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Beer and food combos for GBBF

Two renowned female beer experts, Christine Cryne and Annabel Smith will run beer and food matching sessions at the Great British Beer Festival at London’s Olympia from 7th to 11th August 2018.

On Friday 10th August from 1.30 to 2.30pm, Annabel Smith, Beer Sommelier and BeerBelle founder, will take tasters through the wonderful world of beer and cheese pairing with a delicious smorgasbord of beer and bites.

Later that day, from 6pm until 7pm, Christine Cryne will be running a session explaining why one of the best combinations of tastes is beer with chocolate! Go and have your preconceptions blown away with some great beers and chocolate – and they are not all dark!

Tickets for both sessions are limited and for CAMRA members cost £16.00 and for non-member £19.00.  Visit www.gbbf.org.uk/tutored-tastings

‘1st Women’ features female beer inspector

Dea Latis founder and director Annabel Smith will have her portrait featured in a major photographic exhibition entitled ‘100 First Women Portraits’ by Anita Corbin in July.

First Women comprises a unique collection of 100 portraits capturing women in the UK who were “first” in their field of achievement. The portraits by photographer Anita Corbin provide inspiration and insight for a new generation of women seeking an understanding of their own roles in a rapidly changing world in which equality is still an issue.

Annabel was photographed by Anita in her capacity as “First Female Beer Inspector” for the Cask Marque Trust. The photo was captured at Fuller’s flagship venue The Parcel Yard, at London King’s Cross, in 2009.

The full collection will be revealed at the Dyson Gallery, Royal College of Art, SW11 4AN, and the exhibition will run from 20th July to 22nd August 2018 to mark 100 years of women’s suffrage.

Entry is free.

For more information, visit www.1stwomenuk.co.uk

Drinks Maven pioneers BritHop on Beer Day Britain

Drinks writer and awards judge Jessica Mason, known more widely across social media as Drinks Maven is launching BritHop this Friday (15 June) to coincide with Beer Day Britain .

Jessica has created a series of beers created by UK brewers using new progressive British hops and aligned with British music with five of the UK’s best breweries.

The BritHop Series has been initiated in conjunction with hop merchant Charles Faram and the British Hop Association [BHA] and aims for a supergroup of new and exciting British beers to be brewed by some of the nation’s top brewers. Each beer will be aligned with a music track from a British band or artist that suits the beer.

Breweries involved in the project include: Burning Sky, The Kernel, Cloudwater, The Wild Beer Co and North Brewing Co.

“Great beer and great music should go hand-in-hand. In Britain, we are lucky enough to have both. The new progressive hop varieties we now have available to us in the UK are at the heart of this series and will be used to create some exciting new beers. This is the start of a journey into the next generation of flavour for British beer – an exciting step towards growing an appreciation for all of the nuances and subtleties of what British hops have to offer whilst also giving a nod to some decent music at the same time,” said Drinks Maven founder Jessica Mason.

BritHop is an independent project and a way for beer and music fans to also show support for local industry and the limited line-up of beers will be available to taste at a party at Mother Kelly’s in Bethnal Green London on the evening of 15th June, 2018.

Breweries and their selected tracks are as follows:

  • Burning Sky: The Astronauts – Typically English Day
  • The Kernel: The Slits – Heard It Through The Grapevine
  • Cloudwater: Kate Tempest – Europe Is Lost
  • The Wild Beer Co: David Bowie – Changes
  • North Brewing Co: Longpigs – Lost Myself

In launching this  project Jessica paid tribute to the Gender Pint Gap Report adding: “The discussions surrounding bridging the gap between women and beer have been really interesting. There is definitely more that we, as an industry, can do to remind people that beer is a drink for men and women and is completely ungendered. Projects pioneered by women but for the benefit of all go some way towards re-highlighting how beer is inclusive and how we all play a role in its future. In some cases women are underrepresented within the industry and yet that can sometimes lead to tokenisation to simply get a female face in the frame. However, there are women who work diligently behind the scenes driving change, building interest and garnering support for the future of the industry and how beer is perceived. Sometimes, we need to recognise that heading something up is, in many ways, akin to having a voice and a way to set a course for the future of an historically male-dominated sector where we can help shape exciting new developments in the beer world and challenge stereotypes before they become ingrained.”

