Monthly Archives: October 2010

How to get women to drink craft beer

Marisa and I have been talking a lot about women, marketing and beer. First, there was the excellent article from Drink with the Wench about how women’s bodies have sold beer for ages. Then, there was an article about how breweries can market to women. So we have been talking about the social marketing aspect of craft brew: how can we convince women to change their behavior and order craft beer at the bar?

I have not done any focus groups or looked at demographics of what age groups of women currently drink craft beer, but I am going to guess it is an over 25 market. Although this article says a growing group is the over-50 year olds! And given what we know about how women behave, the campaign will need to be bigger than one brewery and focused on female lifestyle. What do I mean? Women are joiners. We like to hang out and talk with other women. We like to share tips and feel connected and valued by our community – whether it is on-line or real life. So a successful campaign will need to tap (pun intended) into those values.

I can see messages aimed at moms who have worked hard all day, put the kids to bed – and now need some “mommy time” with a good cold craft beer. I can see networks of women talking on the internet about their favorite beers and arranging meet-ups with new friends – perhaps even traveling to out of town breweries. Marisa also commented that she sees a trend with breweries arranging food and beer pairings just for women – so that should be part of the marketing strategy as well.

What are your thoughts? The big brewers have certainly tried to increase the number of female beer drinkers by going after the light beer market. But what can the craft beer market do to get women to join us?

From the web:
Beer Trends: “Women are also drinking a lot of micro brewed beer. According to a National Restaurant Association survey, about half of women are ordering microbrews when eating out. Microbrewers must be even more aware of this trend in beer than industrial brewers.

Iron Fist Brewing Grand Opening

The Babes had to split up this weekend due to work obligations – so Marisa headed to Lake Havasu (and visited Mudshark Brewery) and I (CJ) headed to Vista for the grand opening of Iron Fist Brewing. Scot, the Beer Bud, was happy to fill in and go with me. I worked at the Vista Irrigation District, which is across the street from this new brewery on Sycamore, for 8 years back in the late 90’s and early 00’s. In 2001, when VID was building the new office, there was very little in the Industrial Park area – but now, the whole area is populated and bustling with businesses, restaurants, and now  – a new brewery. There still is an industrial park feel here – the brewery is built with stand-up concrete and large industrial doors that overlook the street. It is a large warehouse, but the bar area in front is small and right now, the only food offered inside is pretzels. (Plus, there is only one bathroom!) Still, it is the beer that is the reason for its existence, so that is what we were there to experience. I only had my iPhone with me, but I captured some of the images and talked with two interesting people about their tasting experience. Taylor Shaw (@theartofbeer) is a friend of the owners and does the marketing for them and made sure we knew about the opening via Twitter. Eve Sieminski (@EveSieminski) is one of the owners and her son, Brandon, is the Brewmaster. On opening night, everyone behind the bar was either a relative or friend helping out – and they did a great job of answering questions and keeping the beer flowing at the same time.

I also met Greg, from Premier Stainless Systems, who was standing in the back admiring his shiny silver contribution to the brewery’s success. This firm installs these kinds of industrial tanks for various businesses and craft breweries around the world, but are located just down the freeway in Escondido, so this was a really fun and convenient installation for them. The tanks are fabricated in China to customer specifications and then shipped through Long Beach and delivered to Escondido for testing and customization. I never thought about it, but Greg explained that they have to build the tanks to fit into the facilities depending on what space is available. So, if they have to get the tanks through a double door into a basement, they will be smaller. These tanks were on the larger side since there was plenty of room to bring them in and set them up. There is one brewing tank and four storage/fermenting tanks currently at the location. I was surprised to see the small bottling area – four hoses and one small tray. Better Beer Blog did a story on Firehouse and included photos of the mobile bottling operations they use on their premises – and seeing both processes convinced me that bottling is very labor intensive.

For my part, I really liked the Golden Age Belgian Style Golden Strong Ale. The website says this about the Golden Age:  “The mesmerizing march of perfect champagne-like bubbles to the foam front draws you in. Hints of lemon, grape, and apple keep you coming back.” I am beginning to see a pattern of the beers that I do like: the hint of fruit or spices seems to be part of each one.

The website says this about the Spice of Life: “Forsaking traditional ideas of subtlety and cowardly “Pinch of This, Pinch of That” brewing techniques, we embrace the flavors and launch them into a full frontal assault of delicious bitter orange peel and grains of paradise. Beautifully smooth coriander compliments and orange peel perfectly.” Another guy I met at the bar swore that he tasted cloves in this beer – so that must have been the coriander. I loved this beer and bought a bottle for Marisa to drink and review later.

I only sample I did not like was the Renegade Blonde because it tasted hollow and had a bad aftertaste – but I hear from Marisa that it should taste light because it is a Kolsch beer. Not sure if the aftertaste comes with this style, but still wouldn’t buy it again.

We ended the night with dinner from Tabe BBQ, which is always delicious. Some of the people at the opening had never heard of Korean BBQ, so they were a little reticent to give it a try. Too bad for them. It’s one of the best food trucks in town. According to Marisa, Eagle Rock Brewery in LA does business the same way: they host different food trucks each week, and Eagle Rock simply pairs its beer with the visiting truck owner’s fare. Quite a growing trend among breweries that don’t have the cash to build their own restaurant while they are getting off the ground.

As we were leaving, another guy who had been sampling for a while wanted to tell us his opinion about the other breweries in North County (his geography was a little loose) that he called “The Holy Four.” These included Green Flash, Lost Abbey, Alesmith, and Alpine. He did not say whether or not he was adding Iron Fist to his list, and I was not waiting around to find out. It was time for this babe to head home – a 40 mile drive in the rain – and we know how Southern California drivers are in the rain!

Fall is here!

Firestone Double Barrel Ale

The temperature in San Diego has dipped below 70, so fall is officially here. Marisa made some white bean and chicken chili to celebrate, so of course, we had to find a nice fall brew to accompany it. Firestone Double Barrel Ale was first, with its warm amber hue and hoppy, full bodied taste … a perfect accompaniment to a chili main course. The first sip is reminiscent of an IPA; a little bitter and the hops really come through, but the finish is smooth and malty like a traditional english ale. The next bottle for sampling was Lagunitas IPA , and like Firestone, it’s from California. Unfortunately, CJ couldn’t taste the difference between the two – she thought they both started out bitter but she drank them quickly and she liked them both. Marisa would like to note that, while this is most definitely an IPA, it lacks the strong floral bouquet that you would find with most others. The flavors that come through the most are the pine and orange rind, which make for a more bitter start and finish, which discourages those without an appreciation for craft beer. So to those who have tried IPA as their first craft beer: persevere!! There are many other styles that will delight your taste buds, and chances are, we’ll tell you about them here. 🙂