Making Beer Education Happen

What would have to happen and what would have to be true to make education happen?

In the case of women + beer: simple opportunity.

Ginger & Roger, founder of Prud'homme, in Toronto

Ginger & Roger, founder of Prud’homme, in Toronto

Opportunity and education combine to form a powerful purpose and progress. When you combine them they will generate positive synergy and get more women into beer. Here’s how.

  1. Women and men all enjoy flavor. Educate about flavor first, not style or brand or anything else. Flavor is where it starts.
  2. Create and provide opportunities for women to learn about beer. Single gender events, when done correctly , are incredibly successful. For females this means no pink, girl/gal/babe/ladies/chicks. For men this means no macho crap, sports themes or tools.
  3. People want and seek out educational opportunities. Make them happen. Whether you give tours for 30 minutes or 4 hour classes, education feeds the hungry mind.

Beer education has been heightened by various programs. With a nod to Cicerone and Prud’homme, these visionaries behind the value and progress education generates have bred a whole new batch of businesses bringing high quality opportunity to the masses. This is a good thing, as Martha would say.

Education. Opportunity. Two things that will move us forward. Like I say, love and money comes and goes – education lasts forever.

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Opportunity Is Only Opportunity If You Want It

What opportunity do you see and pursue?

What opportunity do you see and pursue?

Opportunity is only present if you want it and take advantage of it.

As the CEO of my own company, I often hear myself say (in my head or aloud) “Opportunity is everywhere.” If you’re seeking it, if you’re willing to work to make it happen, if all the elements of success line up.

Opportunity is, then as well, passing up that project, job, volunteer position, or other activity that requires time and attention that does not fit with your goals and aspirations.

To say you miss an opportunity is a misnomer. Opportunity is not chance. It’s intentional. Being able to take part of an opportunity equates to paying attention to the right shiny objects, developing relationships intentionally, and making a dedicated commitment o to a goal. Opportunity is participation, not passivity. Make it happen, don’t wait for it to come knocking.

Opportunity in the beer world is for beer businesses to recognize women as full participants. They’re looking for opportunity that fits for them to participate in the global beer scene. Companies that see this and pursue it will reap rewards.

So I will always believe opportunity is everywhere. No doubt about it. The right opportunity is what to work on, not the wrong one.

Here are a few interesting reads related to Opportunity:

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I Hope You Never Have A Favorite Beer

At what point do you determine a favorite? And what is it that makes it your favorite?

As it relates to beer, I hope you never find a favorite beer – and that you don’t ask other people what their favorite is. Here’s why.

Once you crack the gavel down on your favorite beer, you eliminate sweet justice and opportunity to give all following beers a fair shake. You’ve told yourself that it’s the ultimate beer for you and you won’t be swayed.

How sad. Sad that you’ve cut yourself off from new flavors and an open mind that will best serve your taste buds. Sad that you’re also going to be blathering this to anyone who might listen, thereby coloring their thinking. Sad because there are literally thousands and thousands of beer across the globe that would love to be given a chance.

Keep looking - never have a favorite

Keep looking – never have a favorite

More than sad, I think it’s impossible to designate a favorite beer. Really? You’ve got a ‘favorite beer?’ How did you exactly come to that conclusion – and how long have you held that ridiculous belief?

It’s both impossible and ridiculous because beer is so contextual. Plus many of them are non-pasteurized, so they will literally change over any sort of time frame.

Do you have a favorite sauce or bread or soup? Beer is a category that’s so large and ever changing, it boggles my mind to even consider thinking about what beer would be my favorite if a gun was held to my head and I was forced to choose.

Enjoying beer as well as drinking beer (two different things) will be directly impacted by many factors among them place, freshness, availability, mood, ambient temperature, company, and service vessel. To assume that the ‘favorite beer’ will be the same in every time, place and situation is terribly ignorant.

I used to hate this question when it was asked of me. Now I relish it when someone asks me “what’s your favorite beer?” I’ve long stated “the one in front of me.” My good and beer savvy friend Lisa says “the next one.” I also like “the one that’s fresh,” “the one you buy me,” “what ever you’re pouring,” and “what’s available.”

