“When you put women back into making beer and owning places that make beer you are more likely to get women in the market as well.”
As part of a weeklong series looking at beer in Colorado we take a look at the gender gap in brewing.
Dr. Annie Sugar has a PhD in media studies and currently teaches in the Media and Communications Studies department at Johnson and Wales, Denver Campus. Dr. Sugar tells KGNU’s Fiona Foster that while beer itself has no gender, the media has created a false construct whereby advertising was directed primarily at men.
“If people don’t see themselves in process, in a business, in a media representation, they tend to feel alienated and they tend to not engage it. So the same time we walk about things like racial and gender representation and LGBTQ representation in the media, the same goes for who owns and who creates something. So when beer swung to being more of a male space in the breweries it also became more of a male space as a social ritual. When you put women back into making beer and owning places that make beer you are more likely to get women in the market as well.”
Dr. Sugar originally became interested the topic of gender and beer while listening to a PRI The World story in Fall 2011 about a Molson Coors study that said 12-37% of women surveyed don’t drink their product. This led to the release of a low carb, low calorie, pink beer called Anime, which was not successful. Dr. Sugar was then inspired to write her first paper looking at the marketing of beer. Specifically, it considered Superbowl ads from the mid 80’s to the early 2000’s and the attempts to manipulate male identity and masculinity through beer advertising. Further, she has conducted ethnographic research with ladies brewing enthusiast groups in Denver, including the Crafty Ladies Beer Club and Ales for Females at Lefthand Brewing.