For More Information

Visit: www.brithopped.co.uk and www.beerdaybritain.co.uk

Twitter and Instagram: #BritHop @drinksmaven

Email: jessica@drinksmaven.com and  jane@BeerDayBritain.co.uk

Brewers networking event considers women and beer

Annabel Smith received am enthusiastic trade sales reaction to The Gender Pint Gap report this week when she presented to a brewers’ Drinks Sales Networking event in London for over thirty brewery and drinks representatives from around the country.

In presenting the findings of the report, she challenged the brewers to think about their responses to the range of statistics published; that despite the boom in UK beers and brewing in the last ten years, little has changed in terms of women’s attitudes to drinking beers.

A lively debate ensued after the presentation with everyone there vowing to take back their findings to their respective businesses for consideration.

Annabel said: “As we say in the report, there’s a lot of history to unravel and it’s going to take a concerted effort by the brewers, marketeers, retailers and media to turn these ingrained attitudes around. We can all do something to peel back these layers.”

Joe Brouder, Regional Sales Manager for Timothy Taylor added: “The Gender Pint Gap report has certainly given us all something to think about and there are definitely incremental changes we can all make to support the report’s recommendations.”

 

Rhubarb sour beer brewed by 30 women

In an industry first, an all-female collaboration today unveiled a new limited edition craft beer: Rhubarb: A User’s Guide, just in time for this year’s London Craft Beer Festival.

Led by brewing expert Jenn Merrick, 30 women, including both current brewers and students, gathered for just 24 hours to create this unique kettle sour, in a bid to celebrate female brewing’s past, present and future.

Described as a sherbet-flavoured, crisp, refreshing beer that’s ideal for the summer, it has been brewed with Yorkshire ‘Pink Gold’ rhubarb juice, infused with fresh lemon thyme, hibiscus and rose petals and dry-hopped with Huell Melon.

Organised by We Are Beer, founders of London Craft Beer Festival, the kettle sour was hosted and brewed at Pressure Drop by brewer, Katie McCain. The all-female team comprised of 20 brewers and 10 undergraduates and lecturer from Heriot-Watt’s world-renowned MSc in Brewing and Distilling (see list below).

The day, which was extremely hands-on, saw everybody throwing themselves into the experience; contributing to the recipe design, blending flavours, prepping ingredients, and pitching in with the mashing and the boiling.

Jen Merrick, founder of community brewery, Earth Station, said: “It was such an inspiring day to see so many women who contribute to the craft beer industry all in one place, making a beer that drew on the skills of these industry leaders and connecting them with the next generation of brewers.”

Greg Wells, co-founder of We Are Beer, the company behind the London Craft Beer Festival who commissioned the project, said: “This is an amazing summer beer that will be a fantastic addition to the London Craft Beer Festival, which will see our biggest line up of beer, food and music yet.

“The aim of this limited-edition beer is to celebrate the incredible female talent and influence on modern brewing by creating a collaborative beer with past, present and future female brewers from across the industry.”

Continuing with the all-female theme, illustrator Tara O’Brien was commissioned to produce the artwork design for the label. The craft beer is available in 330 ml bottles at 3.6% ABV.

Rhubarb: A User’s Guide will be available at London Craft Beer Festival on 3rd to 5th August, at Tobacco Dock.

Brew day for the next generation

Brewster’s Brewery in Grantham is running a Project Venus brew day on 18 May 2018 to raise awareness about brewing as a career choice for women.

