You’ve come a long way, baby,
To get where you got to today.
You’ve got your own IPA now, baby.
You’ve come a long, long way.
It was hardly for the better, but a cigarette designed for women became wildly successful nearly half a century ago.
Now some companies are hoping to have the same marketing success – without the disastrous health effects – with a much safer and more pleasant “vice” that has been the domain of men for millennia.
It’s beer. More specifically, beer for women. Because while women don’t particularly care to be stout, they do like to chug one down every now and then.
Beer in America is generally made by and marketed to men – when a voice tells you to head to the mountains, chances are you’re watching a football game, not "Ellen."
But a lot of women like beer, especially craft beer. In fact, they drink about 32 percent of the stuff, according to the Brewers Association, a trade group that represents craft breweries.
And they’ll drink even more, some people say, if you make it especially for them. If you brew it, they will come, and that first date could turn into a lasting relationship.
Enter Florida-based High Heel Brewing, a brewery that’s making “craft beer for women by women,” according to its founder, Kristi McGuire, who knows a thing or two about beer. She’s a master brewer and a 20-year industry veteran who spent eight years working for Anheuser-Busch and was recently a craft beer industry consultant, according to USA Today.
High Heel – its logo is a hop on top of a stiletto heel – has crafted a couple of beers that are brewed and packaged with women in mind. Slingback Perry Ale, measuring 5.4 percent alcohol, brewed with pear and passion fruit juices and spiced with chamomile and elderflower, comes in a mauve and hop green four-pack. The citrusy and bold Too Hop’d to Handle India Pale Ale checks in at 8.4 percent, contains four different varieties of hops and is packaged in warm reds, oranges and purples.
The boxes are soft and cuddly. But neither beer is for the faint of heart.
"In the past, it was assumed women wanted sweeter and lighter beers and that’s just not the case," McGuire told USA Today. "That’s not what you see at the pub or the craft beer store."
Another brewer that wants more blondes drinking blondes is ChickBeer, which has been testing its light lager in local markets for three years and now is seeking financial support to go national. ChickBeer “resonated with women because the beer industry has always been so male-dominated," said Shazz Lewis, who created the brand with her husband Dave.
"It occurred to me there really hadn’t been anything out there specifically for women," she told USA Today, adding, "We didn’t want to dummy it down, it needed to be a stand-up beer ... not fruity flavored (and) as full-bodied as a light beer could be."
But ChickBeer has left no doubt about whom they want drinking their beer. The bottles are pink, and the six-pack looks like a purse.
But do women really need their own beer?
"A lot of brewers, and indeed consumers, believe it's a bit too obviously pandering to create a beer specifically geared toward women," said Jennifer Litz, editor of Craft Business Daily.
"We don’t need a beer marketed to women because we need to market all beer to all people based on benefits of the beer itself," added Emily Engdahl, executive director of the Pink Boots Society, a women's beer professional group.
On the other hand … if it takes a pink bottle or a stiletto logo to sell more beer to women, who’s going to be bitter?