Chick Beer: Degrading? Brilliant Marketing?…or Both?

Well someone has gone and done it.  Direct marketing of beer to women.  Now don’t get me wrong, I have nothing against marketing to women, but the question is, does this step over the bounds of good taste?   Before anyone goes all postal  (lookin’ at you Zac) it needs to be stated that this is the brainchild of Shazz (yes she goes by only one name like Cher), founder and owner of Chick Beer.  Yes Shazz is a woman who has five, count them, five daughters.  So if anyone should be in tune with the female market I would think that a woman with five daughters would be a good candidate.

She (Shazz, that is) has done some research too.  currently women account for 25% of all beer consumption in the US.  That is about 750 million cases of beer.  That’s a lot, and certainly worth an attempt to gain a piece of that market share.  What’s more Shazz claims to have done research on what women like in beer, and has specifically formulated Chick Beer to appeal to those tastes.  No hop bombs here, she tones down the bitterness and plays up the sweet malitness in the low cal low carb beer (97 and 3.5 per 12 oz respectively).

On facebook a lot of very well respected beer women are tearing Shazz a new one.  They don’t like this idea one bit, and find it demeaning.  On the flip side Shazz says that she is celebrating women and that being a Chick is not a bad thing, so she owns it and like any red blooded capitalistic American is trying to exploit it for all it is worth.  I have heard through the Facebook thread that this brew is actually pink.  Now they do not mention this anywhere on the Chick beer site, so I can’t independently verify that.  They do however say that 5% of all their profits go to charities to help empower women, so I guess that is a good thing.

Here is my take on this.  It is a blatant attempt at making a money grab.  There is very little here that is new except for packaging and a marketing ploy.  Bright colors, a fashion conscious bottle design and yet another crappy light lager.  I would say this does nothing to empower women, but is just another way in which the beer industry is trying to exploit them in the US.  Sure they aren’t in bikinis but really “Chick Beer?”  What kind of demo are you going for here?  The 22 year old Paris Hilton wannabe market?

Frankly this is just a new way to wrap old fish in an attempt to attract a few buyers.  If you want to donate to a good cause, make good beer that appeals to the masses and then donate 5% of those earnings to women’s charities.  This is just so wrong on its face that I think nobody wanted to tell the Emperess she had no clothes.  We’ll see how they do, but I’m sensing another Moonshot without the caffeine.

-Don

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36 Comments on “Chick Beer: Degrading? Brilliant Marketing?…or Both?”

  1. Timothy McGinnis
    July 7, 2011 at 5:02 pm #

    So if it gets more beer drinkers this is wrong how?

    Over here in Jolly Ole England they have run out of guys to sell beer/ale to. You either drink Ale/Craft Beer, shit lager or spirits and outside of that there is little else in the marketing world. If you are influenced by CAMRA then you drink old timey ale, own a beard and bitch about how ale should be and that is dark in the winter and light in the summer. So they have recently started marketing certain light, flowery/citrus ales to the ladies. Now they don’t use blatant schemes such as “Chick” beer but it may work in the states. Here in England they tone down the pump clips, add some soft colors and call it marketing to women. What was odd (at least in my opinion) is that most of these floral beers are high on American hops which are pretty popular in the summer over here regardless who you are. But funny thing is, it actually sort of works. Women are the rising demographic in this country even if that was the only option so in the end more “people” are drinking ale/craft beer than Stella or Carling.

    Is Chick Beer going to last? No, I do not think it will but it will be no more different that Red Wolf in the early 90’s and Zima at any point in history. I say let them do there thing and if it gets women on the road to drinking good beer then hell, we all had our gateway beer to get where we are now.

    Best,

    American in England (Tim)

    • Don
      July 7, 2011 at 5:41 pm #

      That certainly is one way of looking at it Tim, but I think it is less about the beer, and much more about the ability to market and exploit a sector of the market. If Chick Beer was going to make something crafty, I might give it a little more credit, but they are going after the college girls and the twenty somethings that are currently drinking Bud Light and MGD 64. This isn’t about introducing woment to a better beer that has been crafted for them, instead it is about cashing in on the BMC marketplace. Afterall there is a hell of a lot more women drinking crap beer than craft beer, and that is their target, because that is where they will make the most cheddar!

    • July 8, 2011 at 10:51 am #

      Interesting on the floral hops note. I know a lot of women who LOVE big, hoppy bears. Of course, this isn’t limited to women, but it sort of goes against the “research” Shazz has done in determining that women don’t like the hop.

  2. July 7, 2011 at 5:20 pm #

    It’s lame. What annoys me about this is that this is a ploy about marketing, and not about beer.

    • Don
      July 7, 2011 at 5:42 pm #

      They might as well put it in a vortex bottle and have the pearls on the label turn blue when its cold. Oh, wait a minute, that might attract guys.

