Gendering Beer

I’ve been called a beer snob before. It’s true that I’m a little picky about what beer I drink (Budweiser always tastes oddly soapy and gives me a headache,  and I prefer anything that Ommegang makes, Breckenridge Vanilla Porter, or Great Lakes Edmund Fitzgerald), and I have even made beer twice now. As a former bartender,  I can share from my experience that certain beverages were preferred by each gender (for example, women seemed to love apple martinis – however, plenty of guys ordered them as well).  A beer blog I frequent posted about a new beer – Chick. While I do tend to love the color pink, this is a little too over the top, and I am more annoyed than interested. First, there’s only one style of beer offered – offer me some choices! Next, the idea that women will only want a light beer (I have nothing against light beer, but I like some selection and while I certainly am not speaking for all people, I know I served more than just one style of beer). Third, the idea that the 6-pack looks like the beer is in a “hip, stylish purse” just made me roll my eyes. You know what I carry in my cute, not so stylish purse? A wallet, my sunglasses, keys, lip gloss, but NOT beer. I don’t know about any other ladies, but I don’t require a beer “just for women.” Image courtesy of Chick Beer

While I agree that most men I know do like beer and often beer companies target men, I don’t feel intimidated ordering a beer. A local restaurant has a beer tour (you have one year to drink 100 beers), and when my ex and I would sidle up to the bar for a drink, the (non usual) bartender would look at the tour card then inevitably ask my (male) ex which beer he would like. Said ex would laugh and explain that I am the beer drinker and then order either an iced tea or a whiskey and Coke. Apparently, Chick Beer isn’t the only company trying to tap into the female beer drinker market. In the United Kingdom, a new beer called Animee from Molson Coors is being aimed at “making beer a real choice for women” (was it a fake choice before?). That said, I do like what the Animee people are saying – they’re trying to break down barriers between women and beer, and attempt to make beer more socially acceptable for women to drink. An article from Nerve on Animee makes the most sense to me – no matter, alcohol (and um, most of society) is sexist. They point out “But the elephant in the brewery, so to speak, has been the disenfranchisement of women from the beer market due to sexist advertising over the past few decades. It’s become so deeply ingrained in our culture that it’s just accepted, and then beer companies wind up at an economic impasse, and have to concoct these embarrassing beer versions of wine coolers. And it works both ways.” They explain what happens if (GASP) a guy were to order up a Chick or Animee? He’d likely be mocked.

My suggestion? Order what YOU like. Or, try sampling to find what you like. The thing I did like about the beer tour was the little spiral bound book given out that helped organize what you liked, and add your own thoughts. Also, don’t give in to ideas that a woman drinking a beer is now “one of the guys” or that a guy drinking a Cosmopolitan must be gay – in fact, say something if you’re comfortable doing so. Breaking stereotypes can be done, in time, in my opinion. Would you sip on a Chick or Animee?

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About Holly Moyseenko

Holly Moyseenko is a sex educator living in Ohio. She is an advocate of positive and healthy sexuality. Holly currently works for a non-profit health organization as a health educator, and also teaches workshops that focus on many topics within the realm of healthy sexuality. In her spare time, she also is an advocate for survivors of sexual assault, gardens, reads anything within reach, drinks copious amounts of tea, and naps with her two dogs.