Male oriented advertising is putting women off beer

By James Beeson

- Last updated on GMT

Lagging behind: only 17% of women drink beer at least once a week, compared to 53% of men
Lagging behind: only 17% of women drink beer at least once a week, compared to 53% of men
Male orientated advertising is one of the major barriers for women drinking beer, according to the first piece of research about female attitudes towards the drink in almost a decade.

The Gender Pint Gap​ report, released by the Dea Latis organisation, revealed that the UK has one of the lowest percentages of female beer drinkers in the world, and found that outdated sexist marketing, fear of the ‘beer belly’, and negative perceptions about flavour are all contributing to British women spurning the drink.

The key findings from the study, completed by 2,026 adults (of which 1,094 were female) revealed that:

  • Only 17% of women drink beer at least once a week (compared to 53% of men).
  • Male oriented advertising is one of the three main barriers for over a quarter (27%) of women drinking beer – this figure rises even higher for the 18 to 24-year-old female group to almost half (48%).
  • A fifth of women (20%) say that high calorie content is one of the three main barriers for women drinking beer.
  • 17% of women feel that ‘being judged by others’ is one of the three biggest barriers to drinking beer.
  • Of the women who drink beer, 56% do so because they like the taste; conversely, 83% of women who never drink beer do so because they don’t like the taste.

Image overhaul needed

The research, conducted by YouGov, was commissioned by Dea Latis, a group set up to inform and educate women about beer and to choose beer as a drink of choice. The group wanted to examine whether the UK’s craft beer boom in the last decade has inspired more women to drink beer.

Comparing their statistics to a similar piece of research conducted in 2009, it appears that female attitudes, perceptions and beliefs about beer have not changed much beyond a stronger trend to drinking beer at home. The report, say the authors, begs the question: why is the beer industry not tapping into this female market with an image overhaul?

Beer Sommelier and Dea Latis director Annabel Smith said: “We know that the beer category has seen massive progress in the last decade – you only need to look at the wide variety of styles and flavours which weren’t available widely in the UK 10 years ago.

“Yet it appears the female consumer either hasn’t come on the same journey, or the beer industry just isn’t addressing their female audience adequately. Overtly masculine advertising and promotion of beer has been largely absent from media channels for a number of years, but there is a lot of history to unravel. Women still perceive beer branding is targeted at men.”

Disheartening responses 

Report co-author Lisa Harlow added: “Our research has shown many misconceptions that women still hold about beer, such as calorific content, self-image and preconceptions about taste.

“It was disheartening in our supposedly enlightened times that so many of our female respondents cited ‘being judged by others’ as a reason for not drinking beer. Perhaps we need some high-profile celebrity advocates to show women that it is acceptable to drink beer?”

The report concludes with a Beer Drinking Women’s Manifesto​ which urges women who drink beer to become advocates; encouraging sampling, asking for different volumes and glassware and dispelling myths about calories and acceptability.

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