Women Enjoying Beer’s Top 10 List Of Things That Need To Change

As it relates to women and beer, here are 10 things that need to change for progress of women + beer together:

1. Focus on quality, not sex, to sell your beer brands.

2. Remove all sexualized images and sexually suggestive names and titles related to women and beer.

3. The assumption must be made that women enjoy beer. It’s about flavor.

4. Get rid of old, out of date, outmoded, and archaic thinking that women don’t enjoy beer.

5. Women must speak up more, more often, more loudly, in more places and in front of more people about what they think about beer. Men need to not tolerate it or encourage it either. Letting it go isn’t helpful – it’s damaging.

These two get it.

These two get it.

6. Educational opportunities must be created by breweries, distributors and retailers far and wide to educate female consumers.

7. These educational opportunities must be fully respectful, with no demeaning or inappropriate language (i.e. Girls Night Out), focusing on women as a market share to be reckoned with. And they are.

8. Full respect for beer, women, and men needs to be the mantra.

9. Everyone has a female they care about. This must transfer to women + beer.

10. Commensurate representation, with both women and men, needs to be part of the images, branding, and company make up of beer focused businesses and organizations.

Finally: It’s not about gender. It’s about opportunity. The goal is to have gender in relation to beer one day be a moot point.

What are you going to do about it right now?

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Welcome Diane, Colorado WEB Representative

We’re very pleased – downright tickled beery! – to welcome Diane Gaston to the WEB team.

Welcome Diane!

Welcome Diane!

Diane’s been the Captain of the Women Enjoying Beer booth at the 2011 & 2012 Great American Beer Festivals and recently has happily joined us as our Colorado State Representative.

In short: Diane’s a diplomatic and very energetic beer enthusiast with a sharp intellect and easy laugh. She’s whip sharp and is equally excited about to be part of the growth of WEB.

Please join me in welcoming her to the family. You can reach out to her at Diane@WomenEnjoyingBeer.com for Colorado focused WEB questions, festivals, events, and pursuits. Diane is actively developing our presence in the great state of Colorado and is happy to connect with other fun people in the beer community, consumers and professionals alike.

Cheers to Diane!

Other Team Members:

  • Emily Engdahl, WEB Events Director
  • Ginger Johnson, Founder, head Educator, Researcher, & Marketer

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How Deep Do Roots Go?

It would depend on the type of plant. Or idea.

Both plants and ideas share roots. And they both need a genesis, nurturing, and attention to grow and develop properly.

Imagine: You invest in a gorgeous rare fruit tree. It’s a grafted plant and you’re in an area that’s not its natural zone. You listen carefully to the seller, take all the available printed and online instructions and head home to plant it.

Painstakingly following the directions you tenderly care for this precious plant, protecting it, feeding it, pruning it, and in general watching over it like a sentinel on guard duty.

Education = root growth

Education = root growth

You wonder how far down do the roots go? and “how can I best care for them?”

After all your work, it bears fruit – the very first year! Albeit, not a huge crop – a crop nonetheless. You’re excited, humbled at Mother Nature’s agreement to help you, and thrilled to get to reap the gifts the tree has to offer.

What if….

What if you treated your colleagues and co-workers like the fruit tree? Using education as the food, your attentiveness as a guide for success, ending in an excellent experience and sustainably steady business due to your commitment.

Consumers want to see business owners treat their staff like the tree above. Women who are engaging in beer, especially those who are less knowledgable (men too), want to be nurtured by an educated and compassionate staff.

Oh – and about those roots. They’ll live at the surface if you don’t go deep. Surficial watering in the form of surficial education will end up encouraging shallow growth, which isn’t good for anyone, plant or business.

What tree will you plant today?

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Mmmmm to Swig & Stitch

Last week’s Swig & Stitch menu went like this:

Simple, tasty, enlightening, repeatable.

Like Sandi says, “I think you should do a lot of ‘what if’s’.” She’s right. Get in there and try things.

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Level of Flexibility

What’s your level of flexibility?

If you’re a consumer, what are you flexible on – service? Cleanliness? Products availability? Attitude of staff? Proximity?

If you’re a professional, what are you flexible on – how many customers you serve each day? When you open and close? What you share with clients? What information you make available?

Flexibility is a highly personal thing and it’s essential to building patronage in all directions. From consumer to brand, from brand to consumer. Being flexible is of course way more beneficial that being rigid.

What are your flexibilities?

What are your flexibilities?

All the same, we have lines in the sand, every one of us. What are you willing to negotiate on? What are your dealbreakers?

