I attended the inaugural Beer Marketing Awards last week, and my congratulations to the team behind it, a great event.
However, host and organiser Pete Brown raised an interesting issue over the acceptability of some of the industry’s decisions when it comes to naming beer. One in particular stood out: “mouth raper” — a particularly tasteless piece of marketing with, one would hope, relatively limited appeal to anyone outside the pages of Viz magazine.
The issue was also recently highlighted on the Daily Telegraph’s website, in a piece which focused on the overt sexism of some of the sector, with beers like “Leg Spreader” and “Slack Alice Cider”, along with the inevitable array of scantily clad images of women on the labels.
Most of us could be forgiven for having thought this kind of end-of-the-pier, seaside sauciness must surely have died out from a modern, forward-thinking industry like ours.
But clearly not — and while some may leap to defend the indefensible with the usual cries of “it’s just a bit of fun”, the reality is, it’s not acceptable.
And this isn’t about feminism, or political correctness, or any of the other things people will attempt to dismiss the argument with, its about business.
If you want to stock the kind of products which potentially belittle a core part of your customer base then go ahead — wilfully upsetting all your female customers, and
some of the men, seems like a smart business move to me!
The Beer Marketing Awards were a great chance to celebrate the professionalism in the trade — there are some amazing activities going on, both in the consumer sector and also, I was pleased to see, within the trade. We need to ensure that professionalism and talent are not marred by a minority of sniggering schoolboys.
Meanwhile, I see UKIP continues to maintain a policy of going after the lowest hanging fruit with its pledge to support the introduction of smoking rooms in pubs.
I have one word for this: why? The reintroduction of smoking to the indoor pub environment, even in a limited form, strikes me as a backward step.
Most pubs have adapted well to the ban, creating suitable exterior areas for smoking, and while I accept the initial pain many suffered, the benefits of the ban are surely
now well established.
Smoke-free environments have opened up fresh opportunities and enticed new customers through the doors for the pubs that have grasped those chances. That pubs are now among consumers’ first choice when it comes to eating out is largely down to the fact the person at the table next to you doesn’t keep blowing smoke in your face between mouthfuls!
New technology in things like outdoor heating has allowed landlords to create comfortable exterior smoking areas for customers to allow year-round indulgence
of their habit. Bringing that back indoors is a slippery slope — do any of us really want to return to those brown-decorated days of nicotine-stained ceilings?