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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Another Big Success at Big Beers Fest

Many thanks to all of you who supported the recently completed Big Beers Belgians & Barleywines Festival in Vail, Colorado USA. As anticipated, it was a smash and a ball, thanks to the vision, hard work, logistical magic and mojo of many.

Guests doing a pledge with me at Big Beers 2016

Guests doing a pledge with me at Big Beers 2016

It was with great relish I was invited to return and present again – so that I did. Here’s the link from my session, Wandering Around The Kitchen with Ginger. Great crowd (you know who you are!) and super helpful and fun volunteers to boot, guided by my Fine Husband as well. Preparing and sharing food and drink is at the top of my happiness list in life.

As I promised the room full of folks, here’s the menu I served.

My original menu was entirely different, with fully prepared dishes. Alas – one of the powers that be sent down orders from on high at a very late hour, so – being nimble, I switched to fit a whole different set of parameters. Can do.

In the bigger scheme of things, I pride myself on being nimble and being able to change with the flow. Everything is possible and I was there to take care of my host, the Festival and founders first.

prepping the mushrooms with Dragon's Milk

Prepping the mushrooms with Dragon’s Milk

Wandering around the kitchen is descriptive of how I approach and navigate my food & cooking world. It’s overflowing with opportunity, ideas and shiny things to try. I do wander…through my fridge, larder, recipe books & files, brain, and the stores I visit. It’s one great big tasty adventure and I fully embrace it.

A number of attendees who sought me out afterwards told me they would have never thought to use beer for rehydration or that they don’t usually eat mushrooms but they tried them and various other comments. Success is measured by participation. When you dig in, literally, then you achieve. When you let it pass, you negate discovery out of hand. Pity, really. Fun and exploration are so much more rewarding.

So thanks to the following for their help & assistance. See you again soon ~

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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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Paving The Global Beer Path

The partnership helps “pave the road through the world.”

– Ron Lindenbusch, CMO Lagunitas Brewing Company

When the fervent myopic voices rise against one business selling any part or all of their beer company to a larger entity, I say sit down and listen for a minute first.

Like Ron stated in his opening keynote address at the CIA recently, the channels that open up in a strategic and mutually beneficial partnership are incredible.

Regional, national, global. For businesses ready to jump into that stream, I say good for them! Success is everyone’s’ own definition and choice. And no one can or should be the judge of someone else’s decision to do so – or not.

I was applauding his address because of this and also his challenge of one association to limit the word “craft brewery.” Who’s to say what is and what isn’t?

To each their own beer.

To each their own beer.

Yes, size of beer business has a lot to do with entry to market and barriers inherent, as well as access to materials, position in line to get different goods and services, and marketing geography. The first part of the equation must be quality. With a quality product, everything is possible. Partnerships with global companies enable access to a world of more possibilities.

Plus – and I think this is a funny twist – most people jump down the throats of the Big’s, saying they bought them out. We forget: the Big’s only buy what’s available for sale from the sellers. So we must make sure we also state the smalls sold. Not sold out – that’s a short-sighted insulting concept to say the least. If you like a brand and support it, to me the continued support regardless of ownership does not transplant what the original brand is doing (until proven otherwise).

Support your local brewery. Support the breweries you like and drink. Welcome everyone to the table. Diplomacy is Queen.

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GABF 2015

This year will be the first after 4 consecutive years that we will NOT be attending and vending at the Great American Beer Festival.

2015 GABF WEB Crew - what a ball!

2015 GABF WEB Crew – what a ball!

Thank you to all the supporters, buyers, conversators, and friends we saw the previous 4 years.

Thank you to my remarkable crew members over the years – starting with my Captain Diane, right hand for 2 years Emily, Sarah, Darcie, Lisa, Jammie and everyone….t’was a tun of really rowdy, robust & productive fun!

Last year the booth was situated beyond our control in a really crappy location – the set up made it very difficult for visitors to get into the booth and many simply didn’t wait. I don’t blame them – and had voiced my concern to the organizers well before the fest, and at the fest…with no changes. So it was time to be done. Communication should have been way better well before hand from them to be clear as to what the set up would be, since it was dramatically different from years previous.

I know they’re dealing with growth. And there are such things as limiting the festivals’ size; growth doesn’t always mean ‘bigger.’ So we’ll remember fondly the previous years and move on from here.

Just a few goods left - like these Men Enjoying Women Enjoying Beer cool fit shirts...order yours today.

Just a few goods left – like these Men Enjoying Women Enjoying Beer cool fit shirts…order yours today.

