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American Beer Month
Getting women to try different beers

During American Beer Month 2002, four members of the majority gender in the country shared some of their beer knowledge with Real Beer. We concluded with a roundtable discussion led by Daria Labinsky.

Daria Labinsky: I can't get most of my sisters' friends to sample beyond Coor's Light (despite the brewery's blatantly sexist advertising). What can be done to change their minds?

Cornelia Corey: I suggest starting by debunking some of the myths that women repeat as reasons for not drinking beer.

"Beer makes me fat." Tell them Guinness draught has less calories and alcohol than Budweiser (it's always a shock). Give other examples of calorie counts. Talk about the snacking that often goes along with the beer. Remember - it's not the beer, it's the lifestyle.

"Beer fills me up too fast." One of the things I remember learning ages ago at Oldenberg Beer Camp was the need to have one's beer in a glass - let the CO2 fill the atmosphere, not the stomach.

"Beer is too bitter." Beer is as much an acquired taste as wine. Few people start out drinking red wine. Start beginners (men and women) with less aggressive beer styles so they can become better acquainted with beers without being overwhelmed.

Lisa Morrison: Send them to one of my SudSister's classes! The all-women classes are designed to help women find a few styles of beer they like, setting them on a path for their own discovery (we provide names of local brews that are similar in style to the ones they liked in the class).

In the two-hour class, we taste 10 different styles. In virtually every class, there is at least one woman who balks when we start tasting the dark beers. Once she tries them, though, she falls in love with those tall, dark and handsome brews. And each woman in class says she discovered a style she didn't know about before the class.

If you can't afford the airfare to Portland for the class (and you can't afford to fly ME to YOU), take the online Beer Tasting 101 class I put together here -- it's a fun way to do some beer exploration with friends.

Lucy Saunders: Try pouring tastes of several kinds of beer with a meal. Sometimes, just a sip is all it takes to change someone's mind... And, by offering multiple samples with a meal, it takes some of the pressure off - and in a relaxed setting, people are more likely to be open minded.

More topics
- Women beer drinkers and stereotypes
- Should women beer drinkers be treated differently?
- Do brewers still make "chick beers"?
- Are some people surprised to see women drinking beer?
- How can places be more welcoming to women?