, NAB representing Barritt’s Ginger Beer. Of course I noticed this right off the bat. And Paul was a fun and gracious guest, sharing the unique story of how he helps bring Barritt’s to the USA.
I’m always grateful for people who are willing to interact – sometimes even when they’re unsure of what’s going to unfold. As a presenter, I have to be ready for anything, and prepare for everything. Having guests bolster a simple talk skyrockets the value for the audiences and begins very fun and fruitful relationships.
The gist: Invite others to work together. It’ll add so much enjoyment and purpose to your work. All my guests we’re easy to work with and guide and I appreciate the hard work they all do, day in and day out. Props to their colleagues too, for tending the booths while we were in session (Helena, Nick & Rodger – this means you!!).
One post-show thought for me to all of this: I’d gladly invite them again, and I’d welcome working with all of them. They are sharp, interested in making a true difference in the beverage and restaurants communities and in their own lives. Doing what you love drives a lot of success.
- Who’s got it? Women.
- Who knows it? Women. Some men, a few beer brands.
- Who needs to know? All the others.
Here’s the deal: I got a notice for an art show recently that had only 1 woman with 4 other men. Why, I ask?
This is totally avoidable. So what did I do? I have written a letter, to go out in the post this week to voice my concern.
Marketing power is developed and held by those in the marketplace who have some form of leverage. In the case of women and beer, women absolutely make the majority of purchasing decisions and they need to speak up more to eliminate sexism in beer.
Write letters – paper and pen type communications – that aren’t easily ignored or deleted. Make phone calls (vs. emails) and insist on speaking with the people who set the course for the company and those who make the marketing decisions. Ask them direct professional questions on anything you find objectionable and sexist. Listen. Keep challenging when you find they seem to not listen.
Sometimes it’s easy to be eaten up by the negative vibe that sexism is. That said, we all can and must turn it around to make it work against the very problem it is.
Like I stated in my TED talk: Stand Up, Step Up, and Speak Up. In this case I wrote up – you can to. I encourage you to do so: start this week with one letter. Be sure it’s civil, succinct and not a rant. That’ll just push everything back.
We’re all responsible for developing and defining our own power. To women & men everywhere: speak up when beer is sexist. It’ll make a world of change. We all deserve better – so does the beer. Thanks.
“It’s different to talk about beer with a beer savvy audience than it is to talk to a non-beer audience.” – Julie Johnson
Julie is right. And that lesson is on my mind a lot these days since I’ve got a variety of non-beer (focused, yet included) work coming up soon.
The Texas Restaurant Association is one such audience. It’s a thrill to be returning to the nation’s second largest restaurant industry show to talk about marketing, beer, and business.
Julie’s quote above will help guide me to success as I keep a few things in mind.
- All of us in business need marketing guidance; no matter where our beer education is.
- Beer has much to teach us in the business world, like how important it is to savor the experience.
- Marketing is critical to success of all kinds, no matter tax-status or locale or size of business entity.
When I head to Houston in a few weeks, I’ll be delivering a few talks: Beyond the Deep Fryer Better Beer & Food Pairing for Better Business Success as well as What’s New Right Now? in craft beverage.
Clearly the titles have been set…and to paraphrase my friend Marti, I’m ready to direct the talk where ever the best direction seems to be, outline or not. The audience always knows more of what they want to know, than I can surmise. So it’s really important to me – as an educational speaker – to take care of the questions they brought with them. I can always send a follow-up outline to attendees afterwards.
The show hosts thousands and thousands of people, hundreds upon hundreds of vendors, and dozens of speakers & events. It’s important to me – as it is the attendees – to invest our time wisely and give & get what will provide value and meaning.
Beer invariably infiltrates talks I give, including my TED talk. I bring it into the conversation because it’s part of who I am. And I’m aware that the TRA crowd will be interested insofar as whatever beer insight I give them will help them improve and build their businesses.
I could talk about marketing all day long – I love it. The TRA Marketplace is be an ideal opportunity to integrate, overlap and connect the dots. Sound hospitality business includes smart marketing; if you hold a license to serve, then knowing about beer and how it affects your success is also important. I combine both, for varied audiences, with success.
Speaking is an activity and work I truly love. Making sure the audience can relate and find useful takeaways is my goal. Call me when I may be at your service in this capacity. ‘Tis always a pleasure.
Going Deep into your Marketing Strategy & Tactics.
The What, Why, How, When & Where of Building Your Marketing Success.
Call me today through June 14th to save your seat (payment required in advance to save your seats). Want one for your business? We can do that – call me 515.450.7757 to set it up.