We’re closing out all our first quality goods – the only kind we ever got. And you can shop here – now. Women’s & Men’s gear. Quantities are limited – when they’re gone, that’s it! It’s a great time to stock up, get a few gifts for yourself and for others.

Again, our thanks! We’ll be in Colorado next for the Vail Big Beers Belgians & Barleywine Festival, January 2016. Come see us then, there.

Cheers ~

Ginger

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Client Thumbs Up

“Hi Ginger

Yes, business is good …

We are closing on a location for our first taproom. It is exciting and very scary at the same time!  Believe me, I have all my notes from your seminar about marketing to women and they are very important to me.  For example, the restrooms are going to bright, squeaky clean, warm, and every detail will about it such as the artwork on the walls will be reviewed by the panel of women advisors I have put together, as you suggested.  As a second example, I can’t wait to start the women-only Introduction to Craft Beer Seminars after we open.

Cheers and best wishes for a wonderful long weekend,

B”

 

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How Women Enjoying Beer Got Started

Whatever you can do, or dream you can, begin it. – Goethe

When I started Women Enjoying Beer almost 7 years ago, I had no real idea what I was plunging into. Here’s how I share the story.

About 7 years ago I looked around and wondered, “why don’t more women enjoy beer?” What was that all about?

I had been getting to know the beer community, specifically professionals ala some various relationships and friends. They seemed like really engaged, fun, smart, and progressive people. People I wanted to be around.

Having already reinvented myself a few times, digging into something totally new wasn’t foreign nor scary to me. Why not!? The road less traveled may be paved with whatever you perceive gold to be…let’s give it a go.

So go I did. I started Women Enjoying Beer by submitting 2 proposals to the Brewers Association to speak at their annual Craft Brewers Conference. Lo and behold they chose one: What About The Other 50%?! addressing and Serving the Female Beer Consumer.

That acceptance had me hightail it into research mode to talk with and listen to women across the greater Midwest to get this party started. With the help of connections, family and friends, I lined up close to a dozen female only focus groups. After the first one, on a random Tuesday night in February in Central Iowa, I moved expressly into qualitative psychographic info; no stats or quantitative.

For a few reasons, this was absolutely the wise choice.

1. People are more comfortable talking about sex than money and earnings and so forth. Not asking what we’re perceived as very private questions (income, ethnicity, etc.) made it much easier to get responses from women everywhere. They wanted to talk about their emotions, feelings, experiences – all the psychographic input that forms our decision-making processes, conscious or unconscious.

2. I like this data way better since it’s really meaningful. Quantitative data have been measured; it’s static and cannot change. You can change the world with qualitative psychographic input. It tells us how people thing and therefore we can act on that in a forward fashion.

Boston: locale of my first ever Women Enjoying Beer talk, CBC 2010

Boston: locale of my first ever Women Enjoying Beer talk, CBC 2010

After those first dozen groups had been completed, I went into compilation  mode. Whoa. Let me tell you: research is a lot more work that I had anticipated. I have a much greater respect for getting it right, being accurate, creating questions which get to the core of the issue (and not your own agenda), and putting it all together in a cogent manner.

I learned a lot about women too, quickly.

Once the conference rolled around, I was very excited to share my findings. Packed room, inquiring minds, and an extremely fast 60 minutes whirled by as I spoke at that fateful conference.

Since that time, almost 6.5 years ago, I’ve still found Women Enjoying Beer to be the only independent business studying the relationship women have with beer. It’s been invigorating, frustrating, and incredibly interesting to say the least.

Onward we go at this point, 7 years in.

Here’s what we offer for services, as the only expert in this field:

1. Speaking. Keynote addresses, banquet entertainers, conference and workshop seminars.

2. Internal and external education and training.

3. Marketing, brand and image advisement.

4. Label and menu review and insight.

5. Consumer insight on women + beer that no one else anywhere, ever has had.

6. Entertainment.

7. BeerRadio. My live weekly radio program for 4 years.

I started the business because I saw an opportunity. No one had thought to study women and their relationship with beer before. We offer insight you literally cannot find anywhere else on the planet. What a ride it’s been.

Call me when you want to get it right with women from the start. What we do is smart marketing. It’s asking, really listening, and then formulating success as part of your foundational business plan.

Making beer is a passion – and it’s got to be a business. If it’s “only” a passion, homebrew. If you want to take it to the world, make it a business. Call us when you make that choice. The investment of the worlds foremost authority is well worth it for you, all the females walking the earth, and your commitment to making beer.

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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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Let’s Start With Your Nose

When you smell something, you are experiencing orthonasal olfaction.

When you taste something with your mouth, you are experiencing texture, mouthfeel and aroma in retronasal capacity.