With women and beer, there are 3 Universal Truths (based on the qualitative research we conduct). And only three. Sure, there are other common themes and threads. Just as there are for beer businesses, and all businesses.

That being stated, a few things that need to be true with every brand, for every consumer are consistency and quality. You can be consistently surprising or consistently the same. You can be quality focused in many ways and on many levels, high to low.

Know what your flexibilities are and exercise them. I know for myself a brand has to be consistently high quality focused, truly “huggers”, and have a very upbeat and can-do attitude. “No Problem” is a big problem.

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Nightclub & Bar Show 2013 Feedback

“Good Morning Ginger,

It was a pleasure to sit in on your presentation**.  I took plenty of notes and will review for implementation.  I thought the taste size and flight offering were two sales opportunities …  I have encouraged my bar managers to schedule educational opportunities and moving forward it will be mandatory.  If you are ever in the Central Florida area feel free to contact me.

Best Regards” ~ Glen, Beverage Manager, Talk Of The Town Restaurants

**WEB presented at the 2013 Nightclub & Bar Show, Las Vegas, 3/21/13

Insights and tactics for properly and successfully marketing beer to women on-premise

Call Ginger today to schedule highly effective and immediately useable insight. Can you afford to wait to tap into the worlds biggest market share?

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Portland Women’s Expo 2013

Make no mistake: Women Enjoy Beer.

Testimony was in full force last Saturday at the Portland Convention Center where the Portland Women’s Expo took place. WOW! They’ve been doing the event for some time and clearly the addition of the Women Enjoying Beer Lounge was a very popular addition.

At any one time, between opening at 10 am and about 4 pm+, the Lounge area was packed with great women seeking flavor and fun. 3 to 4 deep, all around the tables – very cool to see!

Our Big Thanks to Chico & the organizers for being open to enhancing the Expo with the Lounge. A Huge Thanks to Maletis Beverage Distributors and the beer brand representatives that made the Beer area pour fluidly all day. Shout out to Ninkasi Brewing and Kind Snacks for adding even more flavor to the day.

Also – Thanks to the Portland Trolley for letting me hop on the Trolley they had present and give some Edutainment to interested attendees. The Beer & Chocolate session filled up that sporty and comfy trolley to be sure! Further proof that women want to learn, have fun learning, and do it in a very social and welcoming setting. FYI – the beers and chocolates we served: SOB Porter & Oakshire Espresso Stout; Dagoba Organic Chocolate Xocolatl, Beaucoup Berries, Roseberry, Dark.

If you were at the Expo and really liked the addition of a beer area, please thank and tell the organizers. Here’s their contact info.

We were thrilled with the partnerships, support and opportunity to participate to support the Portland Women’s Expo Foundation in this endeavor. In fact, we hope they want us back next year – because we’ve already got tuns of ideas flowing to improve and build the Lounge, which increases the fundraising efforts that this event is truly all about.

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International Women’s Day Every Day

It’s officially International Women’s Day!!!!! It comes around every year and is reason to celebrate the women and females in your life and the lives around us. Every where.

We all must work on making gender a moot point by simply making sure we’re looking with an equality lens in each and every transaction, conversation, and action.

Celebrate and elevate the women and females in life.

Celebrate and elevate the women and females in life.

Did you know…

…that Feminism means “the doctrine advocating social, political, and all other rights of women equal to those of men.”

…that there are still labels that choose to use sexualization to try to sell products, rather than focus on the merits of the products? American brewers of all sizes need to take this day to re-examine their labeling. Support brands that feature the quality and benefits, not boobies and skin.

…that it’s been studied and proven over and over again that when there are relatively equal numbers of women and men participating in society on an equal footing, the society is healthier, more productive, kinder and much more humane, diplomatic and egalitarian.

…quotas of gender aren’t the answer nor the solution. Internalizing until it’s instinct will unconsciously help us in taking action to equalize with positive change.

Write a note or letter to a female you care about today. Someone you admire and who inspires you in any way. It matters not that you know them or not: they’ll be inspired forward to hear from someone who finds them a mentor, an aspirational example and makes them go forward.

Gloria sums it up here: “The story of women’s struggle for equality belongs to no single feminist nor to any one organization but to the collective efforts of all who care about human rights”

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Travel Plans Abound

When people talk with us about Women Enjoying beer, we tell them we go all over the country because women and beer are everywhere. It’s true and makes traveling a joy.

Come see us, share a beer and say hello as we’re out and about this fabulous world of ours – here’s our Events Page.

