And What Would The Lady Like?

It was first discussed way back in January and now the wait is finally over. The moment has arrived. Ladies up and down the country can breathe a collective sigh of relief. Yes, after two and a half years and a reported cost of £1M, Molson Coors have unveiled their female-friendly beer: Animee.
From the French for “motivated” (could it be any more pretentious), Animee is described as “bloat-resistant”. This apparently means that it’s less gassy and lighter in taste than other beers. And you will be spoilt for choice, as it will be available in 275ml bottles in three varieties; standard, rose and citrus.
Not to be left out, Carlsberg, who flopped last year with their female-targeted Eve brand, are set to launch their Copenhagen beer in the UK in 2012. They describe it thus: “Copenhagen is intended for modern women (and men), who appreciate a refreshing taste delivered in a stylish design.”
And they go onto say: “The beer has a light, refreshing taste, while the design is rooted in Copenhagen as an international city of fashion and design.” I’m getting the impression that it’s light and refreshing.
Of course “refreshing” from a national brewer usually means bland, but Jeanette Elgaard Carlsson, International Innovation Director at Carlsberg, puts it slightly differently: “Many young people aren’t keen on the bitter aftertaste of beer. Here our surveys show that with Copenhagen we have created a highly drinkable beer with a balanced taste — a real alternative to white wine and champagne.”
So it’s a light, refreshing, balanced, alternative to white wine and champagne. But don’t wine and champagne have distinctive tastes? Will women really abandon them to drink something bland and completely different?
The whole idea is patronising and stupid. It’s like a throwback to the 70s. And it demonstrates just how the big brewers still don’t get beer. Beer is inclusive and not exclusive. It’s about breaking down barriers, not building them. There is a beer for everyone and they should be spending their money promoting the vast range of beer that is out there. Not treating a whole gender as lepers.
Some people have more money than sense.


Kristy said…
Hi, I couldn't agree more that beer is inclusive which is why it's even more of a shame that many women feel excluded from the beer category currently.

The sad reality is that 79% of UK women claim never or rarely to drink beer and, as you point out, unless we can break down the barriers that stop them we will never change that.

Given the low numbers of women drinking beer to me it would seem patronising as an industry to continue to ignore 50% of the population and not to understand why the numbers of women drinking beer are so low. We've spoken to over 30k women in the last 2 years and developed a beer with women and that women tell us they want.

For many women this is a real opportunity to get them choosing beer - when we're faced with a 30 year category decline I think that's a fact we should all celebrate even if your own beer of choice is something different.

Kristy, Molson Coors
RedNev said…
I don't think you can put the blame entirely on the big boys. Brewers of all sizes are perfectly capable of own goals by marketing beers with names and pumpclips that wouldn't look out of place in lads' mags. I can't speak for women but I wouldn't be surprised if the sexist names and pictures used by some brewers (proclaimed as hilarious jokes by infantile beer bloggers) put off women trying beer altogether. The message is clearly: "This drink is for men". We should have left the 1970s Tetley Bittermen approach behind us by now.

If the mega-breweries see an opportunity to sell to customers that the real ale brewers aren't just missing, but actively alienating, then I can't bame them for trying.
Penny said…
Oh dear. We have been here before, haven’t we? The crucial point surely does lie in understanding why more women don’t drink beer.

Now I haven’t seen your metadata, but it appears your methodology is somewhat flawed, and I fear your results may be expectations led.

Of course it’s important to ask women why they don’t drink beer, but it’s equally important to also ask women why they do drink beer.

In my view, the answer to that question should form the basis for any campaign. Otherwise, you may be guilty of just pandering to misconceptions and myths. This, as in previous attempts, may lead to a fruitless and pointless exercise.

Sometimes there is a wide consumer gap in an area that can be exploited simply by asking “what is it you want?"

However, I don't think the beer market is like that. And I think the point Tyson was making is that with beer, there are already sufficient brands in the marketplace. The reason why more women aren’t consuming those beers certainly warrants investigation, but not necessarily the creation of a brand based on gender partition.

Speaking as primarily a non-beer drinker, I can’t foresee much success except as a very limited niche product. Which was surely not the intention.
arn said…
"less gassy and lighter in taste"
= flat?
Tyson said…
Firstly, I know you’re busy, so thanks for taking the time to reply. Secondly, I have to say I agree with Penny. And thirdly, I just don’t think this is any way to break down barriers. It’s all been tried before and I can’t see any real difference in your approach.

If women have been ignored before, and they have, perhaps we should be really asking why? However, I understand that MC are keen to secure a share of a declining market, so I wish you well. But not too well@)

I know it’s a bugbear of yours and perhaps some women are alienated by poorly thought out pumpclips.

However, it’s the much bigger picture that I was addressing-which real ale is only a tiny part of. That is why I specifically mention the big brewers.

If potential women customers have been alienated who else is to blame than those who control the lion’s share of the market?
RedNev said…
"If potential women customers have been alienated who else is to blame than those who control the lion’s share of the market?" That sweeping statement requires quite a lot more explanation, because it does not stand up on its own.

What I wrote is not a bugbear with me; that's a cheap way of dismissing someone else's arguments without actually responding to them. I regard it as a valid explanation as to why the real ale sometimes doesn't appeal to women. Real ale may be a small (I disagree with 'tiny' but that's a matter of opinion, not fact) part of the beer market, but let's face it, it is highly visible nowadays in a lot of pubs - much more visible than you might expect from its market share. I have never said it was the only reason - just a significant one.

A point I was trying to make was that the laddish approach that some breweries - a minority - take rubs off on real ale as a whole by association.