A few of my most sought after services include:
- Full Day, All Out! Everything is possible when you hire me for a full day of work together. We can do one-on-ones, groups meetings, talks, classes, media & press appointments….you name it, we can likely fit it in.
- All inclusive rate: $2500 + everyone present will get a copy of my book when it comes out this fall (September) as a thank you gift.
- Speaking – Marketing, Marketing to Women, Connecting (how to meet the people you want and need to meet), The Power of the Customer Experience, Beer & Food pairing and tasting, and Cooking With Beer among available topics. Interactive, entertaining & meaningful. (I can deliver my TED talk as well.)
- Rate: depends on audience size & scope, $750 – $2000 + everyone present will get a copy of my book when it comes out this fall (September) as a thank you gift.
- Marketing Coaching program – We get started on this 6 month program to amp your efforts. We begin with an in-person 2 hour in-depth session where we cover all the ground you want, supported with weekly half hour calls between monthly meetings (long distance works well for many in this program too). Ground covered includes marketing expertise and guidance, strategy & tactics, and business development. This can also cover honing your ‘pitch’ and brand and image review.
- Rate: $600/month, 6 month commitment + everyone present will get a copy of my book when it comes out this fall (September) as a thank you gift.
- Discovery Session – One time BIG boost of ideas, logjam breaking, and ideation on business topics you want to discuss – including marketing expertise and guidance, strategy & tactics, business development.
- Rate: $400/per person + everyone present will get a copy of my book when it comes out this fall (September) as a thank you gift.
If you want more topic choices, email me and I’ll send you full Service menus.
This offer is only available on a first reserve, first get – as of right now through end of day June 1st. Call me NOW to book it (I’ll send you an invoice & Letter Of Agreement to reserve the date).
“Well run places have clean bathrooms and well organized cellars.”
– Dan Goode, SteadyServ
Dan’s right. Clean bathrooms are a litmus test which can tell you, as a customer, how dedicated the owners and operators are to the beer.
Well, if the bathrooms are clean, if everything in the restrooms is in working order, then that directly correlates to the care given to the brewhouse and making beer.
Have you been to a brewery, brewpub, or tasting room and been impressed with the cleanliness? There’s a huge likelihood, then, of those same folks having clean and tidy bathrooms. Do the stall latches work? Great – I bet all the butterfly clamps in the brewhouse are working too.
Why? Because every detail matters to them. From the temperature of the air to the toilet paper dispensers being full to the lack or dirt in the corners to completely clean walls (no mold growing) in moist environs.
Cleanliness is the #1 factor in running a solid brewery, hands down. Cleanliness is one of the top factors female beer enthusiasts do and will notice in a beer focused establishment. It’s an easy factor to get right: be diligent, regular in maintenance, and keep it together.
Since I’m in the midst of writing the Women & Beer Guidebook: How To Market Beer To Women, bathrooms cleanliness comes up once again. (p.s. that’s still a working title…)
As both my editor Julie and brewer friend (and beta chapter reader) said, ‘we still need to talk about this?‘ Yep. As long as there are dirty bathrooms, women will equate them to, well – what else could or is dirty if the bathrooms are? As easy as it is to keep them clean, it’s equally easy to be lax and let them go. That’s why we’re still talking about this.
Make your commitment complete: Keep your bathrooms clean, your cellar organized, and your patrons – especially the female ones – will keep coming back for more.
I had the distinct pleasure to be part of a panel at this years Craft Brewers Conference in Philadelphia this month.
Julia Herz, Brewers Association Craft Beer Program Director, and Abby Berman Cohen, The Rosen Group PR Firm, were my colleagues to inform, educate, and provide answers and ideas to a room full of beer folk.
As testament that marketing is a forever-desired topic and necessary part of business, the room was indeed pretty full (I’m guessing 200 – 300 people). When Julia asked for a show of hands for new, start up, and in-planning breweries to raise hands, a LOT of the room participated. Whoa.
With over 2 breweries opening every day in America, there’s a huge need for people going into any kind of beer business to get smart with their marketing plans. Here are 3 reasons why:
- With well over 4300 breweries in America already, the field becomes more populated every day. This makes the clarity of your marketing message and brand all the more crucial to survival.
- All breweries must have a plan. Because opening a brewery is a business like any other entity, you must plan to succeed. Marketing is part of the foundational planning.
- Marketing = communication, education. Knowing your market and desired target market needs to be done before any tanks are bought, leases signed, or beers brewed. You must know who you will sell to before you begin.