Beer & Food comrades - Geoff & Ginger

Beer & Food comrades – Geoff & Ginger

It’s a day maker when someone comments on a jacket I might be wearing with our logo, when someone is passing on the freeway and pauses at the same speed to give a thumbs up, and when people simply smile and ask what it’s all about.

What it’s all about is women + beer. It’s also all about respect, education, knowing the world’s biggest market share, inviting a group previously not considered to be a significant part of the conversation. It’s about opportunity, not gender.

Yes, its women and beer. And it’s so much more. As I’ve said lately at my local Chamber gatherings, “because woman and beer are only the beginning.”

The goal for WEB is to shift culture positively. We engage with those who already respectfully acknowledge that women are full value members of society, with brands who don’t denigrate anyone and focus on quality, with those who may not understand the whole picture yet want to.

Some of the great folks we’ve worked with and for include:

  • Wynkoop Brewing Company
  • New Belgium Brewing
  • Lakefront Brewing
  • Doll Distributing
  • Louie’s Pub
  • Standing Stone Brewing
  • Heavy Seas Brewing
  • Boulevard Coffee (see, women are everywhere)
  • Southern Oregon Public Television
  • Old Chicago
  • Deschutes Brewing

And numerous other beer oriented businesses, suppliers, vendors, supporters and interested parties.

Liberty Bottles with WEB logo - thanks Brian!

Liberty Bottles with WEB logo – thanks Brian!

We’ve worked in homes for private parties, which is an excellent way to meet the consumers where they’re at. This is a tenant of WEB: to go to them, instead of expecting them to come to us. As it happens, the two-way street is wide open and we’re enthused and motivated by the many people who do in fact come to us first. In fact, it’s like a happy crowded intersection where great things are happening.

We’ve been to *whew* lots of festivals, from the terrific & well run, to the head scratchers. We’ll look to hit 35 – 40 this year and all suggestions of fitting fests are welcome and encouraged.

Some of the best run ones we’ve participated in include:

  • Oregon Brewers Festival
  • Great American Beer Festival
  • Oregon Garden Brew Fest
  • Umpqua Brew Fest
  • KLCC Brew Fest
  • Zoo Brew
  • Big Beers, Belgian’s and Barleywines
  • Washington Brewers Festival

We’re also been part of and hired for many consumer focused events working with great folks like:

  • Ska Brewing
  • The Cheeky Monk
  • Twisted Pine
  • Fabric of Vision, Swig & Stitch series
  • Illahe Gallery
  • The Beer Mongers

And let’s be sure to mention that many events WEB enhances also give back to the community:

  • Science Works Brews & Boogie
  • Pear-A-Fare
  • + Many of the aforementioned festivals

I’d be remiss to leave out some businesses who are super supporters too:

  • Ninkasi Brewing
  • Briess Malting
  • Cypress Grove Chevre
  • Summit Beverage
James of Ninkasi, big WEB supporters, & Ginger -

James of Ninkasi, big WEB supporters, & Ginger –

We’re accessible and approachable, like phone calls and keep the info stream flowing. we welcome thoughtful discourse and constructive criticism. We extol and promote diplomacy – never snobbery or exclusion. Flavor, discovery, fun, open mindedness, community.

We’ve got a growing team of dedicated team members and will be working to increase their numbers this year as we grow into our fourth full year in business. BeerRadio adds a layer of fun edutainment each week as well, bringing you enlightening and enjoyable conversations with people all over the beer universe.

Thank you for all the support you give us in the form of communications, conversations, hiring us, samples and goods, word spread, festival attendance and participation, and general good will.

With gratitude,

Ginger, Founder

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Female Presidents

Cheers to female presidents across the world today from Women Enjoying Beer. Of course, cheers to the many men who are presidents as well. It’s simply more profoundly lopsided in the number of women as compared to the number of men. Here’s a list from Wikipedia to read.

Shiny pipes in the brewery at New Glarus

In the brewery at New Glarus

Curiously – I also found this article: Fastest growing women lead or owned companies. What does fast growth have to do with stability? Sometimes it’s precisely what undermines the capability to be steady, strong and long lasting.

And finally, for this short and sweet post today, cheer to Deb Carey of New Glarus Brewing in the great state of Wisconsin. She, her husband, and team have built a very fine company. Steadily, with an unerringly eye on quality and business sustainability.

Indeed, Ms. Carey has met with our president, Mr. Obama. It’s reassuring to see presidents happily getting along!

