I Think We Can Do Better

“I think we can do better.” – Julia Herz, Beer and Food Summit, CIA, St. Helena CA 2015

Julia’s a wise and savvy person. And I agree with her entirely.

We all have the power & tools to be better.

We all have the power & tools to be better.

I know we can do better to invite women into beer. I know we can do better to describe beer flavors and attributes. I know we can do better to explore pairings of beer and food together. I know women can pull a chair up to the table to get involved. I know beer brands must be fully respectful to everyone they wish to sell beer to. I know we can do better in so many ways.

Doing better means you have to have a mark in which to see what ‘better’ means.

So if we think, say, pairing  beer and pizza is good, I’d say – we can do better. Let’s look at focusing in from the way too generic Beer and Pizza to something like Porter and Crimini Mushroom Pizza. That’s better.

To pair beer and cheese: we can do better by pairing not just any beer and any cheese. We can use a great resource like Janet Fletcher’s Cheese & Beer book to educate ourselves and learn to match flavors.

To market beer: we can do better by universally assuming full respect for all people, all makes, models, identifications and preferences. Who cares what all those ‘things’ are when what the human population simply craves togetherness. Let’s do better by getting together over what is universal: flavor.

We can do better. And we can do a bit better every day. In the interest of continually improvement, we can all do better when we realize that doing better makes the world better too.

Doing better means one thoughtful action at a time, adjusted to be better. Try it. Have fun, see improvements domino.

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How To Market Beer To Women

Fresh Books Here!!

Fresh Books Here!!

Hear Ye Hear Ye! Read All About it!

  1. Women Enjoy Beer
  2. Women Drink All Kinds Of Beer
  3. Women Enjoy Beer For All Kinds Of Reasons
  4. The Book Is Finally Available!
  5. Order A Fresh Copy Today By Calling 515.450.7757 (available online post 2016 GABF)
  6. World Premier Launch Party Seats Limited. Details Here (Lannie’s)

Get your copies today.

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Book Announcement: How To Market Beer To Women: Don’t Sell Me A Pink Hammer

 

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.”

bonus_imageOn 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.”

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Craft & What You Like

Craftsperson = attention and dedication to consistent excellence.

To each, their own.

To each, their own.

What is right = what you like, what your customers like

Clever + smart is only good if it’s appropriate and respectful to all.

Clever + smart is not good if it’s offensive to any.

Attention to quality is success.

Keep an open mind, like what you like, never judge.

Craft is a very individualized definition for each of us.

Women enjoy beer.

Diplomacy is queen.

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Are You A Personal Check?

What’s it feel like to be excluded?

Unable = choice. Everything is possible.

Unable = choice. Everything is possible.

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?

Checkmate.

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Hiring A Female Brewer Isn’t The Point

Hiring the right brewer is. No matter the gender, hire the right brewer.

I get plenty of calls and emails from people who think they want to hire a female brewer; to, you know, get more women into brewing.

Excuse you…what???

I’m always encouraged and simultaneously nauseous at this thought; that someone wants a female brewer as a token of gender parity. Here’s the crux of the issue.

  1. Women have always been involved in beer; the idea of a female brewer is not a new one.
  2. Women as brewers does not automatically exonerate an entire industry flagrantly negligent at proactively bringing more women up and into the industry.
  3. It’s got to start at a childhood level. Female children need to actively see and experience that the beer world can offer a worthwhile career, and not just to be a brewer.
  4. There’s a whole world of purpose in beer, for livelihood and recreation. We must include females and women of all ages in every single beer conversation to make gender equity progress.

Don’t be offended if I send you this link when you tell me you want to hire a female brewer, and can I make some recommendations. To this request, I’ll tell you:

  1. It’s about the qualified person, not the gender of the people who are qualified.
  2. Inclusion must be pushed and actively managed through every age and stage of human development. Think I’m overstating it? I don’t.
  3. Ask yourself: why do you think you want a female as a brewer? Do you also want a female as a ____? Or a male as a ____? Would you pick the wrong person in any role if you could help it? Do you look at other beer roles with the gender lens? If so, stop it. That does more damage than good. This isn’t about affirmative action – it’s about equity starting from birth.
  4. We must ask you a question....

    We must ask you a question….

    Would you call an Asian person to ask for a recommendation for an Asian brewer? How about an Africa? Or a transgender? No, I’m not being flippant or disrespectful. I’m being real. To qualify only on gender is  a mistake.

