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Why can’t beer be more like gin?

1 May

Download a PDF copy of the 2019 report

A study into female attitudes and behaviours towards beer by women and beer interest group, Dea Latis, reveals that women would switch to beer if it wasn’t associated with pints, bloating and sexist imagery and reinvented itself, as gin has done in recent years, with added elegance, better glassware and a premium serve.

In a follow up to The Gender Pint Gap, published last year, The Beer Agender explores in more detail the opinions and attitudes of women; their perceptions of beer – the product, the service, the drinkers, and the world it inhabits.

The Beer Agender includes revealing quotes from the women who took part in the research that showed women can often be their own harshest critics. With only 17% of women drinking beer regularly* the report shows that they are still influenced by the complex attitudes and imagery associated with men and beer.

The Beer Agender reports that:

  • the image of beer and its advertising is often associated with beer-swilling men in pubs;
  • the typical female beer drinker is someone who doesn’t care too much about what other people think of her or is a woman who doesn’t care too much about what she thinks of herself;
  • the bloat factor is a major consideration and feeling tight across the belly and burping is a big barrier to drinking beer on a night out;
  • women definitely don’t want a ladies-only beer and want to move beyond volume to focus more on beautiful glassware and lighter, more golden beers;
  • they want tastings as standard, with glasses and packages of beer that are smaller than a half pint, but with more interest and more flavours;
  • and that matching types of food with beer is an attractive proposition for women but they need to taste, sample, inspired and enticed.

The report’s co-author, beer sommelier and Dea Latis director Annabel Smith said: “This year’s report illustrated that many women in this country still have some ingrained deep-seated beliefs and perceptions about beer. And many of these are not positive. Women don’t want a beer made for women. Women just want the beer and pub industry to look at things from their perspective, and reconsider how beer is presented and positioned to them.”

The Beer Agender suggests that brewers and retailers should take these issues on board and stop dwelling on past beliefs. It concludes that women who drink beer are relaxed and happy and fun and in control and generally comfortable within their own skin and it should be this confident woman that other women aspire to be.

Jaega Wise, Head Brewer for Wild Card Brewing in Walthamstow, London commented on the report, saying: “This report is important for the health and growth of the beer industry in the UK. Many factors, long suspected in the complicated relationship between women and beer, specifically in the UK, have been confirmed with this thorough research. There is a huge amount of work for the beer industry to do to overcome outdated stereotypes facilitated by decades of damaging advertising.”

*The Gender Pint Gap survey conducted by YouGov

Survey Methodology

The Dea Latis survey was conducted using a qualitative approach that involved facilitating a two hour ‘beer event’ in Sutton Coldfield, along with eight paired in-depth interviews held in Manchester and Watford.

During the beer event, participants were given an opportunity to try several beers and were also asked to come up with their own ideas around encouraging more women to drink more beer.

The follow-up paired in-depth interviews gave us a chance to probe further on some issues which emerged in the beer event, as well as finding out more about the real reasons women choose beer less frequently than they might.

The sample for the beer event and in-depth interviews was deliberately split by age, social grade, life-stage and beer usership, this to partly reflect the sample from the first report undertaken.

The Beer Agender research and report was funded by a grant from the Brewing and Education Fund run by The Worshipful Company of Brewers.

The Gender Pint Gap in 2018 reported that currently, only 17% of women drink beer at least once a week (compared to 53% of men) and male oriented advertising is the main barrier to over a quarter (27%) of women drinking beer – rising even higher for the 18-24 year-old female group to almost half (48%).

A fifth of women (20%) find the thought of calories in beer and putting on weight to be the biggest reason for not drinking beer and 17% of women feel that ‘being judged by others’ is the third biggest barrier to drinking beer.

Taste is the great divide: Of the women who drink beer 56% do so because they like the taste; conversely, of the women who never drink beer 83% do so because they don’t like the taste.

What stood out most was that female attitudes towards beer have not changed much since the last major survey in 2009.

Emma Inch wins top writing award

23 Nov

Brighton based beer writer and radio broadcaster Emma Inch has been named Beer Writer of the Year 2018 at the Guild of Beer Writers’ annual awards ceremony last night alongside six other women writers and brewers.

Beer Writer of the Year is the top award in the Guild’s annual competition for writing about beer and pubs, which this year received more than 140 entries across nine categories. Inch won two category awards – National Media and Online Communication – on her way to the top prize.

Emma is the creator and presenter of Fermentation Radio, the UK’s only regular beer and brewing show on FM radio. She has written for a number of national and international publications, judges regularly at beer competitions and this summer established the first Brighton & Hove Beer Week.

Adrian Tierney-Jones, chair of judges this year after taking the Beer Writer of the Year title in 2017, said, “All the judges found it exceptionally hard to choose the winners and runners up from the very strong field of entries received this year. As someone who has written about beer for 20 years, it is heartening to see the impressive levels of knowledge, energy and passion in beer and pub writing, and also to see the growing media interest in the subject.