One statement I made in my remarks was that the days of ‘if I brew it, they will come’ are long lover. The public – all of us – are more and more savvy to beer now than we were even a few years ago, never mind 5, 10 or 15+ years ago. It’s a whole new landscape and people wishing to open breweries need to prepare their marketing plans in order to succeed long term.
Being a flash in the pan works for gold mining. All other endeavors need to understand the full and total value of developing a marketing plan to make a living.
If you want to make beer in your garage and give it to your friends, fine – go for it. That’s what home brewing is about.
If you want to go up about 5 levels to pro level brewing and open a brewery, then do everyone the best service – you especially – and become business savvy. Study up, find a partner who likes and is knowledgeable in business to help, or work for someone else for a while to learn and figure out a lot of the actual day to day operations in running a business.
The first year I presented at the CBC was Boston 2009, effectively launching Women Enjoying Beer. So it was enjoyable to be on the East coast again for the event.
Cheers to Julia & Abby for what they shared. When you want a marketing expert, advisor and coach for your beer business, call on me.
“If there’s a problem, it’s my job to change the perception.”
These were big words uttered by a long time hospitality pro during a very worthwhile panel at the 2015 TRA Marketplace. She said a mouth-full, for sure.
So how do we 1. know there’s a problem and 2. how do we change perception.
In keeping with this being a site on women & beer, I’d relate it to a huge problem being the misnomer that women don’t drink or enjoy beer. While millions understand that’s simply not true, millions and billions more seem to think (actively or passively) that is it true.
So how do we change that perception, knowing there’s a problem.
Wait – first you want to know how I judge there’s a problem? Glad you asked.
Do a quick online search of articles on women and beer, beer labels and sexism in beer and it’ll come at you with lightning speed.
The problem, Houston, is that we’re making much ado about an incorrect and damning stereotype. I can tell you for a fact – women enjoy beer. Women enjoy beer, they enjoy wine, spirits, cider, mead and sake…and everything else out there any one person can enjoy. Like Nancy Nichols, the author of the cited piece above said, “don’t view your sex as a factor.”
There’s a misperception that certain alcoholic beverages hold a lock on a certain gender. It’s a bunch of bladerdash.
Think for yourself and with your own brains and taste buds. If you run into a misperception – when you run into a problem with this thinking – set the record straight.
Ain’t so such thing as a woman’s beer nor a man’s beer. To thine own taste buds be true and we’ll all make progress breaking down the sexism in beer.
Last year about this time I found myself in a self-imposed experiment: watch the entire Superbowl from start to finish and really look at the advertisements between play. No pre-game show, thanks – it was enough of an investment for me to simply sit through 3 hours of American football.
I had asked the general public for volunteers who wanted to scope out their local beer retailers to make observations on the beer displays they found. Thanks to Joanna in Orlando and Leslie in Monterey among them for contributing their thoughts.
Overall their thoughts were what I’d call positive: no huge gender influence or sexism. YES! It’s a small victory for women and beer and I hope that continues for a long time.
What have you seen for beer ads so far? Displays in your grocers or alcohol stores?
So what was the result of my watchings?
Well, it was a large variety of companies and purposes. You can watch them here. The most profound one to me was the domestic abuse commercial, based on a real chilling phone conversation of a woman calling 911 – unbeknownst to whomever was in the house threatening her – under the guise of ordering a pizza.
They ranged from tax service companies to cars to TV programs to snack foods and, of course, ubiquitous beer ads. I loved this one from Reebok, as it was suited to the event and focuses on their core message and strength of everyone. Kudos!
As it stood, Budweiser was the beer sponsor of the event so it only makes sense to only see their ads. How much does an ad cost during the game? Find out here – and you better be sitting down.
What I was glad to observe was that, while there were certainly questionable ads as far as sexism goes, the offenders were other than beer. I’d give them a pass (the other companies) and say they were simply silly, wondering why they even put the particular ad up during Superbowl. Yet that would lessen the overall message of making sure sexism in all forms is banished and inappropriate no matter the products and services advertised. So I won’t.
A few head scratchers were:
- Why was there a male voice over for the female Paralympian Amy Purdy? Why wasn’t a women chosen?
- Why the sexed up animals in the tortoise and hare ad?
- No females in any of the car ads.
Women make between 75-85% of all purchases. Who’s forgetting this fact? A whole bunch of people working for a whole bunch of different companies apparently. Those who remember will see benefits far and wide in so many ways. Most importantly for building equality for all, the globe over.