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Inaugural Swig & Shop Menu

Last night we enjoyed being part of a private Swig & Shop at Fabric Of Vision. If you’ve followed us on Swig & Stitch before, let me tell you Swig & Shop is another variation of the idea of fabric & sewing technique demos interspersed with beer tastings.

YUM! Talk about a great combination. With Swig & Shop, it was a fabric picking event. Meaning: Sandi, the owner of Fabric of Vision, lead the small eager to learn group through picking fabric, talking about pairing different fabrics. Talking about why you like and don’t like something, how it ‘goes’ or doesn’t and all the why’s related to our fabric and sewing choices.

It was almost surreal to hear her talk about fabric that way since WEB is all about asking the Why on women + beer. Another great reason we’re collaborating on these events. We both understand that the Why is what drives action. Knowing the What is not enough. You’ve got to ask the Why.

She talked about empowering yourself to know what you do like and what you don’t – and that’s where the Why comes in. Once you say “Yes, I like that” or “No, I don’t like that” asking yourself “Why” will make you better able and more confident in keeping the process moving forward.

Intensity also made an appearance. I was continually stoked to hear these similar concepts relating to beer and fabric! Yet another example how beer is truly universal, and I’ll give fabric the same credit.

Swig & Shop

Swig & Shop

It was a really interesting exercise to witness. Having a fondness for fabric and sewing as well, it resonated with me too.

Here was the menu WEB laid out to fortify between the pickings.

Beverages:

  1. Laurelwood Portland Roast Espresso Stout
  2. Lindeman’s Framboise
  3. Valley View Cabernet Sauvignon 2010
  4. Montinore Pinot Gris 2011
  5. R.W. Knudson Sparkling Organic Pear juice

Nibbles:

  • Dark chocolate malted milk balls (Sadly not from Briess!)
  • Ripe red bell peppers
  • Sesame crackers
  • Organic mixed cherry tomatoes
  • Walnuts
  • Rumiano whole milk Monterey Jack cheese
  • Dried banana chips

All fun, all delicious, all educational, high value. And that’s how we swig & shop!

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ABC’s of Women, Beer and Food: Letter O

Oh! We’re already up to letter O in our series on Women, Beer and Food. Let’s celebrate Oxygen today.

Oxygen is both necessary and damaging, at various stages and and in different amounts, to both beer and food.

We need Oxygen to grow the raw ingredients for beer – H needs a 2O after all. Grain and hops need fresh clean air. Yeast is affected by it as well. For food, growing conditions and environments are enormously impacted by the air quality and anaerobic situations as well.

Get some fresh Oxygen in your brain

Get some fresh Oxygen in your brain

Once beer has been carefully made, storage should exclude Oxygen since at that stage of the game it’s a detriment and begins to accelerate the degradation of quality and flavor. There is dissolved Oxygen in beer yet to store beer in the presence of oxygen is what encourages chemical changes to take place which dramatically affect our experience and the quality of the beer.

Food storage practices rely on oxygen in some form as well. Storing things in airtight containers allows very low airflow and oxygen exposure. Anyone who’s ever cut up a fresh piece of apple or pear knows that it begins to oxidize: it turns brown due to exposure to oxygen in air. In some cases it doesn’t critically and negatively impact the food. That said, the obvious indication that something is changing should be a sign to learn what the heck is going on and learn how to properly act and respond.

Go ahead and learn how Oxygen in involved in and affects your beer and food. There are loads of resources on the net, in your local library and through professionals on the fields.

Take a deep breath and keep learning.

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ABC’s of Women, Beer and Food: Letter N

Nummy…Noble Hops…Nitrogenated…

While all of these are N worthy, today’s Letter N word is Nice.

Huh??

Yes, Nice. There’s a very unsavory and growing faction of people in the beer community who are making blanket judgements that certain beers are better than others shearly based on size of volume produced and ownership. That certain ones are uncool and bad, and some are good and worthwhile to attend to. Some stores are even choosing to eliminate choices for the very consumers they serve based on this judgement.

P1100709Being Nice means being diplomatic, being an ambassador, being kind and NOT being a judge. Leaders in any arena have a nice quality to them: business, community, family, friendships, social circles, service clubs. Do you want to lead or be lead?

Like the beers you like. Remember these things all the same:

1. All companies, beer and food and otherwise, start and started small in size. To now disqualify a beer or food because it’s successfully grown – by the support of the very same people who are now shunning it – is hypocritical and uncouth. Plus it’s totally ridiculous. Many times quality grows as a businesses income comes in, affording an increase in many facets that positively impacts the goods.

