Scottish Courage has hit back at suggestions from rival brewer Interbrew that its John Smith's advertising is undermining efforts to improve the image of beer.
In its recent Market Report 2003, the Belgian brewer implied that images of beer-swilling blokes, such as those seen in the recent John Smith's campaign featuring chubby comic Peter Kay, are preventing women switching to beer.
However, Scottish Courage's John Botia has defended the John Smith's "'Ave It" campaign.
He said: "The adverts have been phenomenally successful from a commercial point of view and the campaign has won awards. It is focused on a no-nonsense, down-to-earth attitude to life and it gets people to think about ale who wouldn't otherwise. To suggest we all live in a stereotyped world where everyone is tanned, has white teeth and is healthy is simply misleading."
Mr Botia also said that Interbrew's new TV advertising for Castlemaine XXXX is "retrogressive" and "more appropriate for the 1980s rather than the 21st century".
He said: "It certainly doesn't tie-in with the same kind of high-profile comments that Interbrew has made recently."
In the report, Interbrew urged the beer industry to drop its macho image and adopt a "genderless" and female-friendly style of advertising to appeal to what it calls "beer's lost drinkers".
It said: "Until all brewers adopt a more enlightened approach to advertising, women will continue to be a missed opportunity for beer."