The Superbowl is on iconic televised event – those advertisers could help change the world for the better by promoting gender equity and respect instead of the same old tired sexist forays. What an incredible opportunity for those who can see the forest and the trees!
If you decide to watch the bowl this weekend and want to share your thoughts on the ads, I’d love to hear it all.
I’ll thank my family (again) for participating in the exercise with me last year. It won’t happen anytime in the near future, though I’m sure I’ll still be curious about the ads as many of us are.
Then return to read my post.
I don’t yet have the pleasure of having talked to Mr. Schonbrun, since I was not contacted by him for this piece, and I’ve already ticked off some others. So be it. The voices of others not represented and fully acknowledged weren’t even included in this article: female beer consumers and buyers.
Here’s what I agree with from Mr. Schonbrun’s article.
- It’s good he’s writing about a topic which, sadly, should have been equalized millenia ago. I thank him for bringing to light a matter of gender equity. Yes, women + beer is about equity, not about beer at all in the big scheme of things.
- A publication of such note and influence internationally like the New York Times is a great place to share information, insight and knowledge.
- He contacted some interesting sources to cite and quote. Not knowing his record of accuracy in work, I’ll assume he’s sound in his practices to be accurate and careful. And I appreciate his efforts to seemingly accurately put forth with his sources shared with him.
I sincerely hope it gets a lot of people talking about how poorly beer represents women and I hope the many woman who tell others to “relax and have a beer” about this rethink their glib attitudes. Indeed, did they have relatives and loved ones in their family & friend trees who died in human rights struggles to so carelessly tell me to chill? More importantly I hope it moves you to action. Stand up, step up, speak up.
The article opens:
“For years, one of the main criticisms of beer advertising was that it tended to either objectify women or disregard them entirely. Marketers seemed to be too busy trying to appeal to the young male audience they knew would consistently drink beer by the case to worry about anyone else.
Now, that appears to be changing.”
As an impatient optimist, I’d like to believe this statement. However I’m skeptical. I’m skeptical by the fact that we’re still myopic when it comes to gender, that people still judge ability on sex when it’s such a ludicrous idea.
I’m skeptical because I know that companies everywhere, of all goods & services including beer, would be better off to throw off the yoke of sexism and embrace people of all makes and models as their potential audience. How could conditions not improve by opening minds to opportunity and education? That’s the crux of the issue here, not beer.
I’m skeptical because so many articles and pieces which influence thinking are monolithic. Beer isn’t monolithic, women aren’t monolithic, business isn’t monolithic and brands aren’t monolithic even though some of them have put way too many of their own eggs in one basket. Nothing is monolithic except true monoliths, like these. To lump everything of every category into one narrow window of definition is dangerous for everyone.
Skepticism is joined by astonishment as the article continues:
” ‘It was fine to show a frat party making fun of girls five or eight years ago,’ Mr. Adamson said. ‘But it’s ineffective and potentially damaging to do today.’ “
Mr. Adamson is the former chairman of the brand consulting firm Landor Associates. Let’s ponder his comments for a moment.
First of all, the actual definition of a ‘girl’ = a female child. It’s denigrating to have someone who is supposed to be in a position of impact and authority start off with a gross indicator of disrespect. Women & females are appropriate and full respect titles; girls are girls and they are different. It’s easy to get it right. He got it wrong.
Next, it was never ‘fine’ and has never been fine nor will it ever be fine. He’s telling the world that it’s okay to disrespect, dismiss, and in general dis women outright and accept and welcome the ‘frat party’ humor that reduces us all. Mr. Adamson needs to work at a women’s abuse shelter for a bit of reality of how much farther we still need to go to develop gender equity.
Enter David Kroll.
“The number [of female beer drinkers] astounded David Kroll, who became chief marketing officer at MillerCoors in July. “Disappointing,” Mr. Kroll said in an interview, “that we weren’t speaking to women.”
I find it astounding that Mr. Kroll, in this global role, is so apparently clueless to the true state of marketing to women. Maybe I’ll send him a copy of Marti Barletta’s book as education. How does someone inserted into the role of the head of a global brand company ascend with such ignorance? How can one be astounded when the fact is that females are herstorically over half of the global human population*? How can a massive business be so self-blind to the fact that women make 75 – 85% of all purchases, across categories? How is that even possible?
“The thought of being fully inclusive to women, when you speak to millennials, they’re like, ‘Yeah, duh,’ ” Mr. Kroll said. “In some respects, beer is just catching up to the millennial mind-set.”
