Beer: Not Just For Bubba Anymore

Female beer drinkers have a strong affinity for fruit and citrus
beer and lipstick

Beer marketers, take note: Fifty-four percent of women say they purchased beer at retail for o­ff-premise consumption in the past 30 days. This might seem like an obvious statement, but it needs to be said: That’s more than half of all women who come into your store. Those are pretty good odds.

“This is a huge opportunity for the beer industry,” says Donna Hood Crecca, associate principal for Chicago-based Technomic.

So what’s a brand gotta to do to get the ladies’ attention?

“That’s the real challenge today—being an equal-opportunity beer marketer,” Crecca says. “Focusing on ... attributes such as flavor profile, origins and backstory, production processes and ingredients are crucial.”

While both men and women enjoy consuming a variety of beer types, flavor is more popular among the latter. “Women overindex on flavored malt beverage (FMB) consumption (by 10 points),” says Crecca. “Many of the FMB flavors are based in popular cocktails and popular flavors such as berry, fruit and citrus, all of which appeal to women.”

Popular FMB lines include Mike’s Hard Lemonade and Bud Light’s Lime-A-Rita. Mike’s last year introduced Palm Breeze, a “sparkling alcohol spritz” the company says is “designed specifically to appeal to the 11 million millennial women that annually drink more than 13 million cases of flavored malt beverages.”


Amount of women who have purchased beer at retail for off-premise consumption in the past 30 days

Source: Technomic

But FMBs aren’t necessarily a slam-dunk with the female consumer. Only one-quarter of women report drinking hard cider or flavored malt beverages at home once a month or more, while two-fifths of women report drinking domestic beer (regular or light) that often and nearly two-fifths say the same for imported beer, according to Technomic.

Looking to appeal to men and women? The hard-soda trend, which has sprouted entries such as MillerCoors’ Henry’s Hard and Anheuser-Busch’s Best Damn Root Beer, could be the answer.

“These hard sodas are fairly gender neutral in their positioning and marketing,” Crecca says. “They’re targeting consumers interested in a unique flavor experience and alternative to existing products.”