Tierney-Jones was joined on the judging panel by Amy Bryant, food editor at The Telegraph; James Cuthbertson, MD of Dark Star Brewery and founder of the Beer & Cider Marketing Awards; Stu McKinlay, co-founder of Yeastie Boys; Jenn Merrick, founder of Earth Station Brewery; Mark Taylor, Bristol-based food and drink writer, and Zoe Wood, retail correspondent at The Guardian.

The Guild’s Brewer of the Year title, presented at the same time as those for writing, was this year shared for the first time by two candidates who drew level in a poll of Guild members: John Keeling, recently retired from Fuller’s, and Jaega Wise, head brewer at Wild Card Brewery.

Presenting these Awards, Guild chairman Pete Brown said, “Both John and Jaega are worthy recipients. John’s contribution to brewing has been immense, from championing traditional cask ale to creating contemporary crowd pleasers with craft brewers, while also being an advocate for gender equality in the industry, appointing a woman head brewer to succeed him.

“Jaega has not only been producing outstanding beers but has also worked tirelessly to promote beer among the general public and built links with other drinks industries such as wine. Jaega has risen to become one of the most important voices of the industry, and a champion of increasing diversity and promoting equality within it.”

 

AND THE WINNERS ARE:

Brewer of the Year:

John Keeling, recently retired from Fuller’s

Jaega Wise, Wild Card Brewery

Guild Award for Best Citizen Beer Communicator

Winner: Martin Oates

Commended: Oli Carter Esdale

Guild Award for Best Beer Writer – Corporate Communications

Winner: Roosters Brewery

Guild Award for Best Beer & Travel Writer

Winner: Jonny Garrett

Silver Award: Mark Dredge

Long Live the Local Award for Best Writer about Pubs

Winners: Jessica Boak & Ray Bailey

Commended: Bob Jeffrey

St Austell Brewery Award for Best Young Beer Writer of the Year

Winner: Eoghan Walsh

Silver Award: Katie Taylor

Commended: James Beeson

Heineken Award for Best Beer Communicator – Online

Winner: Emma Inch

Silver Award: Matthew Curtis

Fuller’s London Pride Award for Best Beer Writer – Trade Media

Winner: Will Hawkes

Silver Award: James Beeson

Commended: Matthew Curtis

Adnams Award for Best Beer Writer – Regional Media

Winner: Alastair Gilmour

Silver Award: Susan & Judith Boyle

Greene King Award for Best Beer Writer – National Media

Winner: Emma Inch

Silver Award: Melissa Cole

The Michael Jackson Gold Tankard for Beer Writer of the Year 2018

Emma Inch

Combing art and science in new beer recipe book

17 Aug

A new book by the award-winning writer, Melissa Cole, features over 70 recipes using beer as an ingredient.

In the The Beer Kitchen Melissa has combined two of her greatest passions: great brews and delicious food combining the art and science of cooking and pairing food with beer.

The book offers ideas for simple dips, chutneys and pickles to show-off roasts, classic pies and inventive desserts, by combining an instinctive and scientific approach to cooking with beer.

Readers can feast on the exquisite Beer-brined Pork Chops with Blue Cheese Polenta, the perfect Sunday lunch of Ale Roast Goose with Double Red Cabbage, or for a light but tasty snack try the creamy Celeriac Croquettes with Hefeweizen Sauce.

The Beer Kitchen is the first cookbook that specifies a style of beer – and even a few different brands – from the supermarket shelves. It has multiple vegetarian and vegan options, thorough advice on tasting notes and a whole section dedicated to cheese, plus all the science on obtaining optimum flavour.

 

 

Back to more research for a ‘deeper dive’

9 Aug

Dea Latis, has been awarded a second grant by the The Worshipful Company of Brewers from their Brewers’ Research and Education Fund to delve further into women’s attitudes and behaviours around beer following the publication of their report in May this year, The Gender Pint Gap.

Dea Latis directors, Lisa Harlow and Annabel Smith identified during the early stages of drafting their report that the results demanded a much ‘deeper dive’ into the psychology of female relationships and attitudes towards beer. The report was drawn from a YouGov survey of 2,000 respondents answering mainly multiple-choice questions so there was no opportunity to explore responses in more detail at that stage. The new funding will provide an opportunity to conduct more detailed, qualitative research.

They are also keen to explore how brand owners, brewers and retailers are responding and reacting to female attitudes towards beer and to draw up some ‘best practice’ guidance.

Lisa Harlow explained: “Our first report was the most comprehensive piece of research in this area for over nine years and provided us – and the sector – with a fascinating overview of today’s situation. At the same time it generated more questions than we could answer.

“For example, why did so many non-beer drinkers say that they just don’t like the taste of beer. Was it tempered by inherent beliefs and opinions or have they had a poor experience of beer so their conclusion is that all beer is the same? Have they had the opportunity to experience a diverse range of flavours, styles and colours, and been encouraged to form opinions without judgement or ridicule?”

