My (snarky) Chick Beer Rant

I have been doing a lot of research and reading lately on women in craft beer. It started with my Ignite Fort Collins talk, but I have continued exploring this area because it is so interesting to me. I have yet to meet a woman involved in beer, whether it be by brewing or just attending events such as Beer Bettys, that is not an amazing, strong, smart woman. I want to know what makes these women gravitate towards beer now. I want to know how we lost our ancient role in beer in the first place.

I have come across several great resources and many knowledgeable women. Ginger Johnson at Women Enjoying Beer, Teri Fahrendorf of The Pink Boots Society, Julia Herz of the Brewers Association and so many others. There is also something else I keep coming across, Chick Beer. Dubbed “America’s Beer for Women” it is a premium light lager that comes in a pink labeled bottle and a six pack meant to look like a purse. The creators of Chick Beer decided to make it because they were upset that no beer was marketed or made for women.

I find several things wrong, and just plain offensive, when it comes to Chick Beer and it’s marketing claims. I figure the best way to address these, is a nice bullet-ed list of rants.

1) Stop advertising yourself as the “first beer made by and for women”. First, you didn’t make the beer, you contracted a MALE brewer to make the beer for you. Not to mention, women have been making beer, and making beer for women, for thousands of years. Grumpy and bleeding out with aunt flo? Have a red beer! Giving birth? Here is a groan beer! Kid just turned one? Time for a mother beer! Not to mention you do not make your beer for women, you make it for teenage girls who love the color pink and do not care what they drink as long as it gets them drunk.

2) You claim on your site that women like flavor. Then next claim that you use “soft malt and low hops” to create your beer. Ironically, those are the ingredients that create flavor in beer. I am sure you would know that if you actually made beer.

3) Your low malt and hop bills create a “flavor that is soft, smooth and full-bodied.  Yet Chick Beer magically has just 97 calories and 3.5 carbs” It doesn’t “magically” have only 97 calories, it has 97 calories because you didn’t really put anything in it but water.

4) You say you chose to make a light beer because “70% of women drink light beer”. Have you ever stopped to think why that is? That maybe women are generally under educated as to their options when it comes to beer, specifically craft?  That they too have bought into the “male dominated beer market” and go for the mega brands? My guess is that the only market research you did was which shade of pink to use. If you are not part of the solution, you are part of the problem.

5) Now, this statement, I just don’t get the logic of… “We decided to turn the pejorative Chick upside down, and to use the word as a statement on the strength and power of women”. You really showed the strength and power of women by making a beer even lighter than the light American lager and having a man make it for you. Then slapping a pink purse on the label, just to be sure men know it is a women’s beer. No one will miss the point of your “I am chick, hear me roar” statement now! You might have been better off paying for the old Zima packaging rights. Or hey, maybe of used the word c**t, if you really wanted to shake things up with a derogatory word.

6) On your “Chick Story” and “FAQ” sections of your website you call people who do not like your beer “uppity” and “snarky”. Then paint me uppity and snarky! You can also paint me smart, independent and educated. Resulting to name calling on your advertising to those that disagree with you makes me feel like the creators of this are in arrested development and stuck with the mentality of a 15 year old.

7) Your beer is not about “having another choice” . You made almost the exact same beer as the mass marketed american lager. You created a beer to keep women under educated and in the dark about the vast array of beer options.

Thankfully, this junk is not distributed to my state. I know a few managers at liquor stores and I doubt they would give up valuable shelf space in the Napa of Beer for a product such as this. Most people can see through a pretty pink package.

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18 Comments

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18 responses to “My (snarky) Chick Beer Rant

  1. esheppy

    LOL … good rant. I am not a chick, but the whole “chick beer” thing does sort of offend me as a craft-beer fan. In my experience, if a woman says she likes beer, she is more likely to be into craft beer than the typical man who says he likes beer.

    Their statement that “70% of women drink light beer”, is sort of interesting to me. I would be interested in knowing what the overall percentage is. The fact that craft beer sales are only 5% of the market, to me means that an extremely high percentage of men also drink “light” beer. In fact, I would think more than 70% of men do.

    • They never cite a source for any of their claims. Pretty sure they are pulling it out of their ass

      • Tom Aguero

        They may be pulling it out of their ass but if anything it’s a low number. 90% of all beer sales are for AB-Inbev & MillerCoors whose flagship products are light beers. Women probably represent a good 40 – 50% of the alcohol consuming population. And I would safely say that I know 3 out of every 10 women who don’t drink beer period. So I’m very comfortable to say that 60 – 70% of women drink “light beer”, 5 – 10% drink “craft” beer, and 20 – 30% don’t drink beer at all.

  2. SHurp!

    “Resulting to name calling on your advertising to those that disagree with you makes me feel like the creators of this are in arrested development and stuck with the mentality of a 15 year old.”

    Stone uses that same trick…

  3. Tom Aguero

    Good rant and thought provoking stuff. My real take away from this, which I’m sad didn’t make it in your article, is the awesomeness at which “craft” beer is expanding and growing up.

    So some idiot made a “chick” “craft” beer for “chicks”. What does that really tell me? That the craft beer world has grown up enough to have advertising morons start to REALLY pay attention to it and try to exploit it. That is a pretty awesome thing to me. Like craft beer is coming of age or something.

