The Grauniad Dibnukeng Bree Mthys

Posted on February 23, 2010


It’s been a little while since I’ve blogged so apologies if you’ve been waiting on tenterhooks for my latest musings – you can now breathe again.
Inspiration was brought to me today by Felicity Cloake  who is debunking beer myths over at The Guardian. Obviously not as big news as Cheryl Cole finally seeing sense and dumping the awful Ashley but still caught my eye nevertheless as a lot of it is things I spend my whole days talking about.
The first thing that Felicity challenges is that all beers are the same, and for me this is a key education point for women if we want to encourage more of them to drink beer. When women say that “I don’t like beer”, I think what they really mean is that “I don’t like the beers that I’ve tried” which in the main will probably be Becks, Bud, Carling, Fosters and Corona, probably all badly served warm in an ugly glass and this has shaped their view of the whole category. 
Challenge is that how do you say to women “well have you tried ALL beers” without sounding like an arse but I’d love women to realise the wealth of beer styles and flavours on the market, there’s over 2,500 beer brands available in the UK, you’ll find one you like if you’re prepared to try a few and experiment. And trust your own instincts, if you like something that’s ok, whatever the pongy ale drinkers might tell you, or as Felicity puts it;

Don’t be fooled into believing that ale is always better either: whatever the folks at the Campaign for Real Ale say, handcrafted lagers are making some headway in this country.)

Something tells me that she’s not making a case for Carling drinking but I do love the fact that she’s recommending all beer styles – a lady after my own heart!! Interesting to read one of the commenters taking umbrage at the suggestion that lager is a beer, somewhat proves the point and as I’ve mentioned more than once before I’d love to see that kind of attitude leave the beer market. 
One thing I see on a regular basis is that there just  isn’t enough information about beer on offer in bars which puts people off ordering it, especially women, and doesn’t help break the myth that all beers are the same. I would love to see beer menus in pubs and descriptors on the shelves in the beer aisle. Or maybe just make the beer aisle a nice place to be – the wine aisle in your supermarket is a nice place to shop, it’s interesting, the wine is stocked in a way that helps you make informed choices, and there’s recommendations – wine of the week, what goes with food. But you swing your trolley round into the beer aisle and suddenly you’re in a dirty warehouse packed high with big boxes of beer – no wonder you don’t see many people browsing there, it’s hardly an inviting place to spend time. 
But it could be, it’s not rocket science, it happens all the time in the wine aisle, if we just invested a little more care and time in showing beers in their best light, highlighting different flavours and styles seems like a really simple way to get more people trying more beers.
I guess there’s a real learning for beer marketeers, wine didn’t become so popular by chance, as an industry they’ve worked hard at it, maybe we should steal a few things…………..
Posted in: A beer journey, wine