  5. There’s a very fat fine line to this entire idea: Yes, more women in beer would make it a MUCH better industry, hands down. And we must start at the beginning, not look for panaceas or bandages to slap over the sexism and problems the industry robustly has with gender inequity (if even supposedly inadvertently, though I don’t buy it).
  6. We can change the entire industry in a very short time span. We can fulfill a much more gender equitable bill of lading, have a more realistic population representation within 5 – 10 years with everyone speaking up, and bringing up qualified people of all makes and models. This includes cleaning house of poor current employees, no matter their orientation.
  7. Who said anything about gender having to do with talents, skills and potential?

So – if you ask me if I can recommend a few qualified females, would I help you find a female brewer – the answer is no. I’ll turn it around to ask you why a woman? Why in that position? And what have you done for the last – oh, say 20 years to promote gender parity overall?

Once you can reply to all of those, we can talk. Otherwise it’ll be empty, hollow and misguided (however ignorantly considered).

Everything is possible. More women in beer has gotta start with each and every one of us. And it doesn’t start with finding a female brewer.

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Hey Beer: I’ve Got The Solution To Your Problem (Yes, You Have A Big One)

To all the beer pros out there: I’ve got the solution to your problem.

Before I get to it, I’ll identify your problem.

  • Problem: You’re only actively addressing less than 50% of the global population when you put together your marketing plans to sell your beer.
  • Problem: You’re not seeing what other retailers and businesses see right outside their own immediate world.
  • Problem: Active -ism’s are being intentionally practiced which repel enormously valuable market share & customers.

Here’s the Problem: You don’t know how to market beer to women.

Beer companies of all sizes have big problems: They don't know how to market to women.

Beer companies of all sizes have big problems: They don’t know how to market to women.

Yep, its true. And everyone’s got the fever.

And there are solutions everywhere!! I’m writing my first book to this end – a guide-book on How To Marketing Beer To Women, since so many, frankly, stink to high heaven at it.

Being in business means knowing what you’re getting into to a certain degree, its knowing you have a boatload to learn – all the time – about being successful & seeking the help you need. It’s knowing who the heck your market is BEFORE you sign the lease, hire staff, and open the doors.

Women are the worlds largest human population. Women make the vast majority of spending and financial decisions in the household (regardless of make up of members). And women like favor.

So – when you’re ready to solve the problem, starting with your business (yes, everyone has it – don’t think you’re immune), call me. I can help.

Women everywhere are waiting.

 

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What (Beer) Defines You? What (Beer) Doesn’t?

If you were to fill in the blank below*, what would you write?

If I was a beer, I’d be _________________. And I’d never be _________________.

(*brand, style, flavor, whatever and however you define beer)

This idea gives me pause thanks to Jim Sullivan for the inspiration today. He asked this question of the audience at the TRA last year, where I was also speaking. ‘What defines you? What doesn’t define you?’

So many beer enthusiasts proudly wave the snob banner. The best banner to wave is the diplomacy banner.

With the 'Sullivisionary' in Texas.

With the ‘Sullivisionary’ in Texas.

Diplomacy is so much better, productive, and progressive than any snob banner would be, I’m miffed as to why anyone would claim to be a beer snob.

Who wants to hang out with a snob anyway!? Perhaps only other snobs… I don’t know but it sure ain’t me.

Plus, as an open minded beer enjoyer, I want to try everything I can to see what’s available. It’s a tragic error for anyone to turn down any beer they’ve not had – regardless of all factors – unless they’ve tried it in the last month. How do you know you won’t find a brand new friend you can wait to enjoy again if you don’t try it?

Answer: you can’t.

So you allow your taste buds to go without something that could have enlightened, pleased, and delighted your entire sensory system.

Diplomacy reign supreme.

If I were to fill in the blanks above today*, here’s what I’d tell you:

If I was a beer, I’d be the fresh one you bring over for dinner. And I’d never be stale.

*qualified with “today” – it can and likely will change, as I hope it does for you.

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Changing Perception

“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.

2015 TRA Marketplace Panel

2015 TRA Marketplace Panel

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.

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Creating Believers: Beer & Chocolate Tastings

“I used to be a beer racist, but you changed me.” – April A

Ninkasi’s Believer Red has long been a beer that makes me smile. Yes, it’s delicious. More importantly I really like the philosophy around the name: Believer.

We all want to believe in something and last night I made believers of new beer & chocolate tasters. April’s quote, my host of last nights event, nails it: remove your prejudice and simply fall into the possibilities.

Beer: Just Add Chocolate to pair.

Beer: Just Add Chocolate to pair.

