How Will Mature Beer Markets Grow?

By addressing women.

Mature markets is a misnomer, first of all. They aren’t mature if the entire population isn’t equally invited into the conversation.

One of the goals of the Brewers Association, for example, is to figure out how to grow in mature markets. Markets keep evolving and advancing, receding and changing so growth is a relative term. So I’d ask: how do you want to grow? More importantly, how do you define growth? What are those components driving your definitions? How will the definition change going forward?


Growth isn’t only or always about volume or quantity. It can be myriad definitions, as it suits the parties involved. I laud businesses who focus on growth as stability, internal improvement which then radiates to external audiences. Growth that lessens environmental impact, improves the quality of life of those involved and gives to the community around the entity is smart. Growth that increases capacity or volume sheerly for “more” is misguided and doomed to bust, sooner or later. Balloon walls are only so forgiving.

I can guarantee that when beer invites women into the conversation, markets will evolve – they will grow in participation – they will advance with more voices, more education and more participation. Until then, well, good luck beer.

Market growth isn’t that difficult to figure out or to accomplish. For example:

  1. Do the images and picture you use equally feature women and men? if it’s lopsided, you can fix it right now. I’ve yet to see a beer magazine have an equal mix of women and men. Who will be the first one to rightly accurately represent the population??
  2. Do labels, beer names or brand names focus on the beer, and steer clear of anything sexual? If your beer can stand on its own, it deserves a place in the market. If you are relying on sexist images – of any sort – then get out of the way for the rest.
  3. Are you talking to everyone who approaches your beer with equal enthusiasm? If you reduce people to brains & tastebuds, vs. reproductive make up, then you’re doing it right.

Beer needs women more than women need beer. Heck, women – and men for that matter – don’t ‘need’ beer at all. Growth of beer is reliant on women and the sooner the professional beer industry community sees that, the better off we’ll all be. In fact, I’ll drink to that.

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Women + Beer: Ask Lots of Questions

We’re curious beings, we humans. As with many species we watch, inquire, investigate and explore. Go with that impulse.

The number one person you should be talking with is your customer. In specific, if you’re in the beer business, talking to women customers, buyers and drinkers.

What are you talking to women about?

What are you talking to women about?

Here are 5 reasons why:

1. Women make up fully half the population. Include this powerful group of people in your brand conversations and marketing.

2. American women make between 75 – 85% of all purchasing decisions, across categories. You want them to buy? Then engage them. Visit Marti’s site for more affirmation. Faith’s work is insightful as well.

3. Women like to talk about their experiences. We’ve heard before a positive experience gets chatted about and a negative one spreads like wildfire. Go for the steady chatter pattern.

4. With all the talk about growing the beer business, I’ve yet to see brands really slap their forehead and exclaim “WOW! Why haven’t we thought about women before?!” Why indeed.

5. Beer needs women. Having equitable representation in the consumer pool as well as in the professional arena is critical to a better global equilibrium, better for societies as a whole, and again representational of the actual population.

Talk to your female customers about beer. Ask them open-ended questions, be mindful of their time, and thank them for their input. NEVER argue. Always educate.

Need help figuring this landscape out? Call us. As the industry leaders of women + beer, there’s much we can do together for your success, starting with her first.

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