Why limit yourself to a “favorite” when time, opportunity and accessibility perpetually change. As do our taste buds and preferences as we learn and age.

Give yourself a home taste-bud advantage: make your favorite beer the one you’re enjoying right now. The same goes with each one after that, wherever you may be and what ever you may be drinking.

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Why We Do What We Do at WEB

Have you ever stopped to look at the people enjoying beer? Meaning, have you paused long enough to look around and see what genders are savoring the beverage we call beer?

Addressing the 300 - 400 audience members in Boston, CBC 2009

Well, about two and a half years ago, I had reason to pause. Someone encouraged me to submit a proposal to the Craft Brewers Conference (for 2009). Okay – I thought. Great! Yet what do I have to offer the beer community that they will find of value? At that time WEB (Women Enjoying Beer) had not yet launched so, while I’m full of ideas all the times, I’d not considered a specific direction into beer as a profession.

So I sat myself down and said, “Self, what can you offer the beer community?”. Self set to brain dumping on the computer and before I knew it, two complete proposals lay before my eyes. One was “What About the Other 50%?! Developing & Serving the Female Craft Beer Consumer”. Alas! It was selected and Women Enjoying Beer was formed. 300 – 400 people showed up to hear more. Obviously it struck a nerve. Or at least made people curious.

What did I see at that point? Opportunity.

  • Opportunity to work with people I wanted to be around and had whom I had gotten to know. Knowing that who I am is what I do, I only wanted to put energy into something that was truly worth the investment of my life.
  • Opportunity to fill a need – properly marketing craft/beer to women from the consumers’ perspective – that no one else on the planet was doing.
  • Opportunity to support the rather remarkable craft beer community and progress women.
  • Opportunity to exercise my true passion for business, education, fun, and beer.

I’ve said many times that WEB is not about women and not about beer. That’s not totally true. Indeed, if the players at the table were already equally represented gender wise, it’d be a non issue. As it is, it is. So it’s time to address the 50.9% of the global population that is female and their relationship with beer.

Rainbow of change

What do I see now? An opportunity of a magnitude that is perhaps overwhelming to some. Not us. My colleague Kate and I get into it daily to progress the agenda of getting more women and beer businesses educated: it’s about beer at its core, education and the experience around beer and inviting a minority participant to fully engage. We’re the only one on the planet specializing in this arena: serving the female consumer and the beer community starting with her perspective.

What I see in the future is that women ARE the way to growth for the craft beer community. With 70+% of men engaged in beer and only 27% of women; with the craft breweries in the USA over 1700+ and breweries in planning 600+; with not wanting to cannibalize existing market share; with wanting to develop new beer enthusiasm. Women are the answer.

I see smart, responsible education and fun based progress. Women Enjoying Beer recently got our Registered Trademark from the US government. While some may shrug and say ‘so what’, we see it as another small validation of our goals, business, and increased future success.

Women are the future of the viability and success of craft beer. If you’re a business and you’re ignoring women intentionally or unintentionally, you are most certainly going to miss the boat. Female consumers must be brought in. Marketing and developing women to engage in beer…well, that’s everyone’s opportunity.

We know why we’re around. Why are you?

Written for BrewPublic, originally published 4.16.11 by the fabulous Angelo De Ieso. many thanks, beer friend.

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The Most Important Women In Beer Part 1: Consumers

Who do you think your most important consumers are? Have you thought about it? It’s time you do.

If and when you do, because – yes, you should – know they are women. Yes, the guys are valuable too – however there is already 70+% of men engaged in beer. There’s only 27+/-% of women engaged.

Is that opportunity I hear knocking??

Marketing Craft Beer to Women Matters

So by the numbers, the sheer latent potential value of engaging women is HUGE. Would you like a bigger piece of the female market share craft beer pie? Then make a concerted effort to recruit, educate, invite, attract, not repel, and otherwise respectfully court the women of the world to your brands. Take that effort further to properly train and educate yourself and your staff about how the female beer consumer shops, what she wants from her beer and how to appropriately get your beer in front of her with respect.