As part of the annual Oregon Chocolate Festival, I deliver lively & tasty “Beer & ____” sessions each year. This year – my 5th year doing so – I also introduced what I dubbed the ClassPort. Everyone who attended all three of my tasting sessions over the course of the Friday – Sunday weekend event was eligible to win a complimentary private beer & chocolate tasting; they got their ClassPort stamped at each class.

Three people dedicated themselves to the task (!) and I ended up giving away 3 sessions. Why not!? They made the time and participated, I love engaged guests, and it’s fun all the way around.

Last night I delivered the first of the three private tastings to 8 game and mostly unfamiliar-to-this-concept folks. Suffice to say minds were changed!

Here’s what I find are 3 of the consistent surprises when people put beer and chocolate together.

  1. Most people have never even thought of putting beer and chocolate together, never mind attended an actual planned tasting event. The element of Surprise & Delight is on my side!
  2. The tasting first of the beer alone, then the chocolate alone, then the two together is a good pattern for the S & D factor. “Wow! Who Knew? Really??” are all rallying exclamations from guests.
  3. Since beer is so incredibly diverse, it’s easy to blow minds multiple times with however many courses you choose to feature. I planned 3 last night (menu below).

The next time you think of beer, think of chocolate.

The next time you think of chocolate, think of beer.

Then invite some friends over and make some new believers out of them.

Oh – and Ninkasi beers, by the way, make great choices. I’ve featured them many a’time with success. Choose the beers and chocolates you like, mix and match, and simply have fun exploring.

Discovery awaits!

Menu:

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Book Writing & Beer Size

When I put forth the 2012 Women + Beer survey, I was still pretty new to the idea of effective research. Sure, it’s easy to ask questions. Folks like to answer and talk about themselves.

The knack is to ask the question you’re really wanting people to consider and respond to.

One of the questions I asked was: Does size matter for your beer?

What I should have asked was: Does size of serving or strength of alcohol matter?

What I got was a whole avalanche of input and insight that was so much richer than I had intended, and happily so.

In working today on the chapter draft covering that question, I am reminded that specific is terrific (with a nod to Mark G for that gem). Specificity is critical in doing research for a number of reasons.

  1. Being specific will provide critical focus to your work.
  2. Specificity will make it easier to move forward with other specific queries – one step and specific question at a time.
  3. It allows for elimination, which, in research, is really a helpful concept too.
Yes, size matters...in context and with explanation and specificity.

Yes, size matters…in context and with explanation and specificity.

As I keep writing this draft, it’s both entertaining and re-educational to read the hundreds of replies to that age-old snicker-inducing question: does size matter.

You’ll have to wait for the book (due September 2016) to read the whole thing. Suffice to say a qualified “yes” is the answer. AND you have to have the context around it and what “yes” actually means, since there are qualifiers for yes’s and no’s.

Stay tuned. And in the meantime, enjoy the beer you like, in whatever serving size & strength you like. Doing so with friends makes life taste even better.

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My Take: NYT Article On Beer Ads + Women

Read this: Beer Ads That Portray Women as Empowered Consumers, Not Eye Candy.

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.

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What AB InBev & MillerCoors Are Still Missing

“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!

Women + Beer: Still so far to go.

Women + Beer: Still so far to go.

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.

  1. 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.
  2. Women want and deserve full respect in all aspects of life, beer included. Wise up and you’ll see your share increase and grow.
  3. It’s the 21st century. Though concerning stuff that comes out like this, it may as well be the 1400’s.
  4. There are 3 Universal Truths of Women and Beer. Cruise this site for that info – it’s free and available to all.
  5. 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….

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Specific Is Terrific!

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.
Women & beer holiday tasting event

Women & beer holiday tasting event

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.

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Why Target Marketing Works

“As usual….I am inspired by your attitude!  I just watched your [TEDx] video, incredible.  I too fight the gender equality issue in our business but we women (with the help of our male technicians) continue to educate our customers that we too have significant value in what we know in regards to your ‘technical question’.
Cheers and congratulations!
Best,
Kim”

Know your market.

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Rules of Beer Engagement

Craft is a hot, hot, hot word right now, particularly in the beer world. On the one hand, some care. Passionately. On the other, who cares? I don’t. I want a fresh delicious beverage I can sip to me delight. I don’t want to hear your rants and raves, your denigrations or high faluting opinions or judgements on high. So just call beer what it is: beer.

