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Sunday, November 11, 2007

Beer gender gap

It's an intriguing observation, but I'd take the following statistic with a grain of salt, or, should I say, corn of barley.

Papazian ... was heartened that 40 to 50 percent of the folks attending this year's [Great American Beer] festival were women. “I think there are a lot of women who never thought they would be beer drinkers until they tasted what craft brewers have to offer,” he said.

[from Kasper On Tap]

With a statistical spread of +/-20%, that must be his personal guess.

Charlie Papazian is, however, president of the Brewers Association. As such, he would be in a position to notice such a positive gender trend. It's been a long time coming.

Nearly a decade ago, I wrote this:

At the 1998 Mid-Atlantic Beer and Food Festival, at least 40% of the attendees were women. This a proportion that had been growing at this festival since its inception five years earlier. For the most part, these women were bucking the conventional wisdom that women only drink sweet, flavored, or fruit beers. They were sampling all of the beers. (This illogic, unfortunately being practiced by some craft breweries, of pandering to the least common denominator, is similar to the process that led the big American brewers to dumb down their offerings.)

Particularly intriguing was a conversation between two women who appeared to be just past the minimum age. They were standing in line, eagerly waiting to receive refills of Hop Devil Ale, an India Pale Ale, brewed in Pennsylvania by theVictory Brewing Company, that is big, bold, very bitter, and very aromatic.

These women, however, were not remarking upon the bitterness of the beer, but, rather, upon its hoppiness, that is, its fresh herbal aromatics.

At present there're also more men than women who make our beers, a condition that began with the industrialization of cottage brewing a few hundred years ago.

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