Nicole (c) & Lindsay (r)

Nicole (c) & Lindsay (r)

The universe that is our senses is different for every single person. Truly remarkable. And that makes it all the more remarkable that we can relate to each other – through what we perceive to be commonly  accepted terms of smell and taste.

In April I had the mind expanding pleasure to take in a talk given by a whole panel and beer & science folks. The two I want to highlight today are Lindsay Guerdrum, Sensory Analyst at New Belgium Brewing Fort Collins CO, and Nicole Garneau, Denver CO Museum of Science and Nature (here’s Lindsay talking up sensory; here’s Nicole’s TEDx talk).

Wow.

What blows my mind is the science of taste and smell – something most of us take for granted. The wonder team of Lindsay and Nicole provided enlightenment, whet my appetite to learn more, and was highly entertaining. And the more you’re entertained in an educational setting, the more you retain.

Like they stated, “gluttony is not glorious.” I’d posit that enjoyment, moderation, savoring, and sharing is where the glory is.

So start with your nose…

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The Victory of Cross Pollinating Education

Fresh from the breathtaking beauty of Whistler British Columbia, I’m reminded of the great importance of cross-pollination.

Cross pollination in nature creates hybrids, cross breeds, and new varieties. We’d be wise in all aspects of our lives to include the idea of cross-pollination, especially in business. Here are a few reasons why.

1. Since the majority of my business world of the last 6+ years has been beer oriented, it’s so incredibly refreshing to be part of a totally different world (Mountain Biking) at a conference (keynote speaking).

2. The ideas that flow and move around the rooms are valid in so many ways and applications; no one industry owns information. It’s better shared and reformulated to suit new situations.

3. A simple change of faces is enough to invigorate and restart the juices. “New” people are waiting to meet other new people – you and I – so it’s a set up waiting to be taken advantage of.

4. The connections of education and people, location and experience gives our brains new ways to deal, think, and move forward.

by the way...I rode downhill for the first time here too!

by the way…I rode downhill for the first time here too!

A year + ago I decided aloud that I wanted to expand way beyond beer. It’s actually a thought I’ve had for some time – and several clients have been not of beer all along. This invite to present and be part of the Whistler Bike inaugural conference was a perfect springboard to return to that pool of thought.

People at the conference found my relationship to beer fun and certainly the good vibe went around, appropriate jokes were made and that made the whole thing all the better.

Find an educationally focused event to attend that has a relationship to what you do in some way. For me here, they want to get more women into the mountain biking world via digital media marketing (hence my topic). It was with eager and open eyes and brain that I embraced the invite and I’m so entirely happy I did.

The outdoor sports of the world say it best: Get Out There.

p.s. Sheng Li means Victory in Chinese

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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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Benefits Of Having Your Beer In Communities

Fresh from the 2015 Craft Brewers Conference and soon headed for the Craft Beverage Expo, here are 5 reasons why beer – and perhaps your brand of beer – is good for communities.

1. A beer production facility is good for local economics. The equipment, infrastructure, and relationships a brewery creates is real money for towns and cities. Find ways to support your local breweries like contacting your mayor and council to tell them as much.

2. Beer has always been a family oriented beverage. If we look to America in the 1800’s, we see a huge immigration of hard-working people who moved to the country to realize their own dreams; many of them were to open and operate responsible breweries. Those bucolic images of families on the lawns? Many came from the biergartens of Europe.

Beer = good for communities

Beer = good for communities

3. Beer makers pay serious taxes. Said another way, those who make beer are willing to pay taxes to do and make what they love. They pay an additional tax – excise tax – that few manufacturers have to.

4. Beer brings people together. As a highly socially oriented beverage, beer is best enjoyed in the company of others. People in groups are pretty good at self moderating, watching out for each other and tempering potential ill effects of alcohol.

5. Beer complements food – and therefore the restaurant business. With 4 primary ingredients to start, beer is a flavor pairing opportunity waiting to happen. It’s fun to mix and pair, match and try.

For those who are scared of alcohol in general or turned off my beer in specific, reconsider why you feel that way. If you’re and adult and can make up your own mind, choose to support beer. You don’t have to drink it to enjoy the positive benefits.

In moderation, with the true goal of enjoyment and not drunkenness, beer brings a great deal to our communities in America and the world over.

Cheers ~

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Making Beer Education Happen

What would have to happen and what would have to be true to make education happen?

In the case of women + beer: simple opportunity.

Ginger & Roger, founder of Prud'homme, in Toronto

Ginger & Roger, founder of Prud’homme, in Toronto

Opportunity and education combine to form a powerful purpose and progress. When you combine them they will generate positive synergy and get more women into beer. Here’s how.

