Taking a Stand Against Sexist Beers
Panty Peeler. Phat Bottom. And all the unfortunate beers that use the color of a woman’s hair that also coordinate with a beer style—Blonde, Amber—and take a large bra size to create a name. As equality fights are raging on a number of different fronts, there are still breweries and beers that are well behind the times.
At the annual Craft Brewers Conference last year the Brewers Association held a press conference. There, leaders and division heads of the group that represents and is composed of “small and independent” brewers rolled out good news about growth, new initiatives and some warnings on what “big beer” could do to the industry and consumers.
During questioning by members of the media, the writer Bryan Roth (who tackles a different version of this topic in our March issue) posed a question about diversity. What is the BA doing, he asked, to make small brewers more aware and supportive of “inclusivity and diversity, whether that’s race, ethnicity or gender identity?”
What followed was a number of statements from BA employees that ranged from economic to geographical, to celebratory of the industry, with a nod toward needed progress. Since then, the group has stated publicly it has intentions to research gender and race in the industry and how it can do better in regard to fairness and attention.
Inclusion and equality don’t get discussed in open forums enough, and these are topics we’ve been thinking about here at the magazine for quite some time. Specifically, the way some breweries view and depict women in beer names and on labels.
This isn’t a new issue. It’s been simmering below the surface for quite some time, with only the occasional bubble-up. Some take to the internet to express outrage; others shrug it off. Still others criticize the critics. However, as the national political conversation centers on how women are treated in society these days—to say nothing of the xenophobia, racism and homophobia permeating so much of everyday American life—it would be wrong not to stand up and join in a call to action.
How, in an age of progress, technology and enlightenment are breweries still releasing and producing beers with demeaning names like Once You Go Black or Panty Dropper? Or just skipping over the suggestions of getting a woman drunk for the purposes of sex and heading right to the name Date Grape. To be fair, the last one was a crowdsourced name solicited by MobCraft. When alerted to the name, it was immediately pulled, and the Milwaukee-based brewer apologized and promised to put editorial checks and balances into place to avoid future embarrassment and hurt.
This is still a male-dominated industry, both in terms of its employees and its customers. The jocular attitude that women are somehow beneath men or simply objects, however, is something that should have been eradicated a long time ago.
This magazine exists to cover the beer industry in all its forms. We also have a social responsibility to stand up against anything that demeans our fellow citizens, regardless of gender, religion, sexual orientation and race.
We will not be quiet about this important issue. We want to do our part so that the next generation of beer drinkers can focus on the fun, the flavorful and the future. Beers that demean women or promote rape culture will not be reviewed or promoted in this magazine or on AllAboutBeer.com.
This isn’t anything new for us. Beer names that fall into poor taste—except when newsworthy—have largely been kept out of these pages and our online reviews. We see no benefit in rewarding juvenile behavior, and often the names in poor taste were there to distract from poor beer. This is a topic we will continue to tackle—head-on—both in person and in our coverage. Demeaning or objectifying women has no place in society or on beer labels.
Editor’s Note: This editorial appears in the March issue of All About Beer Magazine.
John is the editor of All About Beer Magazine and the author of three books, including The American Craft Beer Cookbook. Find him on Twitter @John_Holl.