  3. July 7, 2011 at 7:20 pm #

    I’m sure there’s quite a few women out there right now breaking out their shotguns and looking for Ms. Shazz. Most of the women I know who like beer wouldn’t be caught dead drinking this obvious, blatant marketing ploy. Especially since it’s a “light” beer. My wife prefers stouts and porters, but still enjoys a good pilsner occasionally like Mama’s Little Yella Pils or Ska’s Mexican Logger (yes logger, not lager), she would definitely turn up her nose at something like this. One of my lady friends is a younger-gotta-try-the-latest-thing kinda girl (who’ll drink the hoppiest beer right along with me), and I can bet even she would hate this.

    • Don
      July 8, 2011 at 9:30 am #

      I think most people will see through this obvious money grab.

  4. July 7, 2011 at 8:29 pm #

    Finally, a beer for my ex-wife.

    • Don
      July 8, 2011 at 9:30 am #

      ZING!

  5. July 8, 2011 at 8:27 am #

    I don’t think its demeaning, but it certainly isn’t brilliant either. I expect it would be off of the shelves by this time next year if not sooner.

    • Don
      July 8, 2011 at 9:36 am #

      Cmon Scott, there you go getting all serious and stuff. Maybe she’ll sell out to Paris Hilton? Maybe they will promote it with a free chiwawa and a really blingy purse to carry it in. The possibilities are endless.

      • September 7, 2011 at 4:41 pm #

        Going through all of this, I think she would have been smarter to just make a sexy looking bag that perfectly fit a six pack – something that is chic and cool, but not degrading and could be justified for being over priced. And then I wouldn’t have to carry there beer home anymore.

        • Don
          September 7, 2011 at 4:43 pm #

          Yeah like a ladies hand bag or something, but pretty cheap. Not too many people are going to buy a 6 pack for $50 whether it is in a Dolche & Gabana handbag or not.

  6. July 8, 2011 at 9:10 am #

    This is kind of like the beer for gays we covered a while back, which was also a pointless, stupid marketing tactic.

    The marketplace has a heaping helping of karma for folks who make stupid novelty beers. Just look at Moonshot – sure it was the FDA that drove the final nail, but the product was already on the ropes. And this one doesn’t have Rhonda Kallman behind it, so good luck!

    • Don
      July 8, 2011 at 9:37 am #

      That gives me an Idea…Beer for gay women! We’ll call it Lezbrew! ;)

      • July 8, 2011 at 10:56 am #

        Terrible. Or as Charles Barkley would say: trrrrrble.

        What they’re all missing is that beer is already marketed to women and gays. It always struck me how much promotional material from big brewers there are in gay bars or gay parts of cities. Also, there are often as many women drinking beer in commercials as men. Sure, the larger part of the market are men, but women are already being marketed to. They just don’t like shitty beer and that’s what most people think beer is.

  7. Wayne
    July 8, 2011 at 9:36 am #

    As has already been said its a marketing ploy. The marketing gurus know that they can sell anything if they make it sound exclusive–it appeals to our innate sense of tribalism. This kind of ploy is especially successful against the younger demographic (those under 25), because the human sense of judgement generally doesn’t mature until then. The plus of this, again as already stated, is that it may provide the impetus for beer to be a more acceptable beverage of choice for women. Of the women I know who drink any alcohol at all (relatively few), only one really likes beer (and that’s not craft beer). The rest like white wines, spritzers, or the occasional sweet mixed drink.

  8. Wayne
    July 8, 2011 at 10:01 am #

    Hi folks; my apologies in advance for hijacking this thread to ask a question that can only be deemed remotely relevant to said thread.

    My question is: Is anybody seriously researching and brewing any of the old American Colonial smallbeers?

    I know DFH and some others have produced a lot of historical brews, but don’t recall any commercial ventures into early American brews. I’ve run across traditional smallbeers twice–once at Wiliamsburg with a beer based on molasses (tasted much like rum) and the second at the 2009 Maryland Microbrew Festival (they used a kitchen herb, possibly thyme, as the flavoring/bittering agent in this one–my son-in-law really liked it.) These early American brewers didn’t have access to hops and used a number of bittering agents to settle the lees. One in particular, ground ivy (aka gill-over-the ground, now a common lawn weed in the US) was regularly used (in fact it was brought over from Europe for just that purpose.) Ground Ivy is a fairly strong-scented herb in the catnip/mint family and would, I should think, impart a unique flavor to beer. I’m very interested in hearing of any attempt to replicate colonial brews.

