Fosters CEO Alan Clark Calls Out Sexist Beer Advertising, Plus Four Other Ways People Are Fighting Sexism In The Brewing Industry
If you've ever seen a beer advertisement, you know how misogynistic they often are. If you're tired of women being objectified to sell booze, you'll be happy to hear about Foster's owner Alan Clark calling out sexist beer advertisements. Clark is the CEO of brewing company SABMiller, who acquired Foster's in 2011. He wants to appeal to women in his company's beer advertising, but says that thanks to the start of the sexist ads that dominated the 1980s, women still feel excluded from the industry. In fact, Foster's itself has a troubled past of creating sexist advertising to sell their brews. But Clark is tired of this industry norm and wants to change it: He told the Daily Mail that it's high time the brewing industr moved on from "lager louts" and women being "the butt of jokes."
SABMiller also owns the beer brand Peroni, which has also put out its fair share of problematic ads. However, Clark commented to the Daily Mail that Peroni has been distancing itself from its old "good ol' boys" mentality: "Peroni has moved away from the lager lout college frat impact," said Clark. "The world has moved on from lads telling jokes on a Saturday and high volume consumption. Beer is now drunk by women and men together."
There is still a lot of ground left to cover, but at least these advertisers are starting to see the value of attracting women customers, rather than alienating them. Sue Clark, who is SABMIller's Managing Director, says that while women will drink beer, the biggest challenge is to get them drinking it on the regular, since women only make up 31 percent of weekly beer drinkers in the UK. Moving away from the "misogynistic marketing that became the industry norm," as Sue Clark put it, will hopefully help develop the demographic.
And happily, sexism is being fought in the beer industry with a vengeance, as beer companies and entrepreneurs recognize the gaps that need to be filled. Here are four other ways that sexism is being taken down by breweries all over the world:
1. The Feminist Beer
Cerveja Feminista, the Brazilian feminist beer, is a recently released new brand created to promote gender equality. The beer was designed by the advertising collective 65|10, named such because 65 percent of women in Brazil feel misrepresented in advertising and only make up 10 percent of advertising executives. The red ale's bottle and labeling is gender neutral, consisting of a simple design with the word "feminist" on it. The hope is that this design will be a conversation starter.
2. The Female Beer Fest
Women-brewed beer is coming to Britain, as the country is hosting the FEM.ALE beer festival later this month. The festival is going to feature panels where women will discuss the history of beer and the industry's gender problem; furthermore, 15 gravity pubs that all have women brewing their beer will be represented at the event. Founder Erica Horton wanted to challenge the stereotype that beer drinking is a guy thing, while also empowering women who brew.
3. The Bud Light Apology
Bud Light is famous for it's misogyny, but there might be hope for the Anheuser-Busch owned company. Their 2015 advertising campaign "Up For Whatever" literally sent the message, “The perfect beer for removing ‘no’ from your vocabulary for the night” — that was actually its slogan — which effectively states that it's OK to get someone so intoxicated that they are unable to consent to any sort of sexual activities. But the good news is that the company issued an apology about the campaign and removed this slogan from their labeling. Stated Vice President Alexander Lambrecht, "It’s clear that this particular message missed the mark, and we regret it."
4. The Female Beer Mogul
Melissa Cole runs the blog "Let Me Tell You About Beer," which has the tagline "Taking the Beard out of Beer Since 2007." Cole is a brewer and has written a book with the same title as her website, with her aim being to disrupt the male-dominated beer culture with her work. She not only shares great recipes and events, but also discusses sexism in the industry.