Set up by Sara Barton in 2011, Project Venus advocates women’s roles in the UK brewing industry. By facilitating communication, education and collaborative brews, they aim to create an approachable networking space for all females involved in beer. This year marks 20 years of Brewster’s Brewery and the fifteenth event for Project Venus.

The theme is ‘Next Generation’ to highlight the career opportunities for young women in brewing by connecting women currently in the industry to brewing students and those already thinking about a career in beer. Recipe development on the day for the brew is open to anyone who wants to attend, particularly students and people who haven’t designed recipes before.

Brewster’s brewer, Alice Batham said: “As its a Friday we are also planning on heading in Nottingham after the brew day has finished. Nottingham is not too far from the brewery and has lots of beery things to offer. ”

Brewster’s Brewery is in Grantham, a really easy train ride from London Kings Cross and with quick links by road via the A1. Trains and buses run from Grantham to Nottingham. Lunch and refreshments will be provided.

Please contact alice@brewsters.co.uk if you would like to attend.

@ProjectVenusUKEire

Is beer the last alcoholic drink with a gender bias?

Download PDF: The Gender Pint Gap Report_Dea Latis_May 2018

The UK has one of the lowest percentage of female beer drinkers in the world, despite the much lauded craft beer boom. Outdated sexist marketing, fear of the ‘beer belly’, and negative perceptions about flavour are all contributing to British women spurning our national drink. These are the findings in a new report into female attitudes and behaviours towards the UK’s favourite alcoholic drink.

The Gender Pint Gap report released by the women and beer group, Dea Latis is the first major piece of research about female attitudes towards beer in almost a decade. In a fast-moving consumer landscape that has seen a huge rise in the number of breweries and beer brands in the UK, the report reveals:

  • Only 17% of women drink beer at least once a week (compared to 53% of men).
  • Male oriented advertising is one of the three main barriers for over a quarter (27%) of women drinking beer – rising even higher for the 18-24 year-old female group to almost half (48%).
  • A fifth of women (20%) say that high calorie content is one of the three main barriers for women drinking beer.
  • 17% of women feel that ‘being judged by others’ is one of the three biggest barriers to drinking beer.
  • 32% of women would now drink beer at home with friends, compared to just 3% of women in another survey about women’s drinking habits and their relationship with beer in 2009*.
  • Taste is the great divide: Of the women who drink beer 56% do so because they like the taste; conversely, of the women who never drink beer 83% do so because they don’t like the taste.

The research conducted by YouGov was commissioned by Dea Latis, the group set up to inform and educate women about beer and to choose beer as a drink of choice. They wanted to examine whether the UK’s craft beer boom in the last decade has inspired more women to drink beer.

Comparing their statistics to a similar piece of research conducted in 2009*, it appears that female attitudes, perceptions and beliefs about beer have not changed much beyond a stronger trend to drinking beer at home. The report, say the authors, begs the question: why is the beer industry not tapping into this female market with an image overhaul?

Beer Sommelier and Dea Latis director Annabel Smith said: “We know that the beer category has seen massive progress in the last decade – you only need to look at the wide variety of styles and flavours which weren’t available widely in the UK ten years ago. Yet it appears the female consumer either hasn’t come on the same journey, or the beer industry just isn’t addressing their female audience adequately. Overtly masculine advertising and promotion of beer has been largely absent from media channels for a number of years but there is a lot of history to unravel. Women still perceive beer branding is targeted at men.”

Co-author of the report, Lisa Harlow added: “Our research has shown many misconceptions which women still hold about beer, such as calorific content, self-image and pre-conceptions about taste. It was disheartening in our supposedly enlightened times that so many of our female respondents cited ‘being judged by others’ as a reason for not drinking beer. Perhaps we need some high-profile celebrity advocates to show women that it is acceptable to drink beer?”