No, Mr. Kroll. The reality is beer of all size isn’t paying attention to the full range of the drinking age population. See above*. All you seem to be concerned with is sticking to and trying to stitch & mend a brand which hasn’t changed with the times. Strong brands are always evaluating the landscape; many beer companies of all sizes continue to focus on the young male, which is foolish, short sighted, outmoded and will eventually sink ships. That’s your aha moment right there.
And then there’s this from Heineken.
“Heineken has recently appealed to “moderate drinkers” with a new ad that suggests modern women will be more attracted to men who drink less. The latest commercial, one of three since the campaign began in 2011, features women singing the Bonnie Tyler song “I Need a Hero” as they walk away from ostensibly inebriated men.”
Newsflash: Women who enjoy drinking beer don’t need men to do it or even sanction their own activities. That’s archaic thinking. And who the heck says women ‘need a hero’ in a man? (How do lesbians think about all this by the way?) This idea only perpetuates the ‘need’ for women to have men. It only underscores the inaccurate shoring up of the false ground that females need males. Women need to be strong women in their own right. The irony is that beer ads targeted towards men don’t indicate a ‘need’ for them to have smart women. Good grief! This just gets more ridiculous…
“Some brands have also introduced new products to attract women in recent years, though results have been mixed. In 2011, for instance, Molson Coors introduced a “bloat resistant” beer called Animée that came in different flavors and colors, while the Carlsberg Group created a gender-neutral beer called Copenhagen with a minimalist aesthetic that resembled a sleek bottle of white wine. Both were short-lived.”
This makes me want to laugh out loud – and laugh I must as the sheer idiocy of the apparent brand think of Molson Coors and Carlsberg. The key here is they are clearly NOT doing market research to find out what women of varied vantage points want from their relationship with beer. I’ve done 7+ years of qualitative research talking and listening directly to women all over the USA (with some international voices chiming in, happily) and it’s never once come from a women that she wants a “bloat resistant” beer. If Molson Coors, Heineken, Carlsberg, ANYONE wants to know what women want, they need to directly ask women with no brand influence to speak up.
The whole Copenhagen campaign – where did that come from? It would seem to me Carlsberg should have marketed that towards wine lovers if it was modeled after a “sleek bottle of white wine” (and does red wine feel left out here?).
If they did that, if they really asked women what they want from beer, why they do and don’t engage, they will find a treasure trove of insight – useful immediately impactful insight from women who are eager to be heard. And not lumped or grouped. It makes me wonder, do males resent being lumped in the frat party stereotype like many women hate the T&A?
The truly sad part of seeing this about Carlsberg is the fact that they have some brilliant marketing out there – wow!! It’s right on with humor, focusing on the beer, and really tapping into the beer drinkers enthusiasm. How did it go so drastically off kitler?
We are all more than the sum of our parts. We are our brains, our taste buds, our beliefs. We are all different and all unique and therefore this article is a real (good) slap in the face to get people thinking about women and beer.
“Anheuser-Busch, on the other hand, has had some success with its fruit-tasting Bud Light Lime Rita range since 2012. Hard ciders grew 13 percent in 2015, while other flavored malt beverages gained 10 percent, according to Nielsen. “
This paragraph seems to stand alone, perhaps by inference in its placement in the article the author is stating that ABI has been marketing the above products towards women; though I don’t want to assume. It’s an absolute ball of hogwash to think that women are first attracted to fruit & sweet and that they should be sold cider & FMB’s. What an insult to everyone’s intelligence to think that. It’s long been recorded that all humans go towards sweet flavors, base don our preherstoric need to survive, thus looking at caloric rich sometimes sweet food sources to survive. Clearly we’re way beyond that….or are we….? Let’s move on.
“When it comes to gender-neutral advertising, though, the brand consultant Dean Crutchfield says that Coors Light, which has long sought to portray a robust masculinity in its marketing, is taking a considerable risk.
“If you alienate your core, your credibility and relevance tumbles,” Mr. Crutchfield said. “It’s about your brand, your heritage, your past and your future. It’s been all wrapped around the males. To suddenly unwrap that, it does carry risk.”
First of all, where did the idea come from that beer has any gender to it at all? Women have long been the worlds brewers as well as consumers. We drank beer originally to boil away harmful nasties in water to make it safe to drink and somewhere along the way we developed the rut of think that Beer Is For Men. It’s illogical and unfounded. Secondly, we’re only doing a disservice to men who drink beer here as well. Really? Yes, really. If the pressure on men is that need to drink, guzzle and otherwise be the primary beer drinkers, then we’ve just shot a lot of flavor opportunities in the foot, as well as disrespected men in the process.