The second piece of research will also look into why women don’t drink beer for fear of ‘being judged by others’; why marketing and advertising of beer is such a big barrier (48% in the 18-24-year-old age group) and what brewers might be doing to address the misconceptions about beer in terms of calorific content, serve size, quality and image.

Annabel Smith added: “Our aim is not to tell the beer industry how to do their job or give negative opinions about their marketing strategies. We want to engage and work with brewers to create an achievable set of standards and messages based on robust ‘real life’ opinions of real consumers. We want to engage, educate and entice women to consider beer and research such as this is commercially valuable to brewers, brand owners and retailers.

“We are very grateful to the Worshipful Company of Brewers for their support in this, and our earlier research.”

How to sell beer to everyone

22 Jul

Emma Inch from the Fermentation Beer and Brewing Show caught up with beer writers, Jessica Mason and Pete Brown to talk to them about their recent presentation at Imbibe live entitled: ‘How to sell beer to everyone’

Pete, himself, an ex-beer ad-man, describes how the beer marketing industry got itself into the macho world of lads and sport in the first place and Jess offers their six straight-forward ideas  to promote beer to more people – particularly for pub and bar operators.

Listen to the Fermentation podcast here, first broadcast on 22 July 2018. Skip forward to 49 minutes in for the 7 minute clip.

Women dominate beer group awards

10 Jul

Women involved in the beer and pub sector dominated the awards given at the All-Party Parliamentary Beer Group (APPBG) Annual Dinner in Westminster recently with four of the seven awards going to five women.

The presentation was made by Mike Wood MP, the Chairman of the APPBG at the Beer Group’s Annual Awards Dinner in Westminster which attracted over 200 MPs, Peers and senior industry figures.

Sara Barton from Brewster’s Brewery in Grantham was nominated by the Institute of Brewing & Distilling as ‘Brewer of the Year’ for her brewing innovation, advocacy in communicating about beer and for blazing a trail for the current generation of female brewers and beer lovers.

Annabel Smith and Jane Peyton won a joint ‘Lifetime Achievement Award’. Annabel was described as one of the countries most respected beer quality trainers; one of the driving forces behind Dea Latis and hosting beer and food matching events for female MPs, the most recent being held last November.

Jane is a writer, broadcaster, events host and drinks educator. She holds the Guinness World Record for leading the world’s largest beer tasting; hosts a popular beer tasting tour of historic London pubs and instigated Beer Day Britain. Both were two of the UK’s first female beer sommeliers in 2012.

Ruth Smeeth, MP for Stoke North was awarded the honour of ‘Beer Parliamentarian of the Year’. Ruth has brewed her own beer, worked an evening behind the bar at the Bulls Head in Burslem; she has hosted two receptions in Parliament for Dea Latis and is the Beer Group’s Labour Vice chair.

Finally, Great British Bake-Off winner, Candice Brown, was named as the Beer Drinker of the Year.

Other awards at the dinner were:

  • Special Award: Colin Valentine and Tim Page, CAMRA
  • Pub Parliamentarian of the Year: Ben Bradley, MP for Mansfield.
  • PubAid Award:  Stonegate Pub Company

The photograph shows Jane Peyton, Annabel Smith and Sara Barton toasting their awards

Calling time on homophobic, sexist & racist abuse in pubs

4 Jul

Drinks writer and beer and pubs advocate, Jessica Mason has launched a new accreditation scheme for pubs called The Equality in Pubs Accreditation (TEPA) in an attempt to stamp out homophobic, sexist and racist abuse in pubs.

Pub owners/operators who want to tell customers that their pub has a zero tolerance policy on abuse in any of its forms can now sign up to TEPA and, from 2019, gain a window sticker and a plot on a map on TEPA website to let people know that their pub doesn’t support homophobia, sexism or racism in any of its guises from neither its staff or it’s drinkers. Joining TEPA means the publican has a civic duty to act should they recognise abuse in their venue.

The Accreditation has been pioneered to offer all people the freedom to visit the nation’s finest pubs without trepidation and to remind the pub, beer and hospitality industry as a whole that inclusiveness is everyone’s responsibility.

Jessica said: “Social equality is a human right. Let the best pubs, bars and taprooms, run by the most accommodating, kind and friendly staff identify themselves and help all people remember that the value of pubs is as much what they represent as anything they serve across the bar.”

“Pubs are for everyone. The word pub is short for Public House. People should feel that term is valid irrespective of gender, sexuality and race. They are a community hub for all and a place where everyone, whatever their identity, should feel is safe.”

TEPA will be open for submissions from publicans from September 2018 where after a shortlist will be drawn up and the first accredited TEPA venues will be visited and mapped before the close of the year.

From the spring of 2019, the TEPA map will become accessible to all – with its usefulness designed to help people navigate their way to places that are non-discriminatory.

For more information contact: Jessica Mason, Drinks Maven Ltd, email Jessica@drinksmaven.com , call 07939 220485 or tweet: @drinksmaven

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