Beer writer, Sommelier & Certified Cicerone®, Melissa Cole said of the report: “An important piece of research that’s based on intelligent and insightful questions to unearth the simple ways the beer industry has managed to disenfranchise women from their once-loved drink over the last 70 years or so.

“It highlights everything from societal pressures to inappropriate serves to ingrained misogyny and more as just some of the issues and challenges the brewing industry to do something about it.

“But it’s not just criticism, it’s got rational advice on how the new, and old, guard of brewing can make beer relevant to 51% of the population again; but it’s also only just the start and I hope more long-overdue funding is provided to help address this issue.”

Jane Peyton, Beer Sommelier, writer, and founder of the School of Booze said: “The stats are fascinating and so insightful. I learned a lot about attitudes. This report should be read by everyone who makes and sells beer.”

The report concludes with a ‘Beer Drinking Women’s Manifesto’ which urges women who drink beer to become advocates; encouraging sampling, asking for different volumes and glassware and dispelling myths about calories and acceptability.

About the survey:

The Dea Latis survey was conducted using an online interview administered to members of the YouGov Plc UK panel of 800,000+ individuals who have agreed to take part in surveys.

All figures, unless otherwise stated, are from YouGov Plc. Total sample size was 2026 adults of which 1094 were female. Fieldwork was undertaken between 3rd – 4th October 2017. The survey was carried out online. The figures have been weighted and are representative of all GB adults (aged 18+).

 

*Molson Coors’ Bittersweet Survey: ‘Study into the drinking habits of UK women and their relationship with beer’ was sourced from an ICM survey in 2009. ICM interviewed a random sample of 2002 women aged 18-64 from its online panel between 26th – 28th January 2009. Respondents who don’t drink alcohol were screened out.

 

 

The Red Lioness pours

Long-time supporter of Dea Latis, Cathy Price, has helped to launch a new Red Lion pub at Blackpool Tower where they have even named a guest cask ale after her, called The Red Lioness.

Cathy, from Preston has regularly hit the headlines following her four year, 90,000 mile trip to visit every Red Lion pub in Britain – a grand total of 656 pubs.

The Blackpool Tower’s Red Lion, found on the ground floor next to The Blackpool Tower Dungeon, is open daily from 10am. The newly refurbished Victorian tavern is decorated like a traditional pub of the era including period themed bar staff, beer tankards and wall decorations and locally brewed ale will be served on draft with a different beer available each month.

Cathy said: “It’s fantastic news that The Blackpool Tower has opened a Red Lion pub. It is great to have one so close to home.And to have a beer named after me too is just amazing! I’ll be telling all my friends that they need to swing by and have a drink here.”

Cathy was named Beer Drinker of The Year in 2016 by the All-Party Parliamentary Beer Group in recognition of the number of Red Lions she has visited and is also an author of a book called ‘The Red Lioness: One Woman. Four Years. 90,000 Miles. 650 Pubs Plus’.

 

We Want Girls On Our Beer!!!

Don’t worry, we haven’t gone mad, this is the title of a recent blog by Crema’s Beer Odyssey that Emma has given us permission to re-publish. The title of this blog post is a direct quote by a brewer and reveals insight into some of the decisions being taken about beer labelling and branding:

There has been a great deal of discussion about offensive branding in the beer industry recently. Not that it’s a new thing. Some of us have been talking about it for years. But it is certainly gaining momentum now. In the current social climate people have less and less tolerance for discrimination and exclusion. After all, it really isn’t asking all that much to treat everyone equally is it?

At the Brewer’s Congress in November 2017 the Portman Group was referenced in numerous presentations. Speakers from breweries whose products had been reported to the Portman Group for breaching their Code of Practice (on Naming, Packaging and Promotion of Alcoholic Drinks) discussed the process of responding to these complaints.