I agree with Mr Crutchfield in that alienating your core market is risky. That said, if the brands would have and would now recognize who is doing the majority buying and address that person, then they’d build their own safety net. Market share takes commitment to build, develop and nurture. To upend those who have stood by you is bad business. However it’s worse business to purposefully ignore those who are actually doing the shoring up of the brand: the buyers, who in this case and many, are women. Where the heck are you acknowledging her?
It isn’t sudden for women to be drinking beer. It’s been going on as long as here have been humans making beer. It’s not sudden to turn a corner to better market your brands to address, acknowledge and purse females in various ways. Risky – maybe, though it’s sheer stupidity by choice if you stay a course which isn’t working. Steer away from the rocks, find the open sea. Remember: none of this is monolithic.
Which brings us to Ms. Dougherty, whom I’ve read about previously.
“Britt Dougherty, MillerCoors’s senior director of marketing insights, says that women rarely self-identify as beer drinkers, and that beer companies have not done a good job trying to recruit them. According to Ms. Dougherty’s estimates, a more gender-friendly advertising approach could add from five million to nine million barrels to the industry’s sales in the United States over the next five years.
“It takes time to undo that baggage,” she said.
She really needs to get out and be among women and ask them how they self identify, because it’s obvious to me she’s not even doing that yet stating as much. She’s right when she says beer companies have not done a good job recruiting them, for sure! And – with a nod to Jackie – all beer companies are in this pool, size doesn’t matter here. We simply think the Bigs are guilty, smalls are guiltless because we see the wide spread campaigns of the bigs and not the smalls.
The Statement of Miff here is this: “We’ve represented a version of masculinity that wasn’t appealing to women.” Seriously. Why are you trying to appeal to women by marketing to men? That’s what this statement tells me and of course it’s absolutely the wrong tact. We don’t market tampons to men who care about women, we don’t talk about eldercare with teenagers with grandparents. If this is her vantage point, I’d be glad to meet with her over a beer and discuss.
And finally, to satisfy Ms. Dodd’s question of what I took offense to, here she is in closing the article:
“Jackie Dodd, who runs the popular cooking and beer blog The Beeroness, said she felt that craft beers, or microbrews, had always been about community and collaboration, including male and female brewers.
“I don’t think craft beer ever marketed towards women, they just valued them and that conveyed,” Ms. Dodd wrote in an email. “I’m not sure macro can do that, or even knows how. But if they can, more power to them.”
I’ve no beef with Ms. Dodd. As a comrade in kitchen pursuits, I appreciate her inventiveness and yes, Jackie, we are all entitled to our own opinions. So you get to respect mine like I’ll respect yours.
What smacked of incredulity is the fact you are using terms which aren’t helpful, in fact damaging, to the beer universe in general, macro & microbrews among them; ‘craft’ is a useful word in the industry but confusing and ill applied in the consumer world. Plus your so-called “microbreweries” are just as bad at sexism as any larger capacity brands. Take a quick internet search break and google sexist beer ads; tell me what you come up with and from which breweries of what size. I say let’s just call it beer.
And finally the subtle back-handed complement: “But if they can, more power to them.” Size has nothing to do with ability.
So, there you have my take. This was overdue in coming forth.
Thank you Mr. Schonbrun for your piece; please be in touch with me when I may be at your service as a singular resource with a much deeper pool of insight on women and beer. Same goes for all the others in the article. You’ve certainly fired up my resolve to keep at my endeavors to educate and enlighten. I’ll buy the first beer the next time we are in the same room.
Now, back to my book draft on women and why they drink beer…..onward. Cheers.
Yes, it’s that time of year again folks: The Big Beers Belgians and Barleywines Festival is kicking off this week in snowy gorgeous Vail, Colorado, USA.
Yours truly will be returning (queue the music please) to give a lively & info chocked beer & cooking session: How To Cook With Beer, Wandering Around The Kitchen with Ginger. It’ll be loads of fun, there will be tastes and tricks, tips & ideas for you to take home with you.
Laura & Bill Lodge, Sister & Brother Wonder Team, put together this world class event and I’m thrilled to be heading there again.
In 2014 I was invited to present for the first time – here’s the menu I made & served to the happily SRO room. Wow! Yes, please – sign me up for more. They do such a great job there’s a wait to be asked to return to present if you fit their needs.
I’m also hosting a Marketing Beer To Women Workshop, Pour it on! You can register here.
Laura knows I’m available at a moments notice for this one and anything she’s involved in. Great people usually = great events.
Hats off, pints up and skis on – see you in Vail!
