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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Beer Growth, Beer Poetry

What does the word growth mean to you?

Does it mean increase in size of business via foot print of actual buildings? Does it mean increase in sales number? Volume? Audience reach? Additions to crew, products or territory?

Love growth, simply handle is carefully

Love growth, simply handle is carefully

Growth is an interesting and seemingly taken-for-face-value word. What I mean to say is that growth is different for everybody, yet there seems to be a universal feeling that growth is good.

All growth is not good growth. Just like all press is not good press. Growth has to be smart on several levels; not just to increase who has access to your beer. It needs to be thoughtful; not simply an idea thrown at the wall to see if it’ll stick. It should be responsible; the world is in need of civility and responsibility and care more than any more ‘stuff.’

The beer world is experiencing growth, especially America. Long the realm of the States, the idea of growth brings me to the Statue of Liberty engraving:

“Give me your tired, your poor,
Your huddled masses yearning to breathe free,
The wretched refuse of your teeming shore.
Send these, the homeless, tempest-tost to me,
I lift my lamp beside the golden door!”

What if we adapted this to reference beer? Try this:

“Give me your tired, your thirsty,

Your rushing masses yearning to drink free,

The lovely flavors of a perfect pour.

Share these, the tasty, quali-tee with me,

I lift my glass inside the brewery door!”

We must tread carefully. The planet is limited in what we can take from it and, like the hallowed Ellis Island, we must have a serious regard and respect for what beer requires and how to exercise diplomacy for all to experience.

So it is with all due respect I give a nod to the creativity and progress delivered by innovative, responsible and quality driven beer people in America. Be cognizant, mindful and cautious when we strive for whatever more might be. Growth is a funny thing. Handle is wisely.

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