Facing the (Female) Facts

Let’s face it, the Craft Beer Industry – the beer industry in general – has tended to overlook the female side of the market.  The point is not so much marketing TO women, but in making sure they are included in the party. Ginger Johnson is not only adept at educating brewers to open their eyes to this under served market segment, but in giving brewer’s practical ways to tap this enormous market potential.

Hugh Sisson, Founder and General Partner for Clipper City Brewing Co.
Brewers of Heavy Seas Beers

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CAMFA & American Craft Beer Week

CAMFA = an educational program developed by web which stands for Color, Aroma, Mouthfeel, Flavor and Alcohol.

American Craft Beer Week = celebration of the contributions of American craft brewers.

Declare your ACBW Beer Independence

Put the two together and VOILA!! It’s a winning combination. In honor of ACBW, as beer enthusiasts may call it, here’s a tongue in cheek new iteration of CAMFA, dedicated to ACBW.

  • C = Craft beer. While to some it may be a state of mind, there’s no doubt that well crafted beer of any sort is worthwhile tasting.
  • A = Assortment. With well over 1700 craft breweries in American and 600+ more on the way, the variety is incredible.
  • M = Moderation. Savoring the Flavor, as the BA promotes – as do we, is the key to truly enjoying your beer and the precious universal beverage breweries put into every batch.
  • F = Females. With under 30% of women currently partaking of beer AND with women making 80% of purchasing decisions across the buying board, now is absolutely the time to get them involved. They are the future of American Craft Beer.
  • A = Accessibility. With the majority of Americans within 10 miles of a brewery, there’s every reason to hop on your bike, scoot the skateboard and otherwise get your self to the local brewery with friends.

Supporting your local brewery goes well beyond you and them. It’s good for our country and the international community.

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In Search of: Women and Beer Groups

Women Enjoying Beer is beginning to compile a list of all the women’s groups enjoying beer.

What we are asking of you: Send us all info you know about women’s beer oriented groups you are familiar with, participate in, and are otherwise aware of.

Listen to Kate: Tell about the Women & Beer groups you know of!!

We see or read about them periodically and know it’s a purposeful phenomena that’s growing daily. Preferably the info includes as much as you can share (name/s of groups, contact person, phone, website, facebook, twitter, etc). These groups can be located anywhere on our small planet too.

Don’t worry about duplication from someone else or if you think we should know about the groups you share already: it’s a small world yet stuff slips through those damnable cracks. Consumer, ad hoc, temporary or permanent, professional, home brewing, has been or it coming up, etc. Any info on any/all groups that are female involved in beer is what we want to hear about.

Thanks for your help – this is an ongoing not to expire request.

Cheers to a big part of the future of Craft Beer: Women.

Ginger & Kate



Women + Beer = 13 Reasons to Engage Women In Craft Beer

Happy Friday the 13th! In honor of this day of superstition for some, mockery for others, we want to share 13 reasons why it’s important to engage women in craft beer.

  1. 13 Reasons for Women & Beer

    Women are interested in knowing about beer.

  2. Women will help grow beer brands that reach out to them respectfully.
  3. Women will talk it up – all good, bad and ugly parts of the brand (be ready!).
  4. Women outpace** men in using social media. **Read: A rapid fire way to communicating with and about your brand.
  5. Women enjoy engaging in social activities. Beer is social.
  6. Women enjoy learning new things.
  7. Women enjoy meeting other women.
  8. Women who already enjoy beer meeting other women who enjoy beer.
  9. When enthusiastic about a brand, women will bring more other people into it.
  10. Women make 80% of all purchasing decisions.
  11. Women are universal. You’ll find them everywhere.
  12. Women are equal contributors and participants in global society.
  13. Women are the future of craft beer.

Photo by Kate Parks

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Beer and Cheese, Together Forever

2011 Oregon Cheese (and Beer) Festival

Here’s a video clip from the 2011 Oregon Cheese Festival. Women Enjoying Beer had a great time and was approached by a few hundred enthusiastic women eager to know more about beer.

Thanks to Kate for her filming. Thanks to the oodles of women who are knocking down the myths.

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Getting More Women Into Beer = Treat Mom!

My Mom and I

It’s pretty simple, really, at its core…getting more women to enjoy beer.

Today is an ideal situation: treat mom to a beer. Take her out or surprise her in. However you decide to do it, engage Mom in beer. Pairing beer with food is a great place to start.