If you’re a buyer and consumer, I’d encourage you to consider your habits with the following Rules Of Beer Engagement:

1. Focus on flavor first, not style. What flavors do you enjoy, across beverage and food? Find those and get to know them, well. Identifying flavors at their base will help you move towards beer (and food) you enjoy. It’ll better enable and empower you to ask for what you want which is better for the breweries, retailers, and distributors as well. Specific is terrific.

2. Keep an open mind. Indeed, an open mind is the every best palate tool everyone can and should utilize. Saying you like this or that, saying that you don’t like that or this is closed-minded. Unless you’ve had serious repercussions of beer in your mouth very recently, then it’s time to try it all. Just as an open mind is a help, a closed mind is a major pleasure inhibitor.

Don't get upside down about beer - enjoy it for what it is.

Don’t get upside down about beer – enjoy it for what it is.

3. Enjoy what you like and support whomever is drinking with you in what they choose. In fact, try what they’re drinking and share what you’re sipping as well. If it’s been more than a month since you tried a certain beer your friend is now sipping, try it again. Our physiology changes in various ways as we age – so beer of days past will not taste the same as it does today.

4. Be a diplomat, ditch the snobbery. Diplomacy changes the world for the better. See number 3 above. Supporting beer includes supporting freedom of choice, reserving judgment (who the hell needs that anyway!!??), and fully embracing the moment.

5. Craft is 5 letters connected together. That’s it and that’s all. Any remaining parameters, lines in the definition sand, and boundaries are only on you to put up or leave down. I suggest not labeling your beer. If the product is well crafted, if care has been taken in the manufacture of beer, then it matters not the quantity made. Small isn’t the antithesis of big; it’s a sheltered view of the world and only encumbers your bee enjoyment.

Beer is meant to be enjoyed, shared, savored, and consumed. Doing so with an open mind and diplomacy will more than expand your taste buds – it’ll expand your world and make you a welcome member of society at large.

I want to hang out and get to know people who are open. If you’re one of them, give me a call – let’s go for a beer.

 

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Embrace The Taste

“It takes a lot of guts to learn in public.”

This is so true. And yet who cares…

When you’re learning about anything, a certain level of initiative is required. Take beer for example.

Beer is universal. It’s also attracted a pretty astounding amount of attention from consumers and media. The sheer number of breweries open and opening, the vast array of choices of beer on menus and in stores, and the avalanche of flavors can quickly cause overwhelm.

So what’s a drinker to do? How do you learn about beer in a comfortable and easy way that fits your style?

Rest easy, my friends. Because the idea of learning about beer is as relaxed as you wish it to be, as formal as you want to gussy up for, and the beer itself is very forgiving as a teacher.

Follow these steps and you’ll be mighty fine.

1. Close your eyes and take a deep breath. Do this 3 – 4 times before you open them and begin tasting beer. Clearing your head for any exercise is key to starting with a fresh and receptive brain.

2. Make sure the glassware you’re trying beer from is clean, “beer clean” as the industry calls it. The foam lacing needs to stick to the sides of the glass, which indicates there is no residue (oil, detergent, sanitizers) on the surface of the glass. If the foam doesn’t stick, send the glass back or rewash it if you’re doing this at home.

3. Use my concept CAMFA to guide you through the tasting: Color, Aroma, Mouthfeel, Flavor, Alcohol. More on the concept can be found here.

4. Taste 3 to 4 beers per setting if you’re really wanting to embrace the taste. More than 4 can easily fatigue your palate, especially if you’re unused to extended tasting experiences. Have a glass of water to sip on between, as well as unsalted crackers or bread to clear your tastebuds and mouth.

Enjoy frequently tasting beers new to you.

Enjoy frequently tasting beers new to you.

No matter what you try, enjoy them all for what they are. Preference is different from experimentation. Tasting naturally begets an array of flavors, some you’ll embrace and some you’ll leave alone. All the same, the purpose of tasting is to expand your mind with your palate and appreciate beer as a whole.

Doing this exercise can be more enjoyable and engaging with friends. If you do taste with friends, ask everyone to remain silent until you’ve fully experienced the beer; don’t allow comments to color what you think about it before you’ve had the opportunity to really consider your beer.

Above all – enjoy. Beer is simple, fun, and meant to be social. Like what you like, respect what others like and become the diplomat the world needs.

Cheers ~

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Brought to Task

Occasionally someone challenges me when I bring Pink and Girls to task as it relates to being used in the beer world.

Make no mistake: The use of girls in relation to women and beer is unhelpful, damaging, and not clever.

