Confession time: I’m a fan of many beer- and alcohol-blogs besides DnU. Please don’t tell Fervere. One podcast I enjoy is The Beer Amigos. They are Travis Johnides and Michael Howland, and they highlight Long Island’s craft beer scene. In their most recent episode, they were interviewing craft brewers at the Blue Point Cask Ales Festival. One of them was our friend Paul Dlugokencky, of Blind Bat Brewery. They commented on Blind Bat’s beer appearance on The Martha Stewart Show. I had watched that segment and beamed with pride when Paul’s beer was represented. Now that was 2 months ago, so I went on the interweb to re-watch the video, viewing it with a more critical, “feminine” eye.
The name of the Martha Stewart Show episode was “The Man Show.” Okay, I get it—beer, men, fire—that was an easy let go. She had on Dogfish Head Brewery founder Sam Calagione, who was doing a “Beer 101” with Martha. Sam had Martha try five great beers: Saranac Adirondack Lager, Firestone Walker Pale 31, Dogfish Head Burton Baton, the Blind Bat Hellsmoke Porter, and finally Dogfish Head Midas Touch.
Martha and Sam went one by one, trying each beer, until Sam got to the Hellsmoke Porter. He was literally in mid-pour when Martha curled up her nose and said, “Oh, this is not my favorite.” Sam asked, “Just by color?” Martha’s face was still crinkly and she continued, “It’s too dark. Ugh!”
She didn’t even try it. She handed it off to her cameraman. Did I happen to mention she didn’t even try it? She finished the last Dogfish Head beer and asked Sam to send her a keg of their beer Namaste, which she never had before but liked the name because she does yoga.
Martha, you are not helping.
Right now, commercial breweries are coming up with crazy ways to attract the large untapped [I get it! — ed.] beer-drinking market for women. Whether it be the lowest of the low calorie beer or making beer clear, pink, or sparkly, Ooo, sparkly. I’ll bet when that “Man Show” episode aired, beer reps ran home to their focus groups and tried to come up with “womanly” names for their future beer. How about Unicorn’s Mane Lager? Soccer Field Weizen? I know! *Sun Salutation 24-Calorie Pink Palest Ale. (I believe a bit of my soul died when I wrote that.)
Martha Stewart, in that one action, was telling millions of women that dark beer equals icky, confirming the suspicions of women who may never try another dark beer because they had a sip of Guinness 15 years ago. It’s a shame, because she is reinforcing that stereotype of how the market views women beer drinkers: Light and bland is good; dark and bitter is bad. Well guess what? Martha’s wrong. The beer conglomerates are wrong. And they should both know better.
Want to attract more women beer drinkers? Announce and advertise your beer in ways that don’t insult our intelligence or pigeonhole our palates. And ladies, we’re not off the hook. We need to get out there and try beers that may seem to be out of our comfort zones. Many bars and restaurants offer sample glasses so we can try what is on tap, and attending craft beer festivals is a great way to try many different styles of beer.
I’m going to let everyone in on a deep, dark secret about women beer drinkers. We want exactly the same thing men want—a good quality brew. It saddens me that Martha dropped the ball instead of carrying it for a touchdown. Speaking of football, I guess she’s on my shit list along with Rachel Maddow. I still haven’t forgiven Maddow for giving her entire crew Bud Light when the Giants beat the Pats. She will kick the ass of the bartender using juice from a bottle instead of real fruit, but Bud Light? BUD LIGHT?
But, I digress…