Beer is out there already in a massive variety of styles and flavours, so why aren't women drinking it? Because they don't regard beer as a suitable drink for them. The question 'why', funnily enough, brings us back to my 'bugbear'.

I'm slightly disappointed by your dismissive response to my comment, which I thought supplemented your post, not contradicted it.
Kristy said…
Nev - you make an interesting point and it's something that definitely doesn't help. The pub I was in last night had Olde Tart on the bar with a pumpclip showing only a stocking clad pair of legs - if I wasn't a beer drinker (or even as a beer drinker!) it would certainly put me off trying beer. It's sad that this kind of thing is still so prevalent amongst cask ale - like you say it should have been left back in the 70's!

Penny - if you're interested in seeing our methodology I'd be very happy to share it. We have spoken to well over 30k women in the last 2 years - of all ages and with all drinking habits. At Molson Coors we want to provide choice for all drinkers so it's just as important to us to understand why women drink beer as it is why they don't.

Animee is just one part of a wide portfolio and designed for women not currently drinking beer, our research will also help us make sure we develop campaigns and activity for current drinkers to get them choosing beer more often.

As Nev points out the biggest challenge we face is that most women think beer just isn't for them - Animee will help change that for some women which can only be a good thing in my book.
Sue said…
Motivated? which dictionary was that in? Mine says bright, lively, animated.
Tyson said…
Sorry if my reply seemed dismissive. It wasn’t intended as such. Perhaps I should have chosen my language better? Let me clear that up first. I used “bugbear” in its informal sense: something that is a personal annoyance or of concern. It doesn’t, or wasn’t meant to, carry any other connotations.

I’m also happy to concede that “tiny” should perhaps have read “very small”. Again though, the term used wasn’t intended to try and diminish your argument.

What I was trying to do was address this comment of yours:
If the mega-breweries see an opportunity to sell to customers that the real ale brewers aren't just missing, but actively alienating, then I can't bame them for trying.

I totally agree with you as to possible alienation of women and real ale. However, that’s not what’s actually happening here. It’s not real ale, so it’s nothing much to with pumpclips or silly names. It’s all about declining markets and MC pretending to have discovered the wheel.

And that leads me onto my statement about the lion’s share of the market. The point I was making here was simply that MC and the like of Carlsberg account for the vast majority of beer sales. In my view, women being alienated by beer is mainly a problem of their own making. To me, it’s like David Cameron complaining how bad a state the country is in:)

So in summary, I agree your comments supplemented my post. However, I don’t think they actually validate MC’s latest venture.

If the methodology is doing the rounds, I wouldn’t mind a peek.

Perhaps they have a different dictionary?
Tyson said…

What I also wanted to say was that it's not really beer at all, in my view. With flavours such as rose and citrus, they are simply wine substitutes. That's not the same as brewing beer for women.
Tyson said…

What I also wanted to say was that it's not really beer at all, in my view. With flavours such as rose and citrus, they are simply wine substitutes. That's not the same as brewing beer for women.
Reanna said…
Of course it’s all nonsense and repudiates the whole concept of feminism. The way to make anything inclusive is to do just that. This may require a lot of hard thinking and a fundamental change in attitudes. The approach Molson Coors have adopted is to make the product exclusive. I’m not sure that’s wise and it’s certainly a retrograde step.

Following the logic of Molson Coors, we’d have separate clubs and pubs for women and men, different food etc. Is that what we are really saying about society?

I’m afraid I’m also not impressed with the claim that they interviewed x thousands of women. Numbers themselves are meaningless. The first Kinsey report was acclaimed as the first large scale investigation of sexual behaviour, but now is discredited as being unrepresentative.
Curmudgeon said…
If you carry out research amongst people who are never really likely to consume your product anyway, the results are unlikely to be useful. The idea of producing "women's beers" seems profoundly patronising and counter-productive. On the other hand, it is clear that a lot of women are very reluctant to drink beer, so there must be a market opportunity there. Maybe the best line of approach would be (and they may have done this already) to ask women who occasionally drink beer why they don't do so more often.

Subjectively I would say the association of beer with pint glasses puts many women off, and also the generally rough-hewn, rumbustious image that beer so often has, which goes way beyond some micro-brewers' sexist pumpclips.
Tyson said…

Some good points. And exactly, why didn't they ask the women who are drinking beer for some insight?
Curmudgeon said…
It may well be the case, though, that women who already regularly drink beer are not representative of women as a whole, and the reasons they drink beer could be exactly the reasons that put others off.

As an analogy, consider women who ride motorcycles...
Tyson said…
Indeed although, I have to say, I don't think it applies in this case. However, how will you know, if you don't ask?
Sean said…
I just can't see the point. It's more like Curmudgeon says. Women are probably put off by the whole pub/beer stereotype rather than the beer itself. Now if they invented a beer that didn't make you fart, that would be a winner!
arn said…
kirsty - My wife used to drink beer, uni days, but the bloated/gassy feeling eventually drove her to wine. Apart from the occasional Cobra with a curry she would rarely drink beer, NEVER in a pub.
As much as i offer her to try mine, and sometimes she does like some of them, thats all she'll have.

If you want she's happy to try your product, and i'll blog about it.
Curmudgeon said…
Without having access to the research, all of this is pure speculation, but I reckon many women steer clear of beer because it's not perceived as, well, very sophisticated.

Plus it's heavy and/or gassy, and probably fattening.

If beer as a category is to appeal more to women, it needs to shed the laddish, pint-swilling image.
Leigh said…
when I heard about Animee I just laughed and flicked onto another story. It won't last and will disappear without a trace, alongside other specific-marketed beer. the barriers that exist are rarely due to what's in the glass; usually the environment that it's drunk in.

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