It’s about 90 degrees on the mountain. I’m sitting in the backyard amongst the scented pine trees and squawking stellar jays after a summer storm. Gaining beer-spiration for my next article, I’ve pulled out a bottle of Alpine’s Duet to sip on. As beads of condensation build upon my glass, I notice the beer feed being overrun with a new “beer for women.” Duet, did you just change your slogan?
Czech-Republic brewery Aurosa has released an elegantly designed champagne-esque bottle in a soft pink color. The beer is an unfiltered lager dubbed as the “first beer for her.” As a craft beer enthusiasts and female who has worked in the industry, I have a hard time wrapping my head around the concept.
A pink beer bottle “for her”? The craft beer drinking women I know spend more time perusing their favorite bottle shop than they do looking for a pair of shoes with a matching pink bag. While the intentions may have been good, the marketing is a blunder.
Aurosa markets its pretty new bottles as a “representation of a woman’s strength and a girl’s tenderness” going on to further state that “women have been disregarded in the beer industry.” While it is not the intention to bash Aurosa, their attempt to create a new marketing angle to attract female beer drinkers couldn’t be further from the reality.
From my experience running a taproom, nothing makes a female beertender cringe more than having someone order a “girly beer”. For us girls, that beer doesn’t exist. Sours, IPAs, imperial porters, rye ales, saisons, breakfast stouts, the list of beer styles that female imbibers love to drink is as endless as beer recipes. For female beer lovers, summing up a girly beer into one single bottle is not only ludicrous, it’s impossible.
What Aurosa may have failed to recognize in their marketing campaign is the history of beer itself. Women drink beer. More than that, women have long been responsible for brewing beer. Since the beginning of civilization, women have been brewsters. In fact, it was their job.
Women Brewers in History
In ancient times, beer was represented by a goddess – not a god. The oldest written beer record – Hymn to Ninkasi – is a beer recipe and praise for the goddess of brewing Ninkasi. Sumerian women were honored as priestesses for this beer goddess and were responsible for brewing beer for religious ceremonies, as well as society.
Viking women were exclusive brewers of aul and would match the men drink for drink. In England, alewives were responsible for brewing the household beer until the 13th century. Upon entering America, colonial women brewed in their kitchens. In Peru, women are still responsible for making the corn-based brew Chicha. The list of cultures that relied – and still rely – on the role of the female brewer goes on and on.
It wasn’t until beer turned into profit that the role of brewer took a drastic turn. Expanding beyond the home to a commercialized trade, the gender roles of beer making were reversed. What would become a male dominated industry for decades took hold. While women may have taken the back burner in recognition as men began to dominate the industry, women never stopped brewing.
Powerful Brewers Today
Averie Swanson Promoted to Head Brewer! We have a very exciting announcement to make at Jester King Brewery! We could not be more pleased to announce that our Brewery Production Manager Averie Swanson has been promoted to Head Brewer! Averie has been with us at Jester King for over four years now. She has risen from volunteer, to apprentice, to brewer, to Brewery Production Manager, to Head Brewer! She has displayed wonderful commitment, intelligence, ingenuity, and leadership along the way. Her promotion is testament to the power of hard work and dedication. As our Brewery Production Manager, Averie oversaw and ran beer making at Jester King. She coordinated our brewing and fermentation schedule, managed barrel aging, blending, and fruit refermentation, supervised our brewers and packaging team, sourced raw materials, came up with scores of creative new ideas for beers, and fixed innumerable everyday problems through sheer commitment and grit. She will continue on with all of these responsibilities as Head Brewer. On top of all these duties, Averie has been a wealth of new and powerful ideas for other parts of the business, as a member of Jester King’s management team. She has and will continue to represent Jester King with professionalism and class at home and abroad by managing our offsite events and giving brewery tours. Overall, we could not be more pleased with the job Averie has done over the years at Jester King, and can not think of a more deserved and qualified person for this promotion. We’re excited to see an important driver of our process and product over the last several years take the helm. We fully expect her to continue to do great things for us for years to come! If you happen across Averie at the brewery or out there in the beer world, I’d encourage you to congratulate her on this most merited accomplishment. Cheers, Jeffrey Stuffings Founder Jester King Brewery http://jesterkingbrewery.com/averie-swanson-promoted-to-head-brewer
In modern day society, there is an incredible list of women that pioneered the craft beer industry we know today. Mellie Pullman is the first female brewer in contemporary American history – she also helped launch Utah’s first craft brewery Wasatch. Carol Stoudt became the first female proprietor and brewer in 1987. California’s Lost Coast Brewing was founded by the first female team – Barbara Groom and Wendy Pound.
Then there are females like Annie Johnson who was the first female and African American to win the American Homebrewers Association’s Brewer of the Year Award in thirty years since 1983. An impressive feet in itself. You can bet that none of these women took to brewing because women needed a palatable beer just for them.
The list of women paving the way and making headlines in the industry is growing. Women are taking on every role beer has to offer and pumping out brews that are just as good – if not better – than their male counterpart. Just look at the Pink Boots Society.
The Pink Boots Society
The Pink Boots Society is a nonprofit organization that has created a hub where professionals can gather to “assist, inspire, and encourage” others to “advance their careers through education” – oh, and they’re all women. With the president being none other than Stone’s Small Batch Brewer Laura Ulrich, this group of women are pioneering their own way through the industry.
By marketing beer separately for women, Aurosa is solidifying that there is a difference between beer and beer for her. They’re creating a gender gap in an industry that has worked hard to destroy it.
The sexism is not between industry professional – the industry males I’ve worked with are more than impressed by their female counterpart – it lies in creating a product reinforcing a stereotype that women don’t drink beer. And furthermore, that they prefer to drink one in pretty pink packaging.
For female beer drinkers “a women’s strength and a girl’s tenderness” is not defined by a bottle in pink packing.
It’s defined by hoisting sacks of grain, dragging around heavy hoses between fermenters, maneuvering kegs like nobodies business, and drinking a final product worthy of the title beer – while possibly wearing pink brewers boots in the process.
?WEDNESDAY WORKOUTS at the brewery? WEEK 4 • Windshield Wipers Duration • 3 sets of 10 reps side-to-side and up-and-down Muscle group • Core, specifically oblique muscles In this fourth Brewery workout video we are at @culturebrewingco and our head-brewer Aleks has agreed to show off one of my most favorite core workouts! Not much explanation is needed here, but an empty 1/2 bbl keg weighs about 30 pounds and provides the grounding needed to engage the core. Empty grain bags are not as comfy as a yoga mat but a girls gotta do what a girls gotta do! If you have something clever you do to keep in shape while at the brewery, and would like to be featured on a Wednesday Workout video, email: firstname.lastname@example.org and we will pay you a visit! Cheers and stay strong! ??? #workout #staystrong #obliques #brewery #kegs
To be fair, there are women that don’t drink beer. Some women don’t like beer. And those women won’t be persuaded by a pink bottle. Beer still tastes like beer. And for those of us that drink it, we don’t need a product brewed “for us”. Because quite frankly, a lager is probably not the beer style we would choose – at least speaking for myself.
We want beers like Russian River’s Supplication, The Alchemist’s Heady Topper, Maine’s Lunch, and Denali’s Chuli Stout – I’ll stop because this list has no end. We want beer that tastes like the exceptional brew it is. Beer that is marketed as the product it is. We just want good beer.
It’s best to leave the color pink to the professionals of the Pink Boots Society. Women love beer. Women make beer. Women drink beer. We don’t need a special beer telling us what we like. We like beer.