Tag Archives: Annabel Smith

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.

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

Beer writers outperform FTSE on gender balance

1 Jul

The British Guild of Beer Writers appointed five women to their board of nine members in June – which means that as an organisation it outperforms the FTSE 100 companies by 92%* on the gender balance in boards issue!

Elected as directors are Frances Brace, Pete Brown (as a new Chairman), Joanna Dring, Susanna Forbes, Robert Humphreys, Paul Nunny, Annabel Smith, Neil Walker and Natalya Watson. In addition, Ros Shiel, secretary to the Guild swells the females ranks even further at board meetings.

Warm tributes were paid to the long-standing chair Tim Hampson who stepped down after twelve years’ service and it was also revealed that for the first time in its history, the Guild has over 300 members.

Frances Brace, Director of Red Flame Communications commented: “The gender shift in such an iconic organisation should be good news for the image of beer and for those in the beer industry working towards greater inclusivity.”

*29% of FTSE 100 company directors are women but 56% of Guild directors are women.

 The photograph shows the female contingent on the Guild board, from left to right: Frances Brace, Susanna Forbes, Annabel Smith, Jo Dring and Natalya Watson

 

Beer and food combos for GBBF

22 Jun

Two renowned female beer experts, Christine Cryne and Annabel Smith will run beer and food matching sessions at the Great British Beer Festival at London’s Olympia from 7th to 11th August 2018.

On Friday 10th August from 1.30 to 2.30pm, Annabel Smith, Beer Sommelier and BeerBelle founder, will take tasters through the wonderful world of beer and cheese pairing with a delicious smorgasbord of beer and bites.

Later that day, from 6pm until 7pm, Christine Cryne will be running a session explaining why one of the best combinations of tastes is beer with chocolate! Go and have your preconceptions blown away with some great beers and chocolate – and they are not all dark!

Tickets for both sessions are limited and for CAMRA members cost £16.00 and for non-member £19.00.  Visit www.gbbf.org.uk/tutored-tastings

‘1st Women’ features female beer inspector

18 Jun

Dea Latis founder and director Annabel Smith has had her portrait featured in a major photographic exhibition entitled ‘100 First Women Portraits’ by Anita Corbin .

100 First Women comprises a unique collection of 100 portraits capturing women in the UK who were “first” in their field of achievement. The portraits by photographer Anita Corbin provide inspiration and insight for a new generation of women seeking an understanding of their own roles in a rapidly changing world in which equality is still an issue.

Annabel was photographed by Anita in her capacity as the UK’s ‘First Female Beer Inspector’ for the Cask Marque Trust. The photo was captured at Fuller’s flagship venue The Parcel Yard, at London King’s Cross, in 2009.

The full collection will be revealed at the Dyson Gallery, Royal College of Art, SW11 4AN, and the exhibition will run from 20th July to 22nd August 2018 to mark 100 years of women’s suffrage.

Entry is free.

For more information, visit www.1stwomenuk.co.uk

Brewers networking event considers women and beer

25 May

Annabel Smith received am enthusiastic trade sales reaction to The Gender Pint Gap report this week when she presented to a brewers’ Drinks Sales Networking event in London for over thirty brewery and drinks representatives from around the country.

In presenting the findings of the report, she challenged the brewers to think about their responses to the range of statistics published; that despite the boom in UK beers and brewing in the last ten years, little has changed in terms of women’s attitudes to drinking beers.

A lively debate ensued after the presentation with everyone there vowing to take back their findings to their respective businesses for consideration.

Annabel said: “As we say in the report, there’s a lot of history to unravel and it’s going to take a concerted effort by the brewers, marketeers, retailers and media to turn these ingrained attitudes around. We can all do something to peel back these layers.”

Joe Brouder, Regional Sales Manager for Timothy Taylor added: “The Gender Pint Gap report has certainly given us all something to think about and there are definitely incremental changes we can all make to support the report’s recommendations.”

 

Is beer the last alcoholic drink with a gender bias?

8 May

Download PDF: The Gender Pint Gap Report_Dea Latis_May 2018

The UK has one of the lowest percentage of female beer drinkers in the world, despite the much lauded craft beer boom. Outdated sexist marketing, fear of the ‘beer belly’, and negative perceptions about flavour are all contributing to British women spurning our national drink. These are the findings in a new report into female attitudes and behaviours towards the UK’s favourite alcoholic drink.

The Gender Pint Gap report released by the women and beer group, Dea Latis is the first major piece of research about female attitudes towards beer in almost a decade. In a fast-moving consumer landscape that has seen a huge rise in the number of breweries and beer brands in the UK, the report reveals:

  • Only 17% of women drink beer at least once a week (compared to 53% of men).
  • Male oriented advertising is one of the three main barriers for 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%) say that high calorie content is one of the three main barriers for women drinking beer.
  • 17% of women feel that ‘being judged by others’ is one of the three biggest barriers to drinking beer.
  • 32% of women would now drink beer at home with friends, compared to just 3% of women in another survey about women’s drinking habits and their relationship with beer in 2009*.
  • 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.