2. Size isn’t what matters here. Quality is. Is the company quality focused? Ask that instead of ‘what’s the volume of product produced and sold?’

3. Let everyone choose the beer and food they want. Freedom of choice is why there are so many choices and one thing that makes America and many countries in the world special.

4. Beer and food all start in the same way: with raw ingredients, by people, and for people. Before you dismiss a product out of hand simply for the volume of their products, take a look at their business and organizations. How many people to they gainfully and purposefully employ? How many suppliers, vendors and growers are impacted by the operation? Has there been any shift of quality?

5. Large and global brands are still great choices for some. And we’d agree with transparency that people are calling for in the interest of full disclosure. More and more people want to know who and where what they put in their gullet comes from. Agreed. When making your decisions though, return to deciding based on quality and flavors you enjoy.

6. We highly encourage not using labels for beer. Dark, light, craft, crafty, heavy, and so on. These are moving targets, arbitrary based on the judge or judging body. Don’t swallow anything whole unless you educate yourself first AND look at the wider implications of your choices if they affect others.

It makes WEB dismayed to see this reverse niceness and kick to the teeth of some long-standing brands that are growing in size that have (and had) fanatical followers because they were the small-er when they started. Now all the sudden the brands aren’t good enough…what?! Makes no sense.

In fact I’ve been to plenty of smaller size breweries whose obvious lack of commitment to cleanliness and sanitation is way more disturbing that larger ones. Yikes! Cleanliness is critical to high quality operations of all capacity and volume sizes. Do you know how clean the brewery and production facility is before you make that judgement, before you extol or condemn? Get educated first.

In most cases, size has little to do with enjoyment of a brand. Quality does. Unless some gross injustice of power, ingredients, quality or impact has occurred, we say stick with what you like. Being nice about beer and food is acting with graciousness and class, never judging.

No one likes a judgmental jerk. Don’t be one. Be Nice. Progress is made with nice.

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World Class Women #1

This article is the inaugural piece on a planned Series of 10 partnering with World Class Beer.

#1 Busting Myths on Women & Beer

What kinds of myths have you heard related to beer? Try these on for size:

  • “Light” beer won’t make you drunk.
  • Women only like fruity or sweet beers.
  • Beer is a man’s drink.

Perish the thought(s) and bust those myths with us, as we launch our World Class Women series, written by Ginger Johnson, founder of Women Enjoying Beer to share, enlighten and educate female and male consumers about the universal beverage of beer.

Let’s shed a bit of light on myths and why they start in the first place. Myths can be “any traditional story.” Tradition and convention tend to shore us up and make us comfortable. Yet when these traditions and conventions evolve to be damaging and dangerous, if they’re out of date and disrespectful, it’s bad for all concerned. As a researcher of women and beer, I can tell you that there are myths galore that perpetuate and cause way more detriment than good around women and beer. Heck, some of them are male specific and some are a sort of sauce that’s poured over all legal aged drinkers in America.

Consider:

  • Tradition: Women haven’t been big beer drinkers because they don’t like the flavor of beer.
  • Truth: Women LOVE flavors of all kinds, as do men.
  • Message: Toss out old myths and start with a fresh mind and palate. To make a blanket judgment based on an experience years ago is very limiting and narrow minded. Things change.
  • Tradition: Women don’t like beer.
  • Truth: Women DO like beer.
  • Message: In fact, many women across America have long embraced, and enthusiastically enjoyed beer of all sorts. More and more women across the USA are exploring and discovering beer with much delight and satisfaction.

The idea that women don’t like beer is partially based in long-standing ‘traditional’ advertising messages, which are incredibly inaccurate and disrespectful. It’s partially because women have not gone towards brands that are obviously not marketing to them, based on sexualized and insulting female images. It’s partially because women have not been invited to actively and equally contribute to the beer conversation. It’s all of the above – and so much more.

Suffice it to say that beer education is the way to begin busting myths, starting with ourselves first. Fall sway to intelligent pursuit of beer knowledge and seek out information. Taste, taste and taste some more. Speak up against bad myths and work to bust them, rendering them useless and dead.

World Class Beer* helps make dozens of flavors available to beer consumers of legal age. Seek out a beer you haven’t tried yet, invite friends over to sip and discuss, and become a knowledgeable beer enthusiast. Women Enjoying Beer offers beer education in many formats online and all across the country.

Cheers until next time –

Ginger

*All beer distributors can help bring flavor to the table!

All material copyright Women Enjoying Beer 2012-13

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Beer Flavor Sexism Rant

If you can’t take the truth, then stop reading. If you can take it, be my guest.