Beavertown and Tiny Rebel had both been reported to the Portman Group by members of the public for issues with their packaging. Almost identical complaints were received, referencing the sections of the code relating to clear labelling of a beverage as alcoholic, antisocial behaviour, immoderate consumption (NB only against Tiny Rebel), and having particular appeal to under 18s. In short, the implication was that these 330ml brightly coloured cans featuring stylised cartoonish art work might lead to children wanting to drink them. The complaint against Beavertown was ultimately not upheld but the one against Tiny Rebel was.

To be clear, the Tiny Rebel and Beavertown presentations were not specifically about these complaints but they certainly formed part of the story they were telling. I would like to think that they were shared at the Congress for the wider benefit of those in the industry who could learn from these experiences.

Later on we had Alistair Taylor from the Advisory Service at the Portman Group give a presentation on the role of the organisation and how they can benefit breweries. Essentially they exist to regulate the packaging of alcoholic products via their code of practice. In hindsight, there was nothing wrong with the overall message in this presentation – publicising their role and explaining how they can help breweries is definitely something the Portman Group should be doing. But in the heat of the moment this message was a little lost.

When the presentation displayed a complaint about a beer (Wye Valley Brewery’s Dorothy Goodbody’s Wholesome Stout) which had been reported for breaching section 3.2 (d) of the code (a drink should not… ‘suggest any association with sexual activity or sexual success’) this was greeted with disbelief by the audience. The Congress had begun that day with Jaega Wise’s presentation on women in the beer industry, including many examples of offensive packaging: this audience was not prepared to sit back and accept that this particular complaint had not been upheld because the packaging didn’t breach the code.

If the audience found the packaging offensive then how could this not be in violation of the code? The answer is that the code in its current form mentions sexual references on beer packaging only within narrow margins: a product should not suggest that it makes the consumer more attractive or that it leads to ‘sexual success’ which is actually quite an unpleasant sounding, masculine phrase. Possibly even a little dated.

When I started reading through previous complaints I was shocked to see that the Wye Valley Brewery complaint is the only one the Portman Group have ever received concerning sexist packaging. I have seen and heard many complaints about lots of different examples of sexist and offensive packaging. If by any chance you haven’t seen enough of these already you need only visit Pumpclip Parade. It seems unbelievable that only one of these examples has ever been reported to the Portman Group. Is that because people are not aware of the role of the organisation? Are they unaware that members of the public can report products directly? Or is it because even if they did report a product the code isn’t fit (in its current state) to deal with these complaints?

In January Jaega Wise was announced as elected south east director of SIBA. On February 27th a press release from SIBA stated their intent to create a marketing code of practice for their members. There will be an industry discussion on this topic at the BeerX conference this month. Entries to SIBA competitions are already screened to exclude any offensive product branding and in the future this could be extended to all beers sold by SIBA members.

A CAMRA statement from December 2017 by their National Executive they are in agreement with SIBA that sexist branding is not going to be tolerated at their festivals or in publications.

“We abhor sexism and will take action against any CAMRA member who, by their words or acts, is disrespectful of any individual because of their gender. We expect the behaviour of those who work with us, whether in campaigning or at our events, to be consistent with our values. We condemn those who use sexist images or slogans to market their products and will not condone them being stocked at our beer festivals or promoted in our competitions and publications.” 

In the United States, as with all things craft beer, they are ahead of us in tackling this issue. The Brewers Association updated their marketing code of practice in April 2017 to include an additional two lines, stating that beer advertising and marketing materials should not:

  1. contain sexually explicit, lewd, or demeaning brand names, language, text, graphics, photos, video, or other images that reasonable adult consumers would find inappropriate for consumer products offered to the public; 
  1. contain derogatory or demeaning text or images.”

I think it would be desirable to include something similar to this in the Portman Group code of practice.

On Wednesday 28th February I attended a meeting at the Portman Group to discuss how their code might evolve to reflect the current climate with respect to offensive branding of alcoholic products. The code undergoes review every five years and the 12 week consultation period will open shortly (likely to be April to June). Anybody is welcome to express their views. So I would encourage anyone with an interest to get involved and have their say.