Now, back to my kitchen…I’m fine tuning the goodies to be served with my 3 fan-taste-tical beers: New Holland Dragon’s Milk, Allagash’s Nancy & The Bruery’s Oude Tart with Boysenberries (is your mouth watering yet??)
‘Tis the season to pour a delicious beverage and tell people what you think!
If you’re a woman and have an opinion about beer, please contribute.
Here’s the link – and it’s easy to remember as well: womenenjoyingbeer.com/survey2015
Why are we doing this? In 2012 we put forth a 50 question survey – the first of its kind anywhere – for women to share their insights, opinions and thoughts on their relationship with beer.
Response was explosive! And I’ve started writing the (first) book with the insight. To make sure we’re still correct on much of the data shared, I’m offering this brief period for more to reply, whether new opinions or previous ones with an updated lens. Surveys will be accepted until December 31st, 2015.
It’s a quick 10 questions, fun to answer and all replies are very much appreciated.
Cheers & happy holidays ~
Ginger, Founder & Chief Everything Is Possible Officer
Ginger Johnson Marketing
Women Enjoying Beer
Women make 75-85% of all purchasing decisions, including beer.
Are you ready for the best business you can get?
Then come to this highly interactive and educational workshop with the industry expert and leader of women + beer, Ginger Johnson, and take away insight you can apply immediately for increased and improved business success.
With enormous possible market share development, smart marketing in the beer world requires examination of women as buyers and consumers. This entertaining and enjoyable session is well worthwhile to those who want to learn more about the Why Behind The Buy for women.
Content will include:
- 10+ Do’s and Don’t in Marketing Beer To Women
- 3 Universal truths of Women & Beer and why these matter to your future
- Highlights from 2014 report Why Do Women Drink Beer?+ other insight from the master survey of female consumers and their relationship with beer
- Fresh ideas on how to successfully market beer to women
- Answers to all the questions you want to ask!
Register today, limited seating available. Testimonials here.
- Friday January 8th 2016
- 2 – 4 pm, Jupiter Room
- Vail Cascade Resort, 1300 Westhaven Drive Vail, CO 81657
- In harmony with the Big Beers Belgians & Barleywines Festival
- Before December 15, 2015
- Single: only $99 person
- Multiple simultaneous 2+: $89/each
- December 16th – January 5th
- Single: $125/each
- Multiple simultaneous 2+: $115/each
At the door/day of (if there’s room): $140/each/cash & check
Call Ginger today to reserve your spots with credit card 515.450.7757 PST
Women Enjoying Beer is the only business on the planet dedicated to talking with women about their relationship with beer. Her first TED talk covered beer and women, April 2015. As a qualitative researcher, she finds out the why behind the buy and all the decisions making influencers of women + beer. Founded in late 2008, Ginger has been invited to present/be part of multiple international events including CBC, NBWA, Toronto’s Festival of Beer, SAVOR, Congresso Cervesa Mexico as well as many other industries’ conventions and events including the National Restaurant Association, CIA/St Helena, Whistler/BC Bike, and Texas Restaurant Association. Her BeerRadio program ran strong for 4 years, she’s featured in the award-winning documentary For The Love Of Beer, dozens of TV spots, and has written about and been included in many articles in publications including The New Brewer, All About Beer, IBD, and various beer and other industry publications.
“Objectification of women is going away,” said Jorn Socquet, AB InBev’s vice president of marketing for the U.S.
“We think the time is right,” said Britt Dougherty, senior marketing insights director for MillerCoors. “We’re going through a feminization of culture.”
These two gems were in this article published 12/12 by BloombergBusiness. I daresay, all of the people interviewed are still astoundingly ignorant in the world about women and beer.
I would also say that these hilarious and still damaging ideas are so off base it makes me wonder what some people in the beer world – from the very large to the extremely small capacity – are doing all day.
- Do they think women are a different species?
- Do they think women don’t have their own taste buds, brains and ideas?
- Do they think women are monolithic and one-dimensional?
- If you think all these things (per the above article) then do you assume all men drink beer?
- And who the heck do they think is doing all the buying??
The converse is just as much a part of the damage and regression as is the ill we’re discussing here. And I must assume the above is apparently correct since the article clearly covers the ostrich style “aha” moment they seem to be having.
Reading articles like this – once I pick myself up off the floor from laughing at how off the deep end blind they are – is overwhelmingly the reason why this business of Women Enjoying Beer is around and keeps going. We have so much to do!
So listen up MillerCoors and AB and all beer makers across the globe: here’s the truth from the worlds only & leading women + beer psychographic researcher.