Below is a contact I received recently from a brewery in planning.

I’m starting a brewery and want to find a brew or two that is [sic] especially tasty for women. What types of beer tend to be most appealing? Witbiers? Lagers? I hear you have done research and asked questions to women about what kinds of beer they like best. If you have this info, I’d greatly appreciate it!

And it’s perfect to discuss the fact that there is no such thing as a woman’s beer or a man’s beer. I’ll say it once (here):

EVERYONE LIKES FLAVOR

If you choose to not recognize and understand this and start here, then we’re all doomed to perpetuated bad myths, stereotypes that hold everything back and sexism (both ways) in relation to beer.

Let me be clear – WEB isn’t about gender: it’s about opportunity afforded to all, by all, in a respectful and equal playing field world.

Considerations:

1. Think of flavor as a human pursuit, not a gender oriented one.

2. Appeal is in the tastebuds of the EDUCATED taster.

3. Education is the absolute key to progress. Self education and education provided by brands, distributors, and retailers. Go get it!

4. There are myriad books, journals, and publications (both online and hard copy) to help educate consumers and pros alike.

5. Women Enjoying Beer is a full on business; it’s how the company can afford a living for the team. Never ask a service provider for free work. Yes, we can help anyone who is interested in actually using the qualitative information we gather from women all over the country. And yes, you get to pay for it since it’s one of our products – just like you get to buy a beer if you want to enjoy it.

We ask all sorts of qualitative questions in our research. We’re very unconcerned with what brands and styles women like in a vacuum. Meaning – you have to qualify what styles you make as they relate to your brand, what food you’re serving (if you do) and foods you recommend to pair (which everyone should), where the beer is served, what people are doing/have just done/are going to do/currently doing. There is not, nor will there ever be, a single type of beer for any gender.

WEB has chosen to delve into WHY more women aren’t enjoying beer (and why they do) which is a wonderful Pandora’s box of responses. There’s no such thing as a singular answer, since every aspect is different for everybody. Sure, there are patterns and common threads. About 4 of them.

6. If this was a woman: why would you possibly want to keep the “she-only-likes-this/these-kinds-of-beers” syndrome going?! If this is a man: shame on them for not realizing everyone likes flavor – just like if it is a woman. Of course I know, yet for this argument it’s neither here nor there. It’s unbelievable either way.

The obvious lack of market research is mystifying and appalling (whether done by the founders or hiring someone like WEB). Every brand needs to do research before they open and ongoing while they are open. Period.  I shudder to think of how this person looks at females in general.

I’ve said it before, and I’ll say it again: Women hold themselves back. Mentality like this, which I’m not saying if it’s male or female, is scary and will only make the next generations suffer in many ways coming up. All genders can do something about it.

Think I’m being too dramatic? You should read some of the super passionate input we’ve received. WOW! Reports based on the 2012 Women + Beer Survey will start coming out soon, available for purchase.

Who’s offended – mildly or outright – at sexist labels? If you’re the one who says “it doesn’t matter to me/pertain to me”, this is an incredibly apathetic and dangerous attitude. Who has these labels in obvious eye-shot of an audience that is uneducated and not versed in soft porn and how damaging it is? No, it’s not that far a leap.

Everyone can do something about killing sexism, starting with beer – whether you consume it, buy it, or neither. This is a terribly ignorant query. Really?!

A much better query would be something along the lines of: When do women enjoy beer? Why do they enjoy the styles they do? Where do they enjoy beer? And so on…. I doubt men would appreciate being forced into categories as well.

As you can tell, this really gets me going. EGADS!!! This should get you going if you have any females in your life you care about.

We have so much distance to still travel for the extinction of sexism in beer to actually die.

Please do your part: start with a genderless flavor conversation. Assume respect for all genders who look at your brand. This is where every brewery will make progress, every consumer gets equal respect and brands will stop using sexist labels.

The best brands want nothing to do with including any kind of gender references and implications, graphics or images on their beer. Beer should be high quality and be sold on its merits – nothing else.

We get asked “what beer brands are bad at sexism?” I always turn the question around and point out examples of the really smart brands that focus on the beer and classy design, which appeals to everyone. FYI – in this case I reference brands like Boulevard. Sierra Nevada, and New Belgium. This facet is one reason they’re so successful. One of these days though I’m going to let ‘er rip and publish a post on poor brand choices.

Until then, I’ll keep breathing and forging ahead. It’s obvious with thinking like this that WEB needs to be around.