Like any segment of the population, not everyone in that segment will respond positively or permanently. The questions I’d ask you is this: How do you know mom does or doesn’t like beer until you try?

Me and Mom Mon-in-law

Remember there are literally thousands of beers available in the USA, and hundreds (if not thousands) more across the globe. No matter where you are, Mom’s are sure to be there too.

If your Mom is no longer around, then celebrate her memory and the other fabulous women you know who are moms – to kids, companion animals, to their loved ones and friends.

Happy Mother’s Day! My mom and mom in law included xo

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Is Your Antennae Up?

Do you know what you should be listening to? Are you aware of what people are saying? What they may be thinking yet don’t have an opportunity to remark on are aren’t confident enough to do so?

Can you see the future? Where's your focus?

It’s time to raise the antennae.

When you are paying attention and – better yet – looking forward, you can see the future. Or at least get a glimpse of what just might be around the corner.

Having all eyes and ears and noses open will allow you greater receptivity. For instance, I’m been amazed (happily so) this week of all the responses and ‘likes’ on this article on CraftBeer.com (thank you by the way if you liked it)

The amazing part is that so many people, both women and men, are commenting YET there’s still so much to be done. And even though people say “yea, yea…we get that”, they really don’t.

If they did, our phone would be ringing non stop.

The old adage still swirls because it’s true: Actions speak louder than words.

Raise the flag, pay attention and see what’s coming.

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HerStory & Ninkasi

back side of the Ninkasi Brewing gate

In homage to the pending Mother’s Day Holiday, WEB invites you to enjoy an excerpt from the Hymn to Ninkasi, the Sumerian Goddess of Fermentation.

Borne of the flowing water (…)
Tenderly cared for by the Ninhursag,
Borne of the flowing water (…)
Tenderly cared for by the Ninhursag,
Having founded your town by the sacred lake,
She finished its great walls for you,
Ninkasi, having founded your town by the sacred lake,
She finished its great walls for you
Your father is Enki, Lord Nidimmud,
Your mother is Ninti, the queen of the sacred lake,
Ninkasi, Your father is Enki, Lord Nidimmud,
Your mother is Ninti, the queen of the sacred lake.

Her name and contribution to brewing came up yesterday at our HerStory: Women in Brewing talk + tasting event.

Like our friends at Ninkasi Brewing affirm, Worship the Goddess.

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Beer O'Clock with the Beer Goddess

Lisa in the studio

Many thanks to the uber fun and beer smart Lisa Morrison, AKA The Beer Goddess. Lisa was kind enough to invite us to be on her Beer O’Clock radio program last week/end. What a treat!

Lisa’s been a beer enthusiast for a long time – and has been promoting beer for years with class, tact and style. She’s a really fun person to know AND she just launched her first book. I had the pleasure of being at her launch part last week in Portland when I was hanging out with Angelo, BrewPublic.

He invited me to join him at the party and it was lots of fun. In fact, we recorded the live weekly BeerRadio show that day in Portland, with Angelo as our guest too (archives here, Angelo’s show recorded 4.20.11 should be up soon).

Lisa’s new book looks to be chock full of good information and a good one to purchase, Craft Beers of the Northwest.

Cheers to Lisa!

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Why We Do What We Do at WEB

Have you ever stopped to look at the people enjoying beer? Meaning, have you paused long enough to look around and see what genders are savoring the beverage we call beer?

Addressing the 300 - 400 audience members in Boston, CBC 2009

Well, about two and a half years ago, I had reason to pause. Someone encouraged me to submit a proposal to the Craft Brewers Conference (for 2009). Okay – I thought. Great! Yet what do I have to offer the beer community that they will find of value? At that time WEB (Women Enjoying Beer) had not yet launched so, while I’m full of ideas all the times, I’d not considered a specific direction into beer as a profession.

So I sat myself down and said, “Self, what can you offer the beer community?”. Self set to brain dumping on the computer and before I knew it, two complete proposals lay before my eyes. One was “What About the Other 50%?! Developing & Serving the Female Craft Beer Consumer”. Alas! It was selected and Women Enjoying Beer was formed. 300 – 400 people showed up to hear more. Obviously it struck a nerve. Or at least made people curious.

What did I see at that point? Opportunity.