The research conducted by YouGov was commissioned by Dea Latis, the group set up to inform and educate women about beer and to choose beer as a drink of choice. They wanted to examine whether the UK’s craft beer boom in the last decade has inspired more women to drink beer.

Comparing their statistics to a similar piece of research conducted in 2009*, it appears that female attitudes, perceptions and beliefs about beer have not changed much beyond a stronger trend to drinking beer at home. The report, say the authors, begs the question: why is the beer industry not tapping into this female market with an image overhaul?

Beer Sommelier and Dea Latis director Annabel Smith said: “We know that the beer category has seen massive progress in the last decade – you only need to look at the wide variety of styles and flavours which weren’t available widely in the UK ten years ago. Yet it appears the female consumer either hasn’t come on the same journey, or the beer industry just isn’t addressing their female audience adequately. Overtly masculine advertising and promotion of beer has been largely absent from media channels for a number of years but there is a lot of history to unravel. Women still perceive beer branding is targeted at men.”

Co-author of the report, Lisa Harlow added: “Our research has shown many misconceptions which women still hold about beer, such as calorific content, self-image and pre-conceptions about taste. It was disheartening in our supposedly enlightened times that so many of our female respondents cited ‘being judged by others’ as a reason for not drinking beer. Perhaps we need some high-profile celebrity advocates to show women that it is acceptable to drink beer?”

Beer writer, Sommelier & Certified Cicerone®, Melissa Cole said of the report: “An important piece of research that’s based on intelligent and insightful questions to unearth the simple ways the beer industry has managed to disenfranchise women from their once-loved drink over the last 70 years or so.

“It highlights everything from societal pressures to inappropriate serves to ingrained misogyny and more as just some of the issues and challenges the brewing industry to do something about it.

“But it’s not just criticism, it’s got rational advice on how the new, and old, guard of brewing can make beer relevant to 51% of the population again; but it’s also only just the start and I hope more long-overdue funding is provided to help address this issue.”

Jane Peyton, Beer Sommelier, writer, and founder of the School of Booze said: “The stats are fascinating and so insightful. I learned a lot about attitudes. This report should be read by everyone who makes and sells beer.”

The report concludes with a ‘Beer Drinking Women’s Manifesto’ which urges women who drink beer to become advocates; encouraging sampling, asking for different volumes and glassware and dispelling myths about calories and acceptability.

About the survey:

The Dea Latis survey was conducted using an online interview administered to members of the YouGov Plc UK panel of 800,000+ individuals who have agreed to take part in surveys.

All figures, unless otherwise stated, are from YouGov Plc. Total sample size was 2026 adults of which 1094 were female. Fieldwork was undertaken between 3rd – 4th October 2017. The survey was carried out online. The figures have been weighted and are representative of all GB adults (aged 18+).

 

*Molson Coors’ Bittersweet Survey: ‘Study into the drinking habits of UK women and their relationship with beer’ was sourced from an ICM survey in 2009. ICM interviewed a random sample of 2002 women aged 18-64 from its online panel between 26th – 28th January 2009. Respondents who don’t drink alcohol were screened out.

 

 

Discrimination debate takes centre-stage

10 Jan

Industry experts will gather at the Manchester Beer Festival trade day to debate how the beer industry should combat discrimination.

Taking place between 6:30 pm and 7:30 pm on 24 January at Manchester Central, the panel discussion “Sexism is bad for business. What are we going to do about it?” aims to address the ongoing issues and challenges of sexism in the beer industry and determine what practical steps can be taken to address it. It follows hot on the heels of the festival’s decision to filter out beers with sexist names or discriminatory images and CAMRA publicly condemning sexism and discrimination in the industry.

Master Beer Trainer Christine Cryne will lead the debate with the following panelists on board:

  • Jaega Wise, Head Brewer of Wild Card Brewery, who has recently made headlines for her comments on sexist beer labelling
  • Annabel Smith, beer sommelier and founder of Dea Latis, an organisation that aims to bring beer to more women
  • Barry Shaw, operations manager for Beerhouse’s pub chain which includes six pubs
  • Jennifer Smith, co-owner and founder of Brewsmith Beer, a ten-barrel brewery
  • Katie Wiles, CAMRA’s senior communications manager and beer blogger at wilesaboutbeer.com

Annabel Smith said: “During our years running Dea Latis we have gathered a lot of anecdotal evidence about sexism in the beer and pub sector. Most predominantly we have identified there is a proliferation of blatantly sexist beer names and imagery which alienate female consumers, and an assumption that brewing beer is a ‘man’s job’. It even filters down to bar staff who automatically assume that beer is for the males in a group, and women prefer wine.

