Are Craft Brewers Ignoring Women?

It doesn't take a marketing expert to see that beer branding and advertising is overwhelmingly targeted toward men. The major macro brewers, such as Anheuser-Busch and MillerCoors, spend billions of dollars annually on advertising at major sports events where the audience tends to be male. While craft brewers don't have anywhere near the same market presence, some argue that they too have a similar tendency.

In an article for The Drum, guest columnist Sarah Dear wrote about how craft brewers target men through their labeling.

"The craft beer category norms tend to be brown bottles and bold, masculine graphics sporting products names such as 'Howling Monkey' or 'Five O' Clock Shadow'," she wrote. "This brand language is a world away from anything that might create a positive brand relationship with a potential new female audience."

It's ironic, because there is nothing inherently masculine about beer. If anything, it's the opposite. As Dear points out, beer was largely brewed in the home centuries ago, and women tended to be responsible for its production.

And today, women are significant consumers of beer. In fact, according to the Brewer's Association, women between the ages of 21-34 represent 15 percent of total craft beer consumption – and drink these beverages at a rate higher than the national average.

Brewers need to adjust their marketing and branding to reflect this reality. This doesn't necessarily mean dressing up certain beer bottles in pink packaging – that's condescending to the audience. Rather, brewers should simply focus on more gender-neutral custom labels that can attract a wider customer base, while still representing the core brand.

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