  • Opportunity to work with people I wanted to be around and had whom I had gotten to know. Knowing that who I am is what I do, I only wanted to put energy into something that was truly worth the investment of my life.
  • Opportunity to fill a need – properly marketing craft/beer to women from the consumers’ perspective – that no one else on the planet was doing.
  • Opportunity to support the rather remarkable craft beer community and progress women.
  • Opportunity to exercise my true passion for business, education, fun, and beer.

I’ve said many times that WEB is not about women and not about beer. That’s not totally true. Indeed, if the players at the table were already equally represented gender wise, it’d be a non issue. As it is, it is. So it’s time to address the 50.9% of the global population that is female and their relationship with beer.

Rainbow of change

What do I see now? An opportunity of a magnitude that is perhaps overwhelming to some. Not us. My colleague Kate and I get into it daily to progress the agenda of getting more women and beer businesses educated: it’s about beer at its core, education and the experience around beer and inviting a minority participant to fully engage. We’re the only one on the planet specializing in this arena: serving the female consumer and the beer community starting with her perspective.

What I see in the future is that women ARE the way to growth for the craft beer community. With 70+% of men engaged in beer and only 27% of women; with the craft breweries in the USA over 1700+ and breweries in planning 600+; with not wanting to cannibalize existing market share; with wanting to develop new beer enthusiasm. Women are the answer.

I see smart, responsible education and fun based progress. Women Enjoying Beer recently got our Registered Trademark from the US government. While some may shrug and say ‘so what’, we see it as another small validation of our goals, business, and increased future success.

Women are the future of the viability and success of craft beer. If you’re a business and you’re ignoring women intentionally or unintentionally, you are most certainly going to miss the boat. Female consumers must be brought in. Marketing and developing women to engage in beer…well, that’s everyone’s opportunity.

We know why we’re around. Why are you?

Written for BrewPublic, originally published 4.16.11 by the fabulous Angelo De Ieso. many thanks, beer friend.

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The Most Important Women In Beer Part 2: Non Consumers

When you think about where the growth and sustainability of your beer brand will come from, what comes into your head?

Yes, your existing market support may well maintain. Yes, perhaps men will help you out. We’re talking about new growth here though – looking beyond who is already buying your beers. Who do you see?

new growth is important

Adjust those glasses and realize that women are where it’s at for developing new market share.

Women who are not yet engaged in your brand should intrigue you enough to find out why they don’t participate (yet). Ask them questions, hold focus groups of non beer enthusiasts to find out why, and ask all your ‘regulars’ why they think their non beerophites enjoy it. More importantly invite those non beer people to come talk to you and tell you why.

There are as many reasons as there are people and there are definite patterns and habits. Patterns and habits and reasons can all be addressed WHEN you know what they are. If you don’t know how to mine this critical info properly, hire someone who can get it for you.

Direct insight from consumers and insight from females who are not beer drinkers yet has a whole university’s worth of value to you should you choose to want it and act on it for your brand growth and survival.

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The Most Important Women In Beer Part 1A: Consumers

Q: Which female consumers are the most valuable?

A: The one right in front of you

Why: Because the one in front of you hopefully has your attention. Because she’s the one that can ask you questions or provide feedback right now for you to use. Because she’s the one that can tell 10 – 100 other female friends about your beer. Because if it’s a good message she wants to spreads, she’ll share it with 100. Because if you don’t talk to her and she has a bad message to share and you aren’t listening or don’t heed her input, she’ll spread it to 1000. Because it starts and ends, one woman at a time with one beer at a time.

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The Most Important Women In Beer Part 1: Consumers

Who do you think your most important consumers are? Have you thought about it? It’s time you do.

If and when you do, because – yes, you should – know they are women. Yes, the guys are valuable too – however there is already 70+% of men engaged in beer. There’s only 27+/-% of women engaged.

Is that opportunity I hear knocking??

Marketing Craft Beer to Women Matters

So by the numbers, the sheer latent potential value of engaging women is HUGE. Would you like a bigger piece of the female market share craft beer pie? Then make a concerted effort to recruit, educate, invite, attract, not repel, and otherwise respectfully court the women of the world to your brands. Take that effort further to properly train and educate yourself and your staff about how the female beer consumer shops, what she wants from her beer and how to appropriately get your beer in front of her with respect.

Consumers will make or break all businesses. With an all time high (post prohibition) number of breweries in the US of A now open, and a record number in planning, beer businesses would be wise to pay attention.

Chances are good you have important females in your life already. And females are particularly well positioned to help you survive and thrive when you market to them appropriately since they make the vast majority of purcha$ing deci$ion$ (across all categories).

