Women’s Libation: Sisters Are Brewin’ It For Themselves


Call it the Women’s Libation movement. At a handful of locations around the world, women are launching their own beer brands intended to appeal specifically to their gender as well as to offset the objectification of women in traditional beer marketing and advertising.

Brazil’s Cerveja Feminista is one of them, proudly wearing the word “feminist” in its name and on its label.

“The typical Brazilian beer ad shows a semi-naked standard-beauty woman being harassed by men,” co-founder Thais Fabris told Fast Company. “For us, it has many dangerous aspects, since it objectifies women and enables sexual harassment on a daily basis, on mass media. Even craft beers, which are becoming more popular here, follow that path, with names like ‘Fatlicious’ or ‘Forbidden Lady.'”

In the US as well, some allege that craft beers are failing badly in the approach they take to the female market. Women account for 25 percent of total beer consumption by volume in the US, and 37 percent of craft-beer consumption. Yet brands such as pink-labeled Chick Beer and Clown Shoes Tramp Stamp completely miss the mark.

Feminista’s founders believe they can help change advertising stereotypes. In fact, it’s connected with an activist group called 65/10, so-named because 65 percent of women in Brazil feel under-represented in advertisements and only 10 percent of those working in advertising are female.

Sophie Atherton, the UK’s first female-qualified beer sommelier, knows from first-hand experience that sexist marketing has discouraged women from drinking beer. “If you see advertising for a beer and on the label is a woman with her [breasts] out, that says beer is not for women, it is for men,” she told The Telegraph. “It’s despicable to exploit women that way but it’s also stupid—50 percent of your potential customers are women, so why alienate them?”

As Fast Company points out, there’s a growing list of feminist brews just in America: “Oregon’s Full Sail Brewing Co. made an experimental dark ale meant to challenge the idea of a light ‘girl’s beer,’ and California’s Monkish Brewing Co. makes a Belgian-style tripel named Feminist.”

And in Sweden, the FemAle women’s beer club called recently launched We Can Do It, the nation’s first beer made by women, The Guardian reported. Its label, below, is a take on World War II’s iconic “We can do it!” Rosie the Riveter.

FemAle hosts We Can Do It women-only tastings that allow potential customers to experiment with flavors and styles of beer they might not normally try—to help “get more girls into the beer world,” as the group says. “Bring your mother, sister, girlfriend, aunt and grandmother so we can all learn more about beer.”

The delightfully-named Barley’s Angels is another social beer organization that invites women to connect to local craft beer aficionados and breweries in a shared love for authentic, non-sexist beer culture.

Founded in 2011, it’s now an international women’s craft beer club with about 75 chapters worldwide, and celebrates International Women’s Collaboration Brew Day every March 8th—also International Women’s Day.

*Thanks to Stuart Derrick for the headline suggestion!


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