Why Women Are a Critical Part of the Future of U.S. Craft Beer

By Ginger Johnson

Question: Who will help support the future of US craft beer?

A. With our population exploding, there should be plenty of up and coming market share

B. All the existing craft beer drinkers, silly

C. Women

Answer: C

It’s time for more women consumers to engage in American Craft Beer. Why? Well, if you’re a woman who likes beer, let me answer that with a few questions. Do you enjoy American craft brews? Do you know what “craft” means? If you do, how often do you partake? What brands do you support and why? Do you recruit other women to enjoy it too?

You may know that women influence 80 percent of purchases across all categories. What you may not know, is that only 25 – 29 percent of American women of legal age enjoy beer.  That’s way too low to really call it the “All American Beverage,” when clearly far less than half of the female population isn’t enjoying it. In order to support the health, existence, and growth of the more than 1,700 existing craft breweries and the 600+ breweries in planning, more women will need to engage.

How do you engage in craft beer? Do you buy it and share it? Do your friends get excited (or tired) of you offering new beer suggestions to try? Do you talk about beer with anyone who will listen, or is it a closeted kind of situation? Do you notice or seek out beer education opportunities to learn more about the incredible beverage in your glass?

Women are the future of craft beer in the US of A because they are the seriously under-tapped, misrepresented, and often overlooked market that can be developed to help sustain the entire craft beer community. If you’re a woman, you need to stand up and say, “Yes! I want to know more and drink more American craft beer.” Demand to be heard and respected as part of a viable market share, not some token or niche market. A 50.9% global population segment is hardly a niche.

If you’re a male consumer or professional, chances are you have an important female or three in your life. You too should work to make the demands and changes for equal gender beer involvement, as that would be a natural extension of your affection and respect for those women, yes?

Tell the women you meet in the industry to encourage beer businesses to create specific opportunities to engage women in craft beer. In our ongoing research for Women Enjoying Beer (WEB), we hear from women all across the country who say they enjoy learning with other women, in women-only settings. Lots of women want to learn about beer through totally unconventional ways (read: dashing stereotypes and myths). For example, WEB is planning a fly fishing and beer event.

AMEN!! More accurately, AWOMEN!! The success of craft beer and women has to include the story as well. The story of who, how, when, and all other beery info as it relates to craft breweries. Women love the story—give it to them.

WomenLook at this picture. It’s a women’s beer event that can be held anywhere across the country and it tells the story clearly that women are and want to get into craft beer. Does this look good to you too? And, we haven’t even talked about how a mind blowing and enlightening beer and food pairing experience helps promote craft beer to women!

Women: ask for it by name—women’s craft beer events.
Craft beer community: offer events to women.

Tastings, pairings, tours, events, tappings—there are innumerable ways to ask for beer opportunities if you’re a consumer, and infinite ways to invite women if you’re in the business.

Why will the future of U.S. craft beer depend on women? Because like it or not, they are the market that influences spending, makes the most decisions about what’s on the table and in the fridge, and they are interested in knowing more about craft beer.

Get your female friends involved in beer by holding a beer potluck where everyone brings a six pack to share and taste. Hold a craft beer and food tasting party—they are huge fun and economical for all budgets. Learn how to host a tasting at home.

Insist that your local retailer hold a beer tasting, and be sure to show your support and encouragement for repeating the event by recruiting other women to join you. If you ask, you also have to show proactive support.

I once heard that a handwritten letter to a legislator outweighs a form letter 100 to 1. Be that one woman who speaks up, demands respect, and creates a better relationship with beer. The other 99 women will be glad for it, and in turn will help the future of the U.S. craft beer scene thrive.

Photos © istockphoto and Kate Parks

Ginger JohnsonGinger Johnson is a loud laugher and energetic beer enthusiast. You can hear her enjoying beer and she encourages you to join her. She started Women Enjoying Beer to educate and share the great experience of craft beer with women and men everywhere. She works with consumers directly to find out what women want from their beer and beer businesses to market craft beer to women. She believes in beer diplomacy, education, and in being a geek and not a snob. She can be reached at Ginger@WomenEnjoyingBeer.com, via Twitter @womenenjoybeer and on Facebook at Women Enjoying Beer.