From the Twittersphere posted by @BeerofTomorrow: “I dug your episode [of BeerRadio] w/ Meg Gill, can you talk about why a variety of serving sizes is important for women [and] beer? Thx”

With a YES and a nod to @BeerOfTomorrow, today we’ll publicly respond to that query.* (Glad you liked Meg’s episode of BeerRadio – so did I, she’s terrific! Thanks)

Different styles of beer should optimally be served in different glassware. Shape matters in the sensory experience. In that vein, the liquid volume capacity (size) of the glass will then naturally vary.

Pilsner style beer glass

For instance, if you choose a lovely refreshing Pilsner, then the proper choice is the Pilsner style glass. The design of the glass is specifically geared towards making that beer give you the best possible experience.

What if you choose a barleywine instead? Then a tulip or snifter is best to let that beer perform for you. The angle of the glass itself, how it’s rounded to retain the aromas, the bulbous shape for temperature….it all adds up for maximum enjoyment.

Women like flavor. Size of a beer matters to them, whether they say they want a big glass of beer, a small taste, half pint, or anything else. Because enjoyment of flavor is directly tied to the size of beer serving and what they want out of that particular experience.

It matters and is different to all women since all women have their own idea of what their beer experience should be. This may seem evasive, yet I’d argue that everyone, female and male, wants their beer how they want it.

Their reasons for wanting it how they want it vary.* Here are a few:

  1. Temperature – Will it get too warm before I am done with it? Many want their beer to stay chilled or cool. This is a factor of beer serving size.
  2. Quantity – How much of which beer do they want to drink? What do they have going on immediately after they consume, what else will they be doing, who else will they be seeing? Can they enjoy 12, 16, 20 ounces or more and feel safe in doing so?
  3. Size of glass – How big is the actual vessel the beer is served in? This factor should be considered by all serving establishment for ALL patrons. Smaller hands are not exclusive to women. And being able to fully control and safely grasp the glass you’ve been served should be in mind when determining sizes on the menu; just as the alcohol content needs to be considered (another issue for another time).
  4. Samplers – I can tell you that samplers of beers, flights to some, are always an excellent idea for serving and getting women into beer. And I daresay for men as well. It’s the perfect opportunity to get multiple flavors in front of one person. From the business side, it should also be good margin, which helps your business grow and thrive.

Small glasses are key for the best beer 'sampler' - no more than 4 ounces

To those of you who serve samplers: Keep the sampler sized portions small – it’s called a ‘sampler‘ for a reason. I’m always appalled when I got to breweries and pubs who serve up a sampler of 6 – 10 beers in 6 ounce glasses. That’s irresponsible, wasteful and not a good value at the end of the day.

Conclusion: If you’re not being offered a serving size in the glass shape you want and feel is best, request it until you get it.

Every brewer wants their beers to be enjoyed in moderation, at best temperature when possible and in the best choice of glassware. Women want to enjoy flavors of all kinds, and size of serving factors into the experience in a number of ways. The investment of proper glassware in a variety of sizes will more than pay off in educating everyone on what’s best for the beer.

*Based on qualitative female beer consumer research conducted across the USA by Women Enjoying Beer, 2009 to present/ongoing

Categories: Assumptions & Myth Busting, Beer, Education & Training, Something To Think About, Women and Beer
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2 Responses to “Why Serving Size of Beer Matters to Women”

  1. Sheppy

    Good points. I don’t think this is unique to women, though.

    Personally, I like to try many beers. When I am at a new brewery or pub, I always ask if they have a sampler platter because I want to experience the spectrum of what they have to offer. I don’t want that initial sample to be all that I drink and if they serving sizes are too big, I have to stop before I am ready. Actually, usually, I am with my wife and we share the platter.

    This gives us the opportunity to further explore our favorite(s).

    Anyway, even though I am not a woman, I enjoy reading your blog. Keep up the good work.

  2. Ginger Johnson

    Hi Sheppy – You’re most likely right (since we don’t study men + beer, I’d make the same educated guess). A sampler and smart various serving sizes are good for everyone concerned. Any establishment that does not offer a range of sizes is not serving the customer as best they can.
    Sharing like you and your fine wife do is a GREAT way to explore together – beer potlucks are a home extension of this idea too.
    Thanks so much for being in touch – we greatly appreciate your reading.
    Cheers – Ginger


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