- Women want flavor, just like men do. Taste buds and brains is what you need to target, not sex, foreplay, sophomoric images names & antics and outmoded ideas of women.
- Women want and deserve full respect in all aspects of life, beer included. Wise up and you’ll see your share increase and grow.
- It’s the 21st century. Though concerning stuff that comes out like this, it may as well be the 1400’s.
- There are 3 Universal Truths of Women and Beer. Cruise this site for that info – it’s free and available to all.
- The research we started conducting and gathering years ago is apparently the only authentic voice of the Every Woman and her relationship with beer. It’s not pink, it’s not f**k you attitude, and it’s really very straight forward. Hint: Start by asking everyday women first. They’ll tell you what you need to know, not what you think you want to hear.
So – to Ms. Dougherty and Mr. Socquet and all the other people in beer who still do not understand marketing women and beer, here’s your call to action. Call me, I can help you. Not only regain that precious 10% you’ve so rightfully lost by not properly marketing to women, I can help you make progress in the global market by successfully addressing women which will lead to so many positives; for you – selling more beer to the worlds most powerful market is one of those outcomes. And in doing so – in your reaching out, you will change the world for the better.
Here’s part of the deal: it’s always so terribly ironic to me that someone in an identified population, in this case female, can be so stupefyingly blind to the population they are related to (Ms D). And that those unrelated, in this case men, are so thoughtless to the members of the identified population they know (think – moms, sisters, aunts, grandma’s and the like) (Mr. S).
The last thing the world needs now is these incredibly outmoded, non substantiated ideas of women. As they relate to beer there are so many things we can all do to shatter bad and incorrect stereotypes and ideas. In my TED talk, I cover some of this material.
To everyone out there who wants more information they can use – I invite you to call me. That’s precisely what we are available for: to educate and move forward the greater good with the Women+Beer vehicle.
By the way, Mr. Souquet can “hope” all he wants: “Socquet said he hopes to capture more business from women with sweet drinks and colorful designer packaging.” How incredibly insulting and wrong you are. He’s going to fail miserably without getting outside whatever walls he’s put himself behind. This indicates a sheer stupidity and again ignorance of women’s intelligence and buying power. You might want to start job shopping, Mr. S….
In response to my monthly enewsletter sent from my GingerJohnson.com url, a curious recipient inquired:
“Here’s my question! “Women Enjoying Beer”. Is this a niche you want to create for yourself in the marketing world? Have you found this limiting in bringing in new potential clients because you are so specific? Since distilleries are coming more and more into play this area could be ripe for new marketing business from distilleries. What are your thoughts?”
My reply included the fact that I’ve had Women Enjoying Beer for 7 years now and it remains part of my businesses and pursuits.
- The word ‘Niche’ has always gotten a bit under my skin, though I know what the reader is asking and rightly so. Niche seems to minimize, to somehow make it feel frivolous and inconsequential. Quite the contrary.
- Women & Beer = universal.
- Women + Beer = change the world.
- Women + Beer = fascinating conversation.
- Women + Beer = progress for gender equity when done right.
You must have a focus for any entity, any tax status, any reason before you open doors to be In Business. My focus has been on women and their relationship with beer. As the industry pioneer in this endeavor, to talk with, listen to and gather the insight from women directly, I’ve found the entirety of input mind blowingly thought-provoking.
Limiting? No way. Hell, it’s been an explosion!! A population previously unasked (women) about a global fact of life in earth as a race (beer) has continued to gather attention, spur students, media & press to contact me & want to talk for a paper they’re writing, and still invites smiles from the unfamiliar when they see my logo.
I’d limit myself and opportunity for women everywhere if I didn’t ask the questions I do of women as it relates to beer.
Why do I do it? Because I want to know, who more women don’t enjoy beer. Because I know now it’s not about women or beer, it’s a much bigger scope and purpose. Because no one else has deigned to see the import of talking with the worlds largest global population about an everyday topic. When this happens – when there conversations happen – we open doors into all sorts of other concerns, issues and topics. It’s like tipping dominoes that can never return to a stultified position (thankfully).
Distilleries are certainly open to contacting me as well – as are wineries, cideries, book manufactures & authors, car makers, plumbers, insurance agencies, and every single other good & service. Marketing services based on our singular and proprietary qualitative psychographic research benefits everyone, beer enjoyer or not.
I can help all businesses who are serious about properly and successfully marketing to women.
It’s the big pictures made up of small pixels that change the world for the better. Women + beer = big picture = conversations that improve our planet.