I’m not at all afraid to admit I enjoy a nice cold beer. Quite regularly in fact. I’d even go so far as to say I’ve had some of my happiest days relaxing with friends at Summer BBQ’s with a tin in one hand and some unidentifiably charred meat in the other, or by the pool at Es Vive, listening to some balearic beats, sipping on a cervaza and topping up the tan.
Interestingly though, when I picture myself with a beer, or look back at many of the thousands of photos I store as evidence of good times gone by…I see me in the daytime, on holiday or occasionally in a local pub, but very rarely over a romantic dinner with the boy, or at a glamorous launch event. When the girls come over, they bring wine. At events, we drink cocktails. And when I asked a selection of lovely ladies in my life some quickfire questions on the subject, their answers mirrored my own;
- 50% genuinely like the taste of beer.
- 75% would happily drink beer in the daytime, at a gig or on holiday.
- 0% would order a beer at an evening event or on a dinner date.
As the roomy and I have been known to enjoy a bottle or eight of most types of alcohol here at Princess Palace, I asked for her reasons why she wouldn’t want to drink beer in a dress. In her opinion, beer has its place, but is “inappropriate” at certain social occasions. When I probed as to why, she couldn’t give me a definitive answer, but words like “unladylike” and “ladette” came up. Having a good understanding of her close social circle, I appreciate that at times ordering a beer would be frowned upon by some, which has inevitably helped form her opinions.
In my case on the other hand, after being dragged up between a suburban cul-de-sac, a yuppie flat & a hippified, chaotic foster home as a child, then moving from squats as a teenager to life as a Chigwell dwelling WAG in my 20’s and back to North London now, I’m lucky to have a wide group of independent friends from different backgrounds…& am slightly more likely to ignore stereotypes and just do what makes me smile. So it got me thinking. Why, when I like the taste & have friends and a boyfriend who would happily order me anything I want from the bar without any raised eyebrows, do I feel the same?
For me, it’s more to do with the way beer is presented to us girls…or rather the way it’s NOT presented. The marketing is nearly always aimed at men, is often associated with sports, particularly football and even the drinking vessels themselves are usually clumsy and lacking any trace of “girliness”. I certainly don’t want to spend hours (or even minutes!) getting dressed up, then stand there struggling to hold on to a stubby pint glass in my tiny hand. I can see many a pretty outfit ruined by the inevitable spillage! Add to that the feeling of bloating after drinking even a relatively small quantity of lager and the gassy effects of most beers available, and it seems easier to stick to the Vodka…
So. Can anything be done to change the overall image, and make beer a drink of choice for glammed up young women on a night out, or is it destined to remain a Sunday afternoon drink at the local pub?
Step up The Bittersweet Partnership. This new business has been launched by Coors Brewers, to work in collaboration with women, answering questions, dispelling myths and developing new products that will be specifically aimed at us girls and our tastebuds. They have even formed a panel of female experts, pulled from the world of fashion, lifestyle, media, beer and food, to act as an independent voice for women across the UK. Commentator Janet Street Porter, broadcaster Carol McGiffin, socialite Fran Cutler, chef Allegra McEvedy and fashion designer Amy Molyneaux all sit on the panel, and the website includes many of their opinions on this subject, along with the chance to enter competitions, a collection of beer cocktail recipes (including an interesting take on a Mojito) and the opportunity to have your say on the subject.
Personally, I think this is a great idea. If I could find a beer, presented in the right glass, that had lower calories and didn’t leave me bloated after a few sips, I’d happily order one at any occasion.
For more information on this initiative, which was launched on 18th March, take a look at the media report which is full of interesting facts and statistics relating to beer from a womans perspective.