There are gender-specific stereotypes about almost everything within our culture–from clothing to colors–alcohol is no different. Cosmos, Appletinis, wine and the like are all seen as for and marketed to women, while beverages like beer and whiskey are perceived as more masculine, made more for men. But neither is always the case.
In fact, women aged 21-34 are one of the fastest growing markets for beer in the United States. Experts have attributed this change in attitudes and consumption to the proliferation of craft beers throughout the country. Craft or micro breweries are typically smaller, catering to local areas and niche crowds who enjoy the nuances produced by smaller batches of the beverage. As a result, such beers usually offer more variety and flavors which include fruit and spices that researchers have found are most popular with women.
Despite being a minority, it may surprise some that at least 20% of women in the US prefer beer to other beverages, according to data from just three years ago. Similarly, the group accounts for a quarter of beer drinkers in the country, for craft beverages, that number is even higher at 37%. That said, it’s time to rethink how this influential demographic is sold.
That won’t be too much of a problem, either, given the growing number of women involved in producing beer. Like whiskey, historically women were the first makers and sellers of beer, from as far back as ancient Egypt to the beginnings of the modern United States. The presence of men in the industry is relatively new, in that regard, having only shifted hands in the mid 18th century.
Craftbeer.com shined a spotlight on this re-evolution of beer production in the U.S.,, highlighting women from Connecticut, Washington, and Maine as an example of those passionate about brew. Similarly, Houston Press recently marked the growth of women in the beer industry, at every level, including “[lugging] around grain,” when necessary.
Of course, the industry is still very much dominated by men. Centuries of conditioning through culture and advertising likely have something to do with that. Yet women are making it clear that the box they’ve been put in is far too small, both as consumers and business women. The market for beer has more variety and excitement now than in previous years, and both the sale and production of craft beer have grown dramatically over the last decade; young women have certainly played a vital role in that reality.