Beer, traditionally, is marketed with a heavy slant toward men. Commercials and ads are generally filled with images of guys knocking back a few with friends during the game or after a long day of hearty man's work. Women usually are in the background, serving as eye candy in the spots more than the primary consumer.
Brewers are missing a big opportunity by not targeting the female population in their campaigns. A 2013 Nielsen report, "estimates that women will control two-thirds of the consumer wealth in the U.S. over the next decade and be the beneficiaries of the largest transference of wealth in our country's history".
So how does a brewery tap (pun intended) into the extremely lucrative female market? By making pink beer, of course. Or not.
On a recent trip to Medellin Colombia, I was invited to lunch. The country was in the throes of a small craft beer renaissance, with craft beer halls and independent breweries popping up, including Three Cordilleras. Established in 2008 in Medellin, the microbrewery makes six different beers, including Mestiza, a pretty solid "American" pale ale. But what caught my attention was a pink bottle seen beside many women in the restaurant. I had to have it.
The beer, Three Cordilleras Rose, arrived, sporting an extremely girly label. Pouring the beer, it did, indeed have a rose color to it, with a pale pink head. Pictures do not do it justice.
The taste was sweet. A blend of bubbly pink champagne and lager with a hint of strawberry Jolly Rancher, it might work with spicy foods, but overpowered my chicken and vegetables.
What was more interesting than the beer, however, was the reaction at the table. Some women cooed at the "adorableness" of the pink beer. Some had a visceral reaction against it, thinking it was condescending. One man bravely volunteered that he would drink pink beer. I ventured that although I am quite fond of all things pink, no one has ever questioned my strength...or my ability to knock back a few beers.
In the end, we called the rose beer a "gateway" brew, agreeing that we were taking the whole pink beer thing a little too seriously. I ordered a second round..this time a bottle of Mestiza.
The funny thing about the color pink is that, until the 20th century, pink was typically worn by both men and women. AN NPR article cites a 1918 trade catalog for children's clothing as recommending blue for girls. The reasoning at the time was that it's a "much more delicate and dainty tone," Finamore says. Pink was recommended for boys "because it's a stronger and more passionate color, and because it's actually derived from red."
Although Three Cordilleras Rose was too sweet for my tastes, it's a start in opening up the world of beer to women. Sure, we don't need beer that's pink and we don't need the word "Chick" on the label to tell us this is the one we should purchase. But it's nice to see a brewery acknowledging the fact that over half of the world's population also likes to pop open a cold one.