By definition a girl is a female child, under the age of majority, and sometimes used in an offensive and denigrating manner.

You want equality? Don't call women 'girls.' They aren't.

You want equality? Don’t call women ‘girls.’ They aren’t.

Those who wish to stand up and crow about it being okay are not okay. Feminism is the goal of equality for all – and women intentionally calling themselves girls thinking they’re clever and that they have the right to do so are pushing the cart backwards, whether they want to recognize it or not. Equality will not be accomplished by calling women girls when it suits a certain few.

It wasn’t girls liberation, it was women’s liberation. And plenty of women have and continue to die for equal human rights based on our gender.

I absolutely fail to see how using girl where women should be used is in any way shape or form acceptable. Plus I challenge you back: Tell me how progress can be made by calling women ‘girls.’ No such thing.

Calling women girls lessens their full value as human beings. It doesn’t help reduce domestic violence, it doesn’t help reduce battery, it doesn’t help reduce the symptoms of the 23% wage gap, it doesn’t help get rid of the rampant objectification of women everywhere. Go ahead – tell me it’s okay to call yourself a girl and then want to be treated with full respect. Seriously, it’s unbelievable to me how women defend their position and desire to be called a girl.

And for the record, were not talking about femininity here. That’s different.

If you want to rant, go for it. Go do it somewhere else. I’m not interested in anyone – especially women – defending women being addressed as girls.

I believe in gender equity. I believe that everything we call ourselves matters – in every forum, that the use of colors in reference to a gender is out of whack and I’ve no time for women who will stick their chest out to accuse me of not supporting women.

Get over yourselves  and your attitude and get with the equity program. Women are women, they aren’t girls, chicks, babes, broads, gals, or anything else. They’re women.

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American Craft Beer Week

What is Craft to you?

Actually the best definition or parameters to me are to make something that is well crafted. With a nod to my friend and colleague Marty Jones, paying attention to the care and creation of something is far more important than an end label. I hate labels and much prefer and endorse a wider lens.

Cheers!

Cheers!

When you put though forth – before the process begins – when you craft something with care, then I can support that. To simply label something if it fits with someones definition (wherever they chose to come up with it) isn’t holding any water for me. What if the product fitting the definition definers is really poor quality, what if it’s sexist or ageist or racist? Does that still allow it to fit. With a blanket label, yes it does.

That’s a bad deal to me and negates some of the authority of the self designated governing body.

Craft can be whatever you want it to be to you. It’s like art. And good taste. And delicious. We can only define those for ourselves.

Cheers to well crafted goods, products and services. I can live with that – so happy American Craft Beer Week, and whatever it is to you.

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The Cred of TED(x)

“We’d love to hire you, but you don’t have any experience.” – too many potential employers to count said to fresh college grads post interviews for their first jobs

“Really…you’re speaking at a TED(x) event? Well, let me see what I can do [now that I know that]…” – a few prospective clients, yet uncommitted

Ever had one of those experiences above happen to you?

What is it about credibility? What is it about supposed experience in doing something that makes the selection of someone who has not done the requested task or attempted feat all the sudden credible and desirable?

Is this starfish less credible as a starfish since it's out of water?

Is this starfish less credible as a starfish since it’s out of water?

Fresh out of college, I remember hearing that first line too much. Why are you telling me this? If you were interested enough to interview me, and go through all those hoops to do so, why did you just waste my time and yours and get hopes up only to tell me you had no intention to hire me in the first place? It’s wrong to set someone up for that kind of scenario – in all directions and for many reasons.

Innovators and explorers didn’t interview nor ask for permission. They went for it.

As a soon to be TEDxNapaValley speaker (4/12/15), it’s baffling to me that when I mention that I’ll be speaking, new found interest rears it’s head. Really, they say….well, that changes things.

How? How does it change things when one minute before we were talking about the issue I called you about, and now you’re interested. What shifted? What changed in those short 60 seconds before I shared that nugget with you?

Exactly nothing changed.

What changed in your mind is that I now have some sort of mystically attractive element. Now you want to see what them choosing me was all about. Now I’m credible.

It’s fascinating and maddening all at once.

And I’m the same person I was 60 seconds ago.

It’s like beer companies and the sales within the industry which are starting to happen more, and more publicly. The beer isn’t changing. In fact if the “smaller” company is being bought by a “bigger” one, then the beer quality may likely improve. Small isn’t where credibility lies. Credibility lies in the execution of vision of the people in the organization.

The cred of ted. I’ll circle back post event to let you know how it went and share the video.

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