“Dea Latis wants to change these attitudes and perceptions because we believe that beer is gender neutral and far too good to be appreciated only by men. Come along to the debate if you’re a beer loving female and want to hear your voice heard!”

Graham Donning, CAMRA’s Regional Director for Manchester, said: “Sexism has been a hot topic across many sectors recently. But even within our festival, we have seen outdated attitudes persisting over several years, despite our efforts. It’s led to us deciding passive solutions weren’t working and it was time to take positive action.

“It’s clearly a deep-seated problem within the beer industry of which we are only a small cog. More action is needed and our trade session provides an opportunity for industry professionals and volunteers alike to come together to take us beyond talk. We want to see some practical and realistic ideas on how we can all eradicate sexist attitudes in beer as soon as possible.”

The trade session will kick off the Manchester Beer Festival, and takes place between 5-9pm on the 24th of January. It is open to the press and members of the trade, as well as CAMRA members.

The festival will open to the general public from the 25th-27th January. Tickets are available at http://mancbeerfest.uk/.

Christmas Day Lunch – time to bring out the beers!

30 Nov

Here’s beer sommelier, Annabel Smith’s beer suggestions for Christmas Day:

Before you open that calorie laden bottle of Prosecco, or hangover inducing Chateauneuf-de-Pape with your turkey dinner this year, take some advice from the Dea Latis crew and reach for the beer.

Beer has no problem with any of the traditional comestibles we devour on Christmas day, and what’s more, it’s better for you, contains less calories and you’ll wake up on Boxing Day feeling far fresher!

We’ll start with a plate of smoked salmon for breakfast. Pour yourself a glass of refreshing, fizzy wheat beer, such as Vedett White, Erdinger Heffeweisse or Franziskaner Weissebier. Make sure it’s in a champagne flute; the carbonation and citrus will slice through the oiliness of the salmon with a knife, refreshing the palate and complementing the fish. For the veggies amongst you, bake a whole Camembert and serve with chunks of bread, accompanied by Leffe Blonde or Affligem Tripel. These beers blow wine out of the water with their sweet breadiness.

With a clear head, you can start on the star attraction – the turkey. Substitute the cranberry sauce with a cheeky glass of Titanic Plum Porter. The fruitiness of this beer is a perfect foil to the delicate flavours of white meat. If pork is your meat of choice, there’s no better beer than Jenning’s Cumberland Ale, it’s got a lovely apple peel aroma and flavour. For the nut roast gals out there, we recommend the gorgeous Brooklyn lager, full of toffee, caramel and sweet notes.

Onto the Christmas pudding, reach for Shepherd Neame Bishop’s Finger or Robinson’s Old Tom – both are full of stewed and dried fruit flavours which complement the richness of the dessert.

Here comes the cheeseboard, laden with Stilton, and we’re going to be drinking Theakston’s Old Peculier or Fullers London Porter. Both there beers tone down the metallic, coppery elements in the cheese. It’s a weird combination but it works so well!

And finally…well Christmas wouldn’t be Christmas without a chocolate or two. Settle back and sip a glass of Liefman’s Kriek to recreate that cherry liqueur experience

Beer and women group to stage tasting for female MPs

25 Oct

Beer and women group Dea Latis is joining forces with the Parliamentary Beer Group and British Beer & Pub Association to bring beer to women MPs at an event in Westminster next month.

As well as tasting a selection of beers from across the country, matched to different foods by Beer Sommelier Annabel Smith, guests will meet some of the many women who work in brewing and related industries, from grain to glass. Dea Latis will also be revealing the results of recent research into women and beer at the event.

Smith said, “The aim of our event at Westminster is to remind MPs that women play a vital role in producing our national drink and introduce them to some of the talented women involved in it.

“Women in this country drink less beer than in the USA and most European countries.  At Dea Latis, we’re committed to narrowing this gap by introducing more women to beer and we hope this event creates some new, influential advocates for our cause.”

The event is hosted by Ruth Smeeth MP, vice chair of the All Party Parliamentary Beer Group.  She said, “We’re delighted to be partnering with Dea Latis to bring together women working in parliament and women working in the brewing industry, from grain to glass. It promises to be an enjoyable and informative evening and we’re confident guests will leave the tasting seeing beer in an entirely new light”

Brigid Simmonds, chief executive of the British Beer & Pub Association, added, “‘With a growing number of female MPs taking a keen interest in beer and brewing, the BBPA is delighted to support this Parliamentary celebration of women in beer.”

Dea Latis has staged two previous beer tastings for MPs in 2015 and 2013. The upcoming event, on 21 November, is by invitation only, and is expected to attract some 80 guests drawn from parliament and across the brewing industry:  brewers, maltsters, hop growers, licensees and off-trade retailers, beer sommeliers and writers.

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