Since December, I’ve been bartending at a local trappist/craft beer pub here in my hometown. Being a female bartender, faced with shameless drunken cat calls and awkward flirting- I’ve also encountered a different kind of sexism. From my personal experiences at the bar, with distributors, and even when I’m out at breweries or various bars- there’s a notion that no woman likes beer. FALSE. Women have been virtually cut out of the beer industry, from the brewing to the marketing. The mid 90’s and 00’s showed commercials of scantily clad women in bikinis promoting panther piss beers like Coors or Budweiser. While the craft breweries who don’t have the money for said commercials, just brew beers with sexist or sexually suggestive names like “Pearl Necklace” Oyster Stout (Flying Dog Brewing), or Donkey Punch Brewery in Redlands, CA. More often than not, the beers that are actually marketed to women come in pink cans, low-calorie, and often just taste downright horrible. Well there’s a good reason why women (unfamiliar with craft beer) think that they don’t like beer!
I work with a distributor who has a vast private collection of Belgian imports and American craft, and he has recently offered to share a bottle of one of the most coveted beers, the Westvleteren 12. However, the men of the bar are only invited, as it is “too expensive to be wasted on me.” His assumptions would lead him to believe that I don’t like beer, or that I don’t know an amazing beer when it’s handed to me. FALSE. It then dawned on me that in every industry, and in every part of my life as a woman, we still have a long way to go. I follow several women craft brewers, marketers, and appreciators online both on WordPress, Instagram, and other means of media. The big three beer companies, and the thousands of craft breweries should take note that there IS a female market. A niche of independent women with developed taste buds (We actually have more refined tastebuds than men! Seriously),who choose to drink craft over crap, and want to be a part of the great beer community. So this month, as it is Women’s History month, I’m raising a pint to all of you ladies who love a hearty stout, bitter IPA, or a tart sour. This is our opportunity to make a niche for ourselves. This is our time. Cheers!