Home' Brewers Guardian Digital Magazine : November 2014 Contents Attracting women to beer
All of this work is steering beer towards a sweeter
composition. As an added benefit, it would seem
to make beer potentially more relevant to female
drinkers, who have been perceived as desirous of
less bitter concoctions.
Which raises the questions that have vexed brewers
and marketers for decades – how do you make beer
relevant to female consumers? And how do you let
them in on the secret? It’s not an easy proposition:
Clark notes that over the years there have “been
some quite well-known disasters” when it comes to
marketing to women.
“You’ve got to have a much more unisex approach,”
she argues. “I think in the past at its worst beer
advertising has insulted women and its best has
left them pretty indifferent. And I think we’re
seeing more and more trends where that extreme
advertising actually turns men off as well.
“There will always be very masculine brands where
the advertising is targeted at men but I’m thinking
for some of these unisex brands there is a different
approach which is mixed gender.”
That said Clark cites research that cheers: across
Eastern Europe it is estimated that 90% of women
do drink beer but only on a quarter of the occasions
that they drink alcohol, compared to 70% of
occasions for men. And when it comes to taste, the
thinking is that men may be of like mind.
“I think men as well are looking for less bitter, less
challenging flavoured beers. If you think about
Europe, most of our beers tend to be high teens, low
20s bitterness units. So I think there is a space for
something that’s a bit more easy-drinking, maybe
low teen’s bitterness units, which would then
attract a mixed gender audience.”
A unisex approach also ties in with expanding the
appeal of SABMiller’s core lagers. The best example
may come from the Netherlands, a recent product
launch. Kornuit contrasts in taste from the distinct
bitterness of Grolsch, with a lighter, low 20s IBU
count. According to Clark, it is accessing a more
mixed gender demographic and is also appealing to
But by now you can sense the howls of protest
rising. Surely female drinkers can’t be pigeonholed
as simply wanting something sweeter from their
beer when there’s ample evidence that they prefer
stronger flavours – red wines come to mind, food
pairings also. Perhaps there are alternatives.
Clark agrees, noting that beer paired with food
offers a great opportunity, particularly wheat beers
which offer more complexity and a crisp, acidic
finish. She adds that serving sizes also matter,
moving towards both smaller, 250cl servings, as
well as larger, 750ml serving acting as a sharing size
for social occasions.
Beer styles expanding
SABMiller is launching beer styles, working to have
beer capture new occasions. There are numerous
projects – for example, the launch of a wheat beer,
Fenix, in the Czech Republic, plus seasonal variants
such as Dreher with floral hop additions in Hungary.
Perhaps the most interesting work is being
undertaken with Książęce, an umbrella brand for
a range of beer styles in Poland. Książęce – which
translates to English as ‘Prince’ – was a brand
previously brewed in the Tyskie brewery and
revived for this project. There are three styles at the
moment, a red beer, a Bavarian-style wheat beer,
and a dark, not quite stout, beer.
The work here centres on encouraging trial,
with information aplenty regarding serving
temperatures, food pairings, etc., available on
bottle labels and on-trade beer menus. The flavour
profiles are described by Clark as “quite accessible”;
in bars sample trays with three 200ml servings
can be ordered. The pricing is similarly intended to
encourage trial, indexed modestly at 115, 120 to
Clark elaborates, “The thinking behind this whole
range was, how do you take our core beer consumer
who’s currently drinking, say, a Tyskie or a Zubr, and
actually help them to enter other, try other, beer
styles in a way that is accessible?
“So this is how we hope to expand the repertoire of
our core mainstream consumers. The first people
who come to something like this are kind of people
who are experimentalist by nature and they try it
and they enjoy it but you know that they’re going
to move on to the next new thing that comes along.
So the big challenge for us is how do we get more
consumers to try these different styles?”
Launching a range of styles moves SABMiller’s
production and marketing muscle squarely into
the space occupied by the craft brewing fraternity.
Clark notes that one of things that “maybe we’ve
not done particularly well” is to communicate with
consumers that beer is made from natural products,
something where craft brewers have excelled.
“I think that’s been a mistake,” says Clark. “I
genuinely hope in Europe that we are in a different
place to the US. I think we’ve had much more
diversity over the years. We’ve got regional brewers.
I think we do have more diversity, different products
compared with the States. And I’m hoping that
we’re in a little bit of a different place because of the
trends we’ve seen in the US.”
I think men as well are
looking for less bitter,
less challenging flavoured
beers. If you think about
Europe, most of our beers
tend to be high teens, low
20s bitterness units.
Fenix: wheat beer for the Czech Republic
Książęce: tempting Polish consumers to try new beer styles
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