With a majority global population, women are the future of craft beer in the USA. They are some of the most important women in the world for you and your beer.

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All I Need To Know About Marketing Beer To Women I Learned From My Dogs

Hops, Ginger & Belle (OR Coast)

Belle and Hops and I put our heads together to offer you these suggestions today.

1. Listen. Women want to be not only heard. They want to be listened too. Real engagement of the senses that can help everyone learn and grow.

2. Observe. The smart beer businessperson who wants to market to women will sit back and watch, noticing a plethora of useful information and most likely generate more questions that need to be asked.

3. Wag a lot. Smile and truly welcome women to the beer table. Be genuine in your affinity for encouraging them into your brand with no falseness or insincerity.

Belle at the ready

4. Leave a bit of your brand in your wake, like dog hair. Be sure to ALWAYS carry and pass out your (appropriate) business card. Giving away small useful schwag items like pencils or stickers in exchange for their contact information gives them a goodie in reward for them sharing their (valuable) contact information with you.

5. Safety and Security. Treat them as high value customers. Protect them from stupidity, disrespect and inappropriate beer marketing.

6. Pride. Stand tall and be aware of embracing this huge group of the population that will – make no mistake – help grow and sustain your brand.

7. Acceptance. Happily accept whatever beer they happen to drink and then offer them an additional choice to try. Be a geek, not a snob. Beer in any form is still an entry into more different beers.

8. Acquiesce. Use tact and diplomacy freely.

9. Acceptance. Suspend judgement based on anything – color, gender, choice of beverage, size of glass, and so on. Be happy they are at your establishment and engaging in your brand.

10. Be thankful. Again, wag a lot and often. Be sure to express your thanks, genuinely and often to the female patrons who buy your beer and provide your living as well as support your passion. They’ll return the favor in spades when they know they are wanted and valued.

Know when to lie down

11. Know when to go sit or lie down. Step off and step aside when it’s in good taste and timing. Know when to be enthusiastic and when to graciously go away. You can regroup with new knowledge, learn and go in again.

12. Be happy and enthusiastic. Brands that are attractive to women are ones that have a positive message and angle. Brands that are arrogant, pushy, sexist, or otherwise a turn off will loose out quickly.

13. Be inclusive. All dogs want to play. Be sure you are inviting all women into the beer conversation. Throw out any judgments, assumptions and ideas you may have about her; she’s the one – follow her lead, accommodate what she wants to enjoy.


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Tips On Hosting Successful Women's Beer Events

As the industry leader in developing the female beer consumer from her perspective, Women Enjoying Beer wants to share some tips for even more successful women’s (or any for that matter) beer events:

Give away small goodies. We give away goodies at every event we do and it accomplishes a few things.

  • TOMA – they remember you and your brand long after the event
  • Engenders a fun “I got something extra” feeling which is good for your brand too and long lasting.

Ginger & Mike Rybinski

What to give?

  1. You’ve most likely got a few small somethings to give away. They don’t have to be big or schwag – they can be tours (even if they’re free, private ones are coveted), free glass of beer, etc.
  2. Fresh copies of beer magazines. You know there are always plenty at shows/festivals – pass them forward.
  3. Gag gift. I know award winning brewer and erstwhile bingo leader Mike Rybinski gives away ‘worthless trinkets’. Brilliant! Who cares what it is – ‘it’s mine and I won it’ is the fun and successful rational.
  4. Previously read beer books. Seriously – most of us may have a good used book store in town. Find older gems to give away. People are interested in learning more about beer – here’s one way you can help them.
  5. Extra festival/event glasses. There’s usually some lurking about.

Stage the goodies and set up times in the event program to give them away. We simply assign all guests, when they arrive/check in, a number which goes in a glass to draw. Low tech works.

Last night’s event for us involved a handful of veterans and a ton of new women. We gave all the new folks a special welcome packet which contained a logod notepad (one color printing on excess paper, mixed colors), logo pencil, large and small logo stickers, business card, AND the fabulous BA CraftBeer.com/GABF flyer in each one. We gave the veterans glasses I picked up at the CBC – which they really loved.

We pass these things our selectively anyway and since they are already at our event, what a great inexpensive way to say thank you. Low cost, high impact, brand development.