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ABC’s of Women, Beer and Food: Letter K

Question: What’s the world biggest beer can?

Answer: The Keg!

With a nod to my friend and colleague, Burc, I love educating on the biggest beer cans there are: kegs.

Content kegs at Fort George Brewing

Kegs are what finished beer is shipped in to stores and establishments, sometimes within brewpubs and taprooms as well. Okay, so you most likely already know that. Did you know there are different size kegs? Half barrel – which is the one we most often refer to as ‘a keg’. There’s the quarter barrel and sixth barrels too. For operators who serve beer on draught, depending on how quickly you sell keg beer, size matters.

Kegs have an interesting herstory – read more here.

A keg is a great way to store, ship and serve beer. No light exposure and – if properly dispensed – no oxygen introduction either. NEVER use a hand pump that relies on oxygen to move the beer out of the keg. It’ll kill the beer’s flavor and carbonation fast. As a researcher I can tell you that many people have bad memories of early life beer experiences partly because they drank beer (sometimes too much) that was pushed with air. No no no!

Just like you wouldn’t leave quality food and ingredients *out* where they shouldn’t be, beer needs to be cared for too. Food and drink will give you the best experience they can when you do your part – kegs for beer is a piece of that equation.

If you value the quality of the beer you enjoy and make, treat it with respect. Kegs can do that, so do our part and use the proper gas and equipment to push the beer out to your glass, keeping the kegs refrigerated as well.

Cheers today to draught beer, beer kegs, and all the delicious liquid a’waiting for us inside!

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ABC’s of Women, Beer & Food: Letter I

Intensity: “a high degree of emotional excitement; depth of feeling.”

Do you have an intensity about beer? Do you think about it a lot? Are you one with passionate feelings about beer and your relationship with it? Do you know intensity is one of the primary matching characteristics in successfully matching beer and food? And what else are you intense about?

Intensity is a perfect word to include today as Marty Jones and myself (Ginger) have been talking about ways to engage more people in the submission of resumes for the Beerdrinker Of The Year contest.

Do you have to have had 10,000 beers? No. Do you have to have a sense of diplomacy and beer ambassadorship? Yes. What else should you think about as you submit?

The unsinkably enthusiastic and sharp Marty Jones, Wynkoop Brewing

Here are some notes Marty put together, guided by 17 years of the contest, his own brilliance in knowing what it takes, and to encourage EVERYONE who can fulfill the basic Submission Guidelines (link here) to do so before 12/31/12.

What makes a great Beerdrinker resume?Our contest seeks and honors the nation’s greatest beer fiends. People who understand beer’s history and its many styles, its importance to advancing civilization and raising the quality of life. People who serve as smiling beer disciples and bring others into our craft beer congregation.
 
So if you’re a person who proudly drains a 12er of mass market beer each night, you are not who we seek. 
 
Our resume criteria are straight forward. To enter the contest, applicants must submit beer resumes, and that resume must include the entrant’s beer philosophy, details on their passion for beer, and — very important — details on their 2012 beer drinking experiences. So beer consumption and tasting beers is part of it.

Resumes should also detail the entrant’s understanding of beer and its history and importance to civilization, along with the entrant’s efforts to educate others to the joys of great beer. So a wealth of beer knowledge is vital, along with some hearty beer ambassadorship.

The ideal candidate has a mix of all of these criteria. So our contestants are a rare and select group. Much like candidates for President of the US.
 
The great thing about our contest is the range of beery attributes of the winners. Some, their strong point has been that they are world travelers with lengthy beer checklists. Others have done little to no beer travel but made up for it with ambassadorship or beer knowledge. You can make the finals and win the contest without touring the planet or the US in search of beer.
 

Diane Catanzaro, 2007 Beerdrinker of the Year

Another important thing is a sense of humor. That can really help get a resume into the top 10 or three. We want a winner who is fun to drink with! So humor and wit are very valuable. A diehard beer zealot with a chip on their shoulder may reach the top ten. But if you take beer too seriously, you aren’t likely to win the crown.

 
We have two previous winners who are females, Diane Catanzaro and Cornelia Corey. We are very proud of that fact and of these two very beery women [Ginger knows Cornelia, is eager to meet Diane]. And each year we get a couple good resumes from women. But not as many as we’d like to see. Especially in light of the growing number of super beer-savvy women entering the craft beer congregation.
 
One of the goals of the Beerdrinker of the Year search is to redefine the term “beer drinker.” We want to change it to a term that reflects the passion and thoughtfulness that so many apply to their beer pursuits. For men and women everywhere.

