A lot of people seem to think that this question is already been settled. Women do not like beer. But, is that true? Or maybe it is just that women do not like the bad beer that dominates the market not the way it is sold to them.
For decades now, brewers, men and, well, society, have labored under the misapprehension that women do not like beer. This has translated into a media and marketing system that presumes the same as well as generations of both men and women who also buy into this myth posing as a fact.
So, let us examine the question, do women really not like beer? The answer, quite simply, is no. I have never attended a beer festival, visited a brewpub or simply offered a female guest in my home a beer without finding that women like beer in just about the same proportions as men. Mind you, I move in the beer geek community so most of the women I encounter in those circumstances are self-selected as beer lovers, or at least beer tolerant.
I cannot deny that statistically speaking, women do tend to drink less beer than men. So, why is that? Perhaps, it is because of how breweries and especially their marketers treat women.
Most women that I talk to who don't like beer have one of two reasons. The first is the incredibly sexist marketing that brewing companies use. The TV ads in the eighties probably best illustrate this. The women are stupid, scantily clad models hanging off dumpy guys just because they are drinking the right brand.
This could be written off as lazy marketing. After all, mindless, sexbot women have been used to sell almost everything. But, big brewing companies reveal their complete misunderstanding of women when they try to brew a beer for "the ladies."
Another reason women commonly give for not liking beer is that, to them, that beer simply does not taste good. Well, that just does not make much sense, now, does it? After all, if beer is so undrinkable, then why does it sell to either sex.
Prior to the craft beer renaissance, beer really did not taste very good. The vast majority of beer sold in the US was of one style, a pale lager that was thin, flavorless and vaguely sweet. The fizzy, yellow stuff still defines what beer is for many people. For some reason, men are more tolerant of bad beer, maybe because marketers have been telling them the same thing that they have been telling women: real mean like beer and vapid, sexy women like real men.
Perhaps it is because women are better tasters than men. There is some anecdotal evidence of this. It seems that their sense of smell and taste is more refined. One Australian brewer even decided to hire only women for quality control of its beer. Of course, both sexes can be trained in tasting but, women could have a natural advantage. If so, this explains why they are less tolerant of bad beer than men are.
Given its bad taste and tasteless marketing, it makes more sense that women have been turned off by to beer in general thanks to the actions and product of the big, flavorless pale lager brewers. Until recently, the only beer option was bad beer. Now that there are so many more options for beer drinkers, women are discovering that they like beer. I have often heard a woman say, after tasting a good craft beer, "I don't like beer but, I like that."