  1. Women and men all enjoy flavor. Educate about flavor first, not style or brand or anything else. Flavor is where it starts.
  2. Create and provide opportunities for women to learn about beer. Single gender events, when done correctly , are incredibly successful. For females this means no pink, girl/gal/babe/ladies/chicks. For men this means no macho crap, sports themes or tools.
  3. People want and seek out educational opportunities. Make them happen. Whether you give tours for 30 minutes or 4 hour classes, education feeds the hungry mind.

Beer education has been heightened by various programs. With a nod to Cicerone and Prud’homme, these visionaries behind the value and progress education generates have bred a whole new batch of businesses bringing high quality opportunity to the masses. This is a good thing, as Martha would say.

Education. Opportunity. Two things that will move us forward. Like I say, love and money comes and goes – education lasts forever.

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Half the Population Is Interested in Beer

What would happen if half the population disappeared?

IMG_3070Well, for one thing, beer makers would struggle if not flounder. See the thing is, is that beer is made all over the globe by women and men alike. It’s drank everywhere far and near, no matter where you are. And to eliminate women from the beer equation would spell doom and failure.

  • Fact: Women enjoy all flavors and kinds of beer.
  • Fact: Women have always been involved in beer.

Over half of the global human population is female. Really.

So it’s time to beer makers, retailers, and distributors to really SEE what they’re missing. Women.

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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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If You Think You Can

If you think something can be done a certain way, go make it happen. – L. Fogelman

  • What’s holding you back?
  • What will make you dig in?

If you’re waiting for a safety net, you’ll wait til you die. Don’t wait that long.

The key to leaping, is that you have to LEAP. Then the net will appear. The leap is both literal – taking action, and figurative – mentally engaging. Letting go to move forward.

What do you have that has the sizzle to it? – L. Fogelman

Use your sizzle to move you forward. Sizzle only happens when you apply heat. Action. Movement. Fire.

Go make something happen today.

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Travel, Travel Everywhere….Upcoming Happenings Including TEDxNapaValley

Join us for the following upcoming workshops and events.

  1. Oregon Chocolate Festival 3/6 – 8/15

For the fourth year running Ginger has been invited back to conduct beer and chocolate tastings at this flavor filled festival.

Saturday: 1 – 2 pm featuring Oakshire Brewing beer + Dagoba Chocolate Sunday 2 – 3 pm featuring Standing Stone Brewing beer = Dagoba Chocolate

Pouring BeerIt’s a pleasure to fill the rooms, provide lively education about beer and chocolate as edible partners, and be at the lovely historic Ashland Springs Hotel. Fest founder and organizer Karolina and her crew put forth a worthwhile, relaxing and delicious event.

Full details can be found here.

  1. Ashland Chamber of Commerce Business Workshop 3/11/15

Dana and the team at the Ashland Chamber are putting on an afternoon of 3 business-focused sessions – full details can be found by clicking here.

Ginger will present Say What?! 10 Do’s and Don’ts To Amplify Your Marketing. Members and non-members are encouraged to attend.

  1. Business Builders workshop #2: How Goal Setting Is Killing Your Success.
IMG_2804

CiderCon Chicago 2015

Fest Ginger at Taste small Gail Oberst Powerhouse Loren Fogelman and Ginger have partnered for this big value series, with Loren leading this session. Words of Wealth started the series and #3 will be Pow!! Right in the Wallet, the Power of the Customer Experience lead by Ginger 4/9/15.

Info and registration information is available here.

  1. WESO Showcase 3/12/15

WESO is all about supporting women business entrepreneurs. For the 13th year in a row, their signature Showcase event is happening in Medford, OR and welcomes women and men who want to keep growing their business endeavors. Set up for successful education, networking, fun and support of a local charity, this free 3-hour event will be chockfull of value.

Agenda and details are here.

  1. TEDxNapaValley 4/12/15

Ginger is thrilled and honored to be among those selected to present at TEDxNapaValley 2015. The theme of the event is Redefining Success and she’s speaking about how Gender Equity supports the theme. Hosted at the Napa Valley Performing Arts Center at Lincoln Center, 14 speakers will be presenting.

Tickets and full details are available here.

  1. Marketing Beer To Women 4/14/15

Delivering signature and singular research data on the female consumer, Ginger is conducting a action packed info filled education session immediately prior to CBC this year in Portland, OR. All people and businesses that realize the enormous impact the female buyer and consumer has on the beer industry should register and attend this event. Limited seating.

Sign up today with this link.

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