Gord and I met tromping through the Vancouver, British Columbia airport. We must have been headed through customs at the same time, him returning to Canada, me just arriving. Both of us on work trips.
What started as a casual comment happily developed into a very pleasant business lunch. We chatted about a variety of things and in short order the conversation veered towards beer. It could have been the business card I gave him…beer starts a lot of conversations.
Anyway, we decided to head to one of the airport eating establishments for a quick bite of traveling lunch. The service was fine, the food was fine, the beer was tasty and the company was grand.
What Gord asked me as we settled in was “How do I get someone who says they don’t like beer to try it?” While it wasn’t the first time I’d been asked, it did give me pause. Over the years in business with WEB, I’ve learned that the primary reason women say they don’t enjoy beer is they rely on a very distant or previous unpleasant memory to guide their current decisions making process around beer.
While emotions can be good in decision-making, in this case, it’s not good. In fact, it’s detrimental. It’s a hindrance for a number of reasons. One, the memory (gathered in research) is almost always due to the beer having gone bad, like pumped out of a keg with an oxygen pump or it was stale or old and oxidized. Secondly, the cause of the bad memory was self-induced. Beer doesn’t make you drunk or sick – you do that all on your own. Be responsible for your own actions and the beer will absolutely reward you. Lastly, and for a minority, is for truly valid reasons: issues like allergies, family abuse, and addiction and recovery concerns.
So how do you remove the barriers of an old and still poignant memory around beer and appropriate persuade someone to try beer anew? In this case Gord was asking in relation to his beloved wife….good question.
Since I’ve been asked this numerous times, here are some suggestions.
1. Find out what she kinds of flavors she likes – comprehensively. Explore all sorts of beverage and food tastes and write them down.
2. Talk about where those flavors can be found and made. Discuss ease and difficulty in procuring and recreating these pleasing flavors.
3. If there is already a trust in the relationship, you both need to take a leap of faith. It’s beer – don’t be offended. It’s beer – try it.
4. An open mind is the only tool you need. Your taste buds will do the rest WHEN your mind is open.
5. Seek and present opportunity often and appropriately. Never pressure, always encourage and nudge.
6. A taste of something, literally a tiny bit of the universe, is a very small thing to undertake. If you find it pleasant, try it again. If you find it offensive, try it again. In professional circles, the key to accurately tasting something is two tastes – not just one. Let is sink it and let your palate acclimate and comprehend.
7. Pair beer with food, perhaps starting with the food first.
8. If she drinks wine or spirits or both, look for beers that carry similar flavors to those beverages she already likes.
9. Make beer cocktails. Even if you prefer straight beer, you’re not her and a cocktail or mixed drink make with beer can be a great entry into further exploration.
If her mind is open, you’ll be successful at a minimum by exposing current beer and flavors available therein. If she’s not open-minded, still invite her over for a beer – serve her what she wants and drink what you want too.
The whole point and pint of beer is camaraderie and building community. After all, where do people gather: brewpubs, kitchens, and campfires. Places of relaxed and delicious fun.
Pints up to Gord for the inspiration for this article ~ cheers and hope to see you again soon.