Beer and Women

Catching up with Stan's blog: a few days ago, he commented on a recent wave of writing-about-women-and-beer (that's my abbreviated version of his content). Worth visiting to see his comments and links to others'.

I'll just add: ain't nuthin' new under the sun. Since beer came back 74.5 years ago (the 75th anniversary is coming up in April), brewers have wrestled with the women-and-beer problem: Market to women-as-the-household's-main-shopper? Market to women-as-women? Market beer-with-food and thus to the people who do most of the household cooking? Sell the beer in seven-ounce-cans? (Idea being that women have smaller stomachs...) Sell the stuff in pink cartons? (One brewer tried that in the 1950s; the carton was shaped and designed like a small gift, complete with printed ribbons. So cute....)

Many brewers in the 1930s hosted cooking demonstrations and luncheons in department stores, hoping to persuade women that beer was dignified, wholesome, and fashionable. Others touted beer's virtues as a hair conditioner, hoping that women would buy one six-pack for the bathroom and one for the frig.

And of course the whole "low calorie" thing began life in the 1930s as a way to persuade women that beer was not fattening.

So the brewers really have been there, done that. But mostly what they've done is market beer to (very) young men, and do so using tits and tanktops. And the reason they've done so is because Americans infantalize drinking. And as long as that remains true, well, I doubt marketing -- for or to women or anyone else -- will change much. But we can hope.