    Now, to be clear I’m not trying to defend these brewers. I completely agree with the absurdity of a “chick” beer. I just saw a positive spin on the whole thing.

  4. Well said! Any time someone stands up and says “goddamn it I don’t care how carefully you word it, sexism is sexism,” I have the overwhelming urge to clap and dance.

  5. Lee Baldwin

    as Brewer assistant at a start-up nanobrewery, (and a woman), i applaud you! My beer preference is a good malty, hoppy chewy dark beer. for years i thought i just didn’t like beer because all i ever was exposed to was American light lagers. yuck. i’;m glad this crap isn’t peddled in my state either!

  6. zman

    AMEN SIster!!!!! Good on you!! I am a homeberwer and a Craft Beer Lover as is my girlfriend (she helps in the brewing and is not nearly as dedicated/obsessed as I am about brewing). Her favorite styles are Belgians, Porters and Stouts. I made a perfectly clear light lager and she that it was great stylistically but lacked taste….Gotta Love that woman of mine ;0)

  7. Completely agree with you, Lauren. So sick of marketing types trying to assume they know what women want. How about talking to some actual women who like craft beer?!

    Well done. Hats off to you!

  8. Jake

    I was rolling on the floor when the brewmaster or a notoriously bad brewery claimed “We have come up with…probably one of the best recipes….on the planet.”

  9. CraftBeerGuy

    @Tom Aguero

    I agree that craft beer is growing and expanding very quickly which is a good thing because it allows someone like me who’s been drinking craft beer for the past 14 years more able to get good beer at more places. Heck, I remember when DFH World Wide Stout was first released and I was in the store buying like 8 bottles of it for $7 a bottle and everybody thought I was bananas to be doing that 10 years ago. Now, it’s commonplace. The problem, and this is really the major issue I have with the expansion of craft beer in general, is that as craft beer expands you get more and more beer elitists. I see them everywhere now. If I’m out town on business and I can’t get, say, a bottle of Chimay blue or whatever else I like I will buy a sixer of whatever is available because I like beer. I’d estimate that only 10% of these new aged craft beer enthusiasts would do the same. I see them at beer stores checking the iPhones for the top rated beers and only buying those beers, only buying “rare” beers, limited beers, whatever. It’s really opened up a disgusting scene and I keep seeing it going downhill. Most of the cool people I know who drink craft beer are old school like me and have been doing this for a very long time. I will gladly share a rare beer from my cellar with someone and not expect anything in return. Very, very, very few of the new beer people will do that. They will only share if you have something rare to share with them back. This new bunch seems to be in it completely for the wrong reasons.

    • Tom Aguero

      That’s just another down side to a growing community but what’s important to remember is that the community IS growing. People who are new to the scene are apt to whip out untappd because there are 300 “IPAs” in front of them and they’ve only had DFH’s 60 minute IPA. Don’t hate on them for not being sure where to spend their time and money. If you see someone doing that and it bugs you step up and say “hey man, I really dig this beer over here b/c x, y, z.” or ask them what they’re into and steer them towards something like that or something crazy different that they’ve never even approached before.

      And the more beers you give out of your collection or whatever it just spreads that attitude toward people and makes them more likely to pay it forward. Of course some will take it and laugh behind your back later saying how they scored off this old fool, but fuck them. They are the minority, no matter how many of them it seems there are.

    • Being only 25 there is not way I do not fall into this “new bunch”. But I am also lucky enough to live in a city where craft beer reigns and the people are amazing. Sharing good beers always occurs without hesitation. If I am on my phone, it is to learn more about a beer because the selection has exploded and it is impossible to keep up with all the new releases. A bar I frequent, The Mayor of Old Town, has 100 taps. I often look up beers on ratebeer there, because the selection is overwhelming and ratebeer will have more information on a brew than my server. People are going to act elitist just to be elitist, liking craft beer does not make someone elitist

      • I think the “elitism” can be a positive thing for the craft beer movement. Look at what it did for the wine industry in California. If it weren’t for the wine snobs in France choosing it in a blind taste test it wouldn’t have gained the same notoriety and distinction it enjoys today. Beer snobs, as much as you may not like they way they approach consuming, also help to elevate the industry by demanding a superior product. North America has long been known for crappy light beer that Europeans have sneered at. That has thankfully changed. The U.S. has one of the most dynamic and exciting beer scenes in the world. As a Canadian, I look to the American scene with admiration and hope that we can have the same craft beer culture you enjoy. We are getting there, but we have a bit of a ways to go. Great post BTW – totally agree with it! Cheers!

  10. Pingback: A good rant on ‘chick beer’ | Mom & Hops

  11. Marci

    Uh! Helloooo!
    Its about time they made a girly looking bottle for beer! I don’t like guy looking drinks but I love only beer. I am sick of miller lite. People are into craft beers now. They are strong and manly. When I sit down to watch football with my husband and friends. I like to look and feel hot! Like a girl! So some pink is cute for us girlier types! Especially when we ate wearing jerseys and screaming at the tv! I don’t want to be manly! I love beer! Get over it you women hater!!!!

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