So you have your marching orders! Get to it – give it a try. Some people apply multiple years and that’s great since practice and the pool changes everything as long as you’re moving forward.

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Hoppy Holidays Menu 2012

Guests enjoyed a very tasty and fulfilling, nutritious and delicious menu of beer and food last Friday at our annual Hoppy Holidays event. A birthday – or should we say ‘beerthday’ – party of 9 also joined us. What an honor to do a double celebration: personal holiday for her and 8 friends as well as celebrating beer and food as we know it right now.

Jicama salad..almost ready!

Here’s the menu we savored:

  • Burnside Brewing Sweet Heat paired with Jerk Pickled Green Beans with Apricot glaze
  • 21st Amendment Fireside Chat paired with Butternut Squash and Celery Root Soup with Tarragon
  • Lindeman’s Cassis Lambic paired with Fennel and Jicama Salad with Pomegranate Seeds, Slices Almonds, and Balsamic Reduction made with the Cassis
  • Alameda Papa Noel Olde Ale paired with Molinari Salami, Fennel Salami, 4-year Gouda, Glazed Roasted Figs, and Marcona Almonds
  • Bonus Beer: Standing Stone 2012 Barleywine
  • Samuel Smith’s Organic Chocolate Stout paired with Raspberry Chocolate Ganache Tart with Ancho Chili

Sound good?

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Swig & Stitch December 2012

There’s no doubt: Beer is a social component of life. It brings people together, everyone has an opinion about it, and it gets people talking. Positive change happens in the form of education.

gorgeous tulle under a holiday tree from Fabric of Vision

Swig & Stitch, the ongoing series WEB does with the brilliant Sandi of Fabric of Vision, happened again Tuesday night. Here’s the tasting & pairing menu we enjoyed:

  1. Two Towns Bad Apple Semi Dry hard Cider with housemade Clam Chowder
  2. Guinness classic Dry Irish Stout with Black Angus meatloaf and gravy
  3. Sierra Nevada Celebration with grilled tomato and cheese sandwich triangle
  4. Lindeman’s Framboise with 3 layer chocolate fudge cake

Suffice it to say tummies and taste buds were happily sated, minds opened, and conversation generated.

We had a bonus too: Pete of Pete’s Gourmet gave us samples of his Stout Beer Bite Candy to try. Listening to the crinkly wrappers being undone was a fun sound, followed by “mmmmmm”.

Care to join us or hire us to bring Swig & Stitch to you? Contact Ginger to discuss.

 

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ABC’s of Women And Beer: Letter G

G is a favorite letter of mine. When it comes to beer, it’s also the starter letter of one of my favorite things to talk about with Beer: Glassware.

Glassware matters

Glassware for beer is as important as dishes are for food. Would you serve soup on a plate and expect the same experience as if it were served in a bowl? Would you offer a slice of roast beef in a measuring cup? Would these differences matter?

Of course they would. Ultimately, it’s your beverage and food – do as you wish.

If you really want the full benefit of everything the beer and food can offer, then it’s time to get smart about glassware and dishes. Full enjoyment and sensory encounters necessitate the use of glassware that will help you smell, examine, and taste everything beer has to offer.

Glassware is an excellent beer tool to experiment with too. Let me expound:

  1. Get an assortment of glasses of different shapes, volumes, and sizes together. Pour one kind of beer into between 3 and 6 of these glasses. Proceed to smell them all, clearing your nose after each one, to see how aromas are different from glass to glass.
  2. Next taste them from the different glasses. If taste is 90% based in our smelling, then the previous step of this exercise will be noticeable.
  3. After you’ve tasted them, set a timer and let them sit for 5 minutes. Revisit the aromas and flavors when the timer rings and see what a difference glassware makes in the longer term as well as the short-term.
  4. Repeat.

Time for the tapered pint to take a break

Glassware for beer is often the least optimum: the tapered shaker pint. For establishments it’s long been an issue of economy. It’s one of the most inexpensive glasses. And sometimes the lowest quality as well.

I’d challenge the establishments with this query then: If they believe the beer to be high quality, if they want the customer to have an optimum experience, if they want that customer to come back and bring friends over and over, then it’s high time to invest in better glassware. Small budget? Fine – at least start buying one box at a time. Replace as you can.

Brewers buy high quality ingredients. Establishments invest much in atmosphere and fixtures. Glassware needs to be regarded as an equally essential component in respecting and enjoying beer. Do your part if you’re a consumer and ask for it – ne – demand the beer you love is served in an appropriately helpful glass.

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