Extra festival glasses make great giveaways

Oh – and we photograph each event. Not just the guests; we take images we can use of the beer, the food, the setting, etc. We can use these infinitely in marketing, magazines (you may have seen some on TNB and AAB). Kate brings her camera, sets them up in Picasa and away we go! Don’t worry about being an expert – just snap and review later.

Another good move: post the events menu on your site within 24 hours of holding the event. When you can have a few pictures ready to go with the posts, all the better. Pictures are a dynamic accent – change them as often as is reasonable so returnees to your site see something new regularly.
We don’t have menus printed because the majority of the time, half of them languish on the tables after the guests have left, with drips and spills on them which make them unusable to print on again (although they make fine scratch paper). Posting the menu online drives after event traffic to your site as well. readers, including you, can print it of if you choose. Otherwise it’s greener to simply make it available online.
You can look for some group photos soon of the 20+ women enjoying beer with the ACBW Declaration of Beer Independence signed and properly toasted…

Cheers to the future of craft beer: women.

Ginger & Kate

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Red! She Said

photo by Kate Parks

Last night’s WEB meet up featured Red style beers. This style of beer is one we call ‘crowd pleasers’ because they are. They’ll enlighten and usually not offend.

When you’re doing tasting and educational events that people are paying for, this can be important. They reach a broad audience while being true to a craft category.

Here was our menu at our fine host, 4 Daughters Irish Pub:

1. Mendocino’s Red Tail Ale paired with fresh made deep fried cheesecake bites. WOW! The lushness of the real on-premise made cheesecake with the carbonation and flavor of the Red was really well received.

2. Laurelwood’s Free Range Red paired with Reserve Gruyere (pasteurized Swiss cow’s milk). Nice! As many know, beer and cheese ce magnifique!

3. Mad River’s Jamaican Red paired with Noord Hollander Gouda. This Gouda is much drier than most have had so the texture variation alone was well worth the exploration. PLUS Kate speaks Dutch so she was good enough to pronounce it authentically for us.

4. Lompoc’s Proletariat Red paired with fresh chocolate cake with drizzles (on the side) of a spicy chocolate sauce using Cayenne pepper. We encouraged people to try it with the sauce as least once, even if they don’t usually care for spicy. Home Run.

So – there you have it. Another tasty menu, collaborative event for women in our community.

They are the future of Craft Beer and we’re having a ball helping them learn all about it.

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Who's Your _________

1. Customer

2. Consumer

Who are you after and why? Keeping in mind there are internal and external of each. They all demand your attention, time and respect.

Women are the consumers AND customers to court

For us:

1. Customer = Female beer consumer, whether currently partaking or not; latent population is an area to never overlook. With over half the global population being female, we have plenty of customers to engage.

2. Customer = Beer businesses, be they breweries, distributors, retailers, bars, restaurants, brewpubs and so forth. If you fit here and you sell beer in some fashion, then you’re our customer.

3. Consumer = Female beer consumer, whether currently partaking or not; latent population is an area to never overlook. With over half the global population being female, we have plenty of consumers to engage.

4. Consumer = Beer businesses, be they breweries, distributors, retailers, bars, restaurants, brewpubs and so forth. If you fit here and you sell beer in some fashion, then you’re our consumer. Not only that, you need WEB to help you drive forward successful marketing strategy and tactics.

It’d be arrogant for any beer business to think that the upcoming and continued growth for craft/beer will only still come from existing consumers.

Arrogant and dangerous and shortsighted.

Photo by Kate Parks, Copyright 2011

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Gear Up For American Craft Beer Week

Okay – so did you know American Craft Beer Week (ACBW) is coming up?? Did you know women love beer? Did you know women love to celebrate?

If you’re unawares, now’s the time to know: May 16 – 22, 2011 = American Craft Beer. It’s a congressionally recognized celebration of everything the craft beer community contributes to our country. Watch this video that WEB made for ACBW.

American Craft Beer Week is to be celebrated!

We’re celebrating big by offering a variety of craft beer focused events including:

In addition to these, we’ve got some classes with a few local Park & Recreation departments who see the value of offering unique and tasty educational and fun events to the community. It’s a perfect time to introduce an event solely for female beer enthusiasts. Equal Beer Rights = Red, White & Blue!!

You’ve still got time to save the dates – here’s a full calendar to dig through for events all over the country AND plan events if you’re any kind of beer oriented business and you sell/support craft beer.

No excuses to not partake and encourage this incredible industry. Get to it!

(Thanks to my beer-patriot Kate Parks for shooting the video)

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