Women Like Beer. Now, If Only Beer Liked Women...

Despite sexist ads, frat-boy associations and the fact that it is not pink, plenty of women drink beer. Portƒolio writer Lew Bryson suggests that marketers make 2008 the year they discover women. "When women appear [in beer ads], they're either carrying a tray of beers or standing around looking beautiful," writes Bryson. Yet "women make up a not-insignificant 25 percent of the beer market; they are supposedly the reason beer comes in six-packs rather than eight-packs—a sixer was presumed to be as much weight as a woman would feel comfortable carrying in one hand." Take a minute to roll your eyes, then think about all the cowboys, construction workers, sports stars, rappers and Clydesdales in beer ads. Bryson would like to see that era come to a close, and his wish may come true: an ad commissioned by Anheuser-Busch could promote beer as the booze that will get you less trashed. In one spot, a woman wakes up in "Darrellville," the bedroom of a hairy-chested man in a robe who says, "Come here and nibble me." The tagline? "Minimize the surprise. Stick with beer."

(The version for guys has a poor dude waking up in a the home of a "cat lady" who tries to decide which of her costumed kitties will be in their wedding.)

Meanwhile, in the UK, a 19-year-old named Harriet Easton has teamed up with a local brewery and launched her own ale, called Harry's Beer. "Real ale has typically and consistently been marketed towards men with names full of cheesy puns and innuendo, and images of buxom wenches serving up frothy jugs," she says. "There's no need to move on, lads — just move over."

So here are some questions: If women already drink beer, do brewers even need to bother directing ads toward them? Or it is high time advertisers stopping ignoring half the market? And do women drink beer despite the lack of women-centered advertising, or because it's a "manly" choice?

And hey, if you're not into drinking beer, a spa in Chicago uses it as a pedicure soak — the yeast softens feet, apparently.

Half a Market Waiting [Portƒolio]
Real Ale Undergoes A Sex Change [Guardian]
A-B Says: 'Stick With Beer' [AdWeek]
How To ... Give Yourself A Beer Pedicure [Seattle Post-Intelligencer]