Tuesday, 25 November 2008

A fruit-based beverage for the laydeez?

Link here and here.

It's interesting the creator declares "The way real ale is branded is an absolute turn-off for girls at the moment. Imagine any of my friends walking up to a barman and ordering a pint of "Old Ruddy Fart" yet insists on describing her beer as "real ale". Surely the neutral "beer" would have been more suitable.

It's curious that she's aiming for a type of consumer usually neglected by brewers - women - yet seeks CAMRA's questionable seal of approval by having Paula Waters, chairman of CAMRA pulling the first pint. If I was creating a beer brand for women I'd be banning the words "pint" and "ale" as, in my experience, they are a big turn-off for many women. 

Surely making a song and dance about CAMRA's seal of approval is not going to help in selling this beer to female customers as already "The way real ale is branded is an absolute turn-off for girls". Perhaps the plan is to establish the brand amongst die-hard real ale drinkers to drive volume before genuinely trying to expand in the female beer-newbies market. Whatever, it seems a confused marketing plan.

"The Female palate" - is there such a thing? I very much doubt it. A token addition of something fruity strikes me as a wee bit patronising. Then again, I'm not female, so I should shut up.

I feel a bit guilty for the negative tone of this post. I really do want more brewers attempt to win customers otherwise unentertained by beer, but I'm doubtful this is the way to do it. 


Alistair Reece said...

Well that wouldn't rub with Mrs Velkyal - she likes her ale simple, well made and real. But then, isn't that the whole ethos and point of CAMRA?

The Woolpack Inn said...

I don't know if there is or isn't a female palate. I asked Ann and at first she said "no". Then I said "But you don't drink beer, unless it tastes of fruit and neither do a lot of other women."

"No, but I'm getting to like less sweet drinks now, my palate is maturing." She replied.

"But then taste is partly to do with smell. Perfume and aftershave are made with different scents from proven pheromone effects." Was a further consideration she made "Perhaps there is a difference."

"But is that might be down to conditioning." I ventured

We decided we didn't know if there was an inbuilt palate caused by genetics. But there is a difference because young men MAKE themselves like beer because they want to be men. To prove themselves and then later do grow to like it. Women are allowed to not like beer, so there is a a difference.

Ann claims she's getting better at liking non-fruit beers, so there is a chance. Meanwhile she might like this one if it's a bit sweeter and fruitier.

But does the CAMRA or ale tag detract?

Well it's called Harry's Beer on the first link you post, perhaps they saw your blog and quickly changed it? Yes, the word ale can put people off I agree.

I don't really think CAMRA put people off. Despite their problems I think the majority of the population respect the organisations view of quality beer.

Barry M said...

In fairness, I don't think I'd call this a fruit-based beverage. They say it's a golden ale with a hint of orange essence and citrus zing. You could even get those flavours with the right choice and amount of hops, but I guess it's easier for them to go the essence route. I'd like to try it myself! :D

Regarding the so called female palate, it probably is just conditioning. My wife used to be a Pilsner and Export drinker (she's German) and was then a Guinness drinker, but now she can't stand the taste of any beer after being off it since she got pregnant (how careless of her) four years ago. i keep giving her beers to take a taste of, but no, it's gone... :(

Anonymous said...

Who gives a monkeys what ‘the female’ likes? It’s only the ‘industry’ and frenetic PR chimps who are always trying to define some sort of brand loyalty and all that. You might as well start talking about what meat is more female friendly (I don’t know, veal, perhaps, it’s pale, but on the other hand it’s pretty cruel; hang on what about mutton, bit fatty — oh fcuk it let’s settle for Coley or whatever Morrissey Fox are doing).
If you want beer to reach the cultural heights of wine, it doesn’t matter who likes it. I don’t think Teo Musso and pals lose much sleep over such matters. Well they might lose sleep but it will be about whether their beer are any good.

Boak said...

Dave - I think you're spot on about training yourself to like beer. Beer, particularly real ale, is an acquired taste, particularly when it's not in great condition. For various reasons (teenage rebellion? What my friends were into?) I was determined to get a taste for beer and I did.

I'm very dubious about palates being based on gender. Just from personal experience Bailey has a much sweeter tooth than I do.

I'm also dubious about adverts based on "beer for women". As I've said before on our blog and others, it would be refreshing and nice to see an advert for beer that had women just enjoying it. Those frightfully annoying and sumg Magners adverts established that Magners is a drink for both men and women and look how bloody popular the stuff is.

Anonymous said...

I have to agree with Boak here, and with your sentiments. I don't believe there is a "female palate" though I hear that a lot and it irks me-- it's very patronizing, as is the assumption that women like fruity beers, etc.

There has been a push to make beer into an exclusive wine-style beverage-- cuisine-based food pairings, posh tastings, etc-- so that it might appeal to women. Even the absurd focus on a stemmed glass as being more female-friendly seems odd to me.

It turns me off, and is embarrassing really. Real ale is an acquired taste-- I learned to love it because my closest friends were brewers.

Plenty of women drink beer-- I don't know why it's treated as such a mystery. If the big brewers would cut out their macho branding it might go farther at getting more women to try beer than these weird niche brews.