    • July 8, 2011 at 10:12 am #

      I don’t think the qualify as “American Colonial smallbeers”, but Yards Brewery has a line of “Ales of the Revolution” supposedly based on recipes from Washington, Jefferson, and Franklin. Franklin’s is probably closest to what you’re looking for, as it’s relatively normal ABV (5%) and uses molasses and spruce (ingredients substituted for barley and hops during Colonial times). Washington and Jefferson’s beers are much stronger and use more traditional ingredients… They’re all pretty good beers too!

  9. July 8, 2011 at 10:49 am #

    Sorry. I was really busy yesterday. Here’s my take…

    You’re right for the most part. This is an appeal to the lowest common denominator and is quite insulting to women. Why can’t they just love beer that’s, well, beer? The name doesn’t bother me as much. It’s gimmicky and stupid, but I don’t think it’s sexist. Shazz (if that is her real name) is simply reclaiming the term “chick.”

    Still, I’d rather see makers of fine beer market to women and not in a sexist or stereotypical way. Why not put beefy men like the pinups a lot of breweries use on their labels? This would show that breweries are equal-opportunity and aren’t just an old boys’ club. Of course, that too is just superficial.

    The way to market to women is to appeal to the things they tend to like. Don’t dumb it down. I know that my wife and several of her friends prefer 5-6 ounces of beer as it fills them up. Why not bottle/can in smaller containers? A lot of women love chocolate (I totally recognize this is a stereotype, but stay with me). Why not market chocolate stouts and such? I know several women who are really into foods and pairing good wine with said foods. Focus marketing on food pairings, which a lot of craft breweries are doing these days.

    That all said, my wife is a Women’s and Gender Studies professor who likes Scotch and whiskey. Beer is too bitter, but she appreciates a good scotch ale, wit, or anything in the 12+% ABV range. Her music tastes are similarly narrow.

    Now, I’ll go back through the comments and see if I’ve repeated anything your very thoughtful readership has already covered. Also, thanks for keeping the post on the “PC” side of things. Your point is made more valid by not sinking to sexist remarks.

  10. Wayne
    July 8, 2011 at 2:55 pm #

    Thanks Mark, Yards is regional for me (I live in n. MD) so I should be able to get some samples. I’d like to do a beer-tasting party with these babies.

  11. July 21, 2011 at 3:59 pm #

    Don’t we already have enough of this drek with Bacardi Silver, Zima, etc? This is just terrible. Too bad there isn’t a catchy moniker to turn into something gross like Vagina Slimes (Virginia Slims). That would have been its one redeeming quality.

    • July 21, 2011 at 4:40 pm #

      Ha ha – once again you start strong and then it all goes sideways, Alex. love it!

  12. Elizabeth
    August 16, 2011 at 1:39 pm #

    Correct me if I’m wrong, but you are all men, commenting on a beer directed at women? As a woman who enjoys beer, I’m excited that there is a beer on the market that is geared towards me. Why NOT have a beer that is for women? I’m not in the least bit insulted that there is a beer called “Chick Beer” with a cute bottle (yes it’s CUTE) and fun packaging. I’m planning on serving this as parties, and I know that my friends would love the idea. I’m not insulted by Shazz’s packaging and I’m more likely to buy this beer over a beer that is so clearly produced for “guy’s that do guy’s things”. THAT deters me from trying a new beer, if I feel like I don’t belong to that “club”. I know women who don’t drink beer because they don’t know what to buy. If Chick Beer gets them to try beer, wouldn’t that be a good thing for the whole industry??? Being the first woman to comment on this thread I would just like to state, that I am not, I repeat NOT insulted by the name or marketing of this beer, but rather excited. And further more how is Chick beer insulting to women when there’s Bitch wine? When given the choice I’d rather to be called a “Chick girl” than a “Bitch girl”.

    • September 7, 2011 at 4:44 pm #

      “I know women who don’t drink beer because they don’t know what to buy.” And a marketing machine is telling them to buy something good or appropriate? They actually have groups and sites for women to learn about and better enjoy beer – I would recommend finding the styles and flavors that appeal to you rather then going for the packaging:

      Girlspintout.com
      Womenenjoyingbeer.com

      • Don
        September 7, 2011 at 4:49 pm #

        Good thoughts!

  13. G
    August 19, 2011 at 10:03 am #

    Has anyone tasted the beer or are you all just a bunch of sh!ttalkers that don’t like the label?

    • August 19, 2011 at 10:35 am #

      Shittalkers. :)

      • Don
        August 19, 2011 at 11:23 am #

        Yup.

  14. ForneyGirl1953
    September 27, 2011 at 5:25 pm #

    I would buy it if it comes to texas. Finally something that might taste good and not be manly tasteing. No im not gay i just dont like bitter tasting beer. Milder beer would be nice. Hope they make it to tx.

  15. janet
    September 27, 2011 at 7:03 pm #

    I live in pasadena md. and can not find the chick beer?Where do you get it?

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