Consumers will make or break all businesses. With an all time high (post prohibition) number of breweries in the US of A now open, and a record number in planning, beer businesses would be wise to pay attention.

Chances are good you have important females in your life already. And females are particularly well positioned to help you survive and thrive when you market to them appropriately since they make the vast majority of purcha$ing deci$ion$ (across all categories).

With a majority global population, women are the future of craft beer in the USA. They are some of the most important women in the world for you and your beer.

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Gluten Free & Vegetarian Beer & Food Tasting Menu

Last night was another lively Women Enjoying Beer monthly meet up. The women filled the special side room at Standing Stone Brewing Company to participate in the gluten free and vegetarian beer and food event.

Fresh veggies are gluten free & vegetarian

Of course, we all learned more – and we did in fact have 2 individuals in the group who are Celiac – gluten intolerant, however severe or mild. For omnivores, it’s a non concern. However for the 2 – 3.2 million people in the states who are afflicted, it’s a big deal. Especially if you want to enjoy beer.

Hopefully it makes omnivores appreciate the myriad choices that are available with no restrictions.

The format this time was to pour small taster glasses full of each of the four beverages and then serve the foods, passed around family style (remember – this is extremely social!). Then each person can taste the food with a bit of each beverages as they wished. It was enlightening for all of us.

Beverage Menu

One interesting thing per gluten free guidelines is that in order to be labeled Gluten Free it has to be less than 20ppm (parts per million) gluten. Curious – since there still maybe residual gluten from processing. So severe cases need to be cautious and do a little bit of research perhaps first.

Gluten Free choices

Clearly ciders are not beers. That said, there’s a terrific selection and variety available, no danger of gluten in them and they provide a nice choice alternative.

Food menu

  • Lisanatti Almond Cheeses
  • Fresh seasonal melons – mmmmmm! Great with the ciders
  • Hummus with garlic, cilantro and warm spices like cumin and cinnamon
  • Veggie shooters in a taster glass with bleu cheese dressing

The beers most certainly tasted remarkably different with the foods than the ciders. So it was great to be able to talk about complementary flavors as well as contrasting flavors.

There are plenty of ways to accommodate. And with approximately 1 in 133 Americans being Celiac, there’s an enormous opportunity to make high quality beers and ciders to serve these folks.

Big opportunity – kind of like thinking about properly addressing the female beer consumer, eh?

Cheers to a tasty and gluten free adventure!

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Not Just Words

“I’m glad that you are still promoting Women Enjoying Beer. Women are clearly underrepresented in beer marketing. I think that a beer maker who recognizes the purchasing power of women beer drinkers will be hugely successful, even if the men won’t buy it…. That said, if a beer maker could gain a 5 percent market share among women only – that would be a hell of a lotta beer! I think you are on to something HUGE! I am confident that a few beer makers are listening to you and your wisdom and insights.”

This is from an outside the industry supporter. A consumer.

Thanks, you know who.

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Small World

Here’s a direct quote from an email removal request:

“I would appreciate your removing my email address from you[r] list as I live in Pittsburgh and I think I am on the other side of the world from you and your activities. But thank you anyway.”

Small world - from one coast to the other

Very good. Permission marketing dictates, as should our uncommon good sense, that we act appropriately on this (which I did immediately and from which this person originally asked to sign up).

What struck me was that it really is a small world, two coasts or borders of any country are only separated by miles and mindset.

Be a geek, not a snob, honor thy consumers requests in a timely fashion, small world or not.

Permission marketing is another big point for the female consumer. Ask them how they want to be communicate with and then do just that.

“But that’s so much work!”

Not really – in fact when you ask, they’re helping you figure out how they want to be reached and will be way more receptive.

See it as opportunity. Anytime there’s a conversation, there’s opportunity.

Open the doors that’re knock knock knocking…

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