Any changes to the code will require the existing guidance notes to be rewritten in order to support the code. This means we are not likely to see the new code in action until the end of 2018 at the earliest. But this time next year we might have a code which is fit for purpose.

Hopefully we will reach a broad consensus across the industry with the Portman Group code providing a minimum standard which all producers of alcohol are required to meet, with a similar marketing codes from SIBA, and supportive policies from CAMRA and the London Brewers Alliance. It is important that all relevant groups are on the same page otherwise we might end up in a position where a particular product’s branding is deemed acceptable by one group but not by another.

It is no coincidence that the Advertising Standards Agency conducted an evidence-based review of gender stereotyping in advertising last year. You can read the full report here Depictions, Perceptions and Harms. It’s very interesting stuff. If you dislike those product adverts on TV which display men as incapable of performing the simplest of household tasks, you’re going to like this.

The times, they are a-changing. Finally.

Further evidence that we are all heading in the same direction is provided by two recent examples of breweries deciding to change their product branding in response to numerous complaints on social media. Both breweries were experiencing reputational damage from the complaints they received but they chose to resolve the issue in different ways.

Castle Rock’s Elsie Mo is a golden ale which first appeared in 1998, featuring ‘pin up’ artwork on the pump clip. In 2007 the brewery chose to digitally enhance the pin up a la Lara Croft and then in 2014 they decided to ‘modernise’ the artwork to show a woman in a pilot’s uniform, kicking up her legs to reveal stockings and suspenders. Eventually in January 2018 Elsie Mo became a pilot, who can be seen flying a plane (whilst fully clothed). You can read the full story directly from the brewery.

Station 119, a Suffolk brewery founded in 2014, also chose to go down the pin up route with their branding. Here is their description of the original imagery on their packaging.

Our labels take inspiration from the WW2 tradition of decorating the airplane noses which helped to popularise pinup art. This art form is considered by many to be a positive post-Victorian rejection of bodily shame and a healthy respect for female beauty.

Following some criticism of their branding at the close of 2017 the brewery opted to change their labels – not because they felt they got it wrong the first time, but because it was affecting sales.

Some of the responses to these positive changes made by breweries have been predictable but are still a little disappointing. The title of this blog post is a direct quote made in response to the Station 119 Facebook post announcing their new branding. Sure, it’s laughable that some people think that way, and yes these dinosaurs are in the minority, but in too many cases there is a spiky barb of misogyny underneath. So the work is far from over.

However, I feel more positive about this issue than I have for a long time. Yes, there is a (decreasing) minority of people who want to live in the past but regardless of their outdated views, we are moving on.

Brewhouse & Kitchen host nationwide brew days

Brewhouse and Kitchen, the UK’s largest brewpub chain and the second largest in Europe will host hundreds of women nationwide – including celebrities, prominent figures and local community members – at 19 locations across the country on 8 March for their annual FemALE Brewing Experience Day – for the 5th International Women’s Collaboration Brew Day; ‘Unite Exotic’.

The day will begin with a briefing followed by a mashing in. By lunchtime, guests will have taken part in sparging, digging out the mash tun. After lunch they will start the boil and add hops and finings before transferring the brew to the fermenter.

Brewhouse and Kitchen Marketing Manager Gail Bunn says the rise of women in the industry can be credited to the skills it takes along with changing attitudes in society.

She commented: “Women have greater ability to distinguish between high numbers of aromas and flavours, which is key to success in craft brewing. Along with this, beer companies are more aware of the importance of female beer drinkers and women now feel more comfortable to drink beer, attend pubs and contribute to the growth of the industry.

“We’re seeing this reflected in both our customers base and growth of women participating in our Brewing Academy, which fosters successful careers in brewing.”

Brewhouse and Kitchen will make a donation to Cancer Research UK from each pint sold of the specially brewed beer.