Opportunity: Sell suds to women
Efforts to market beer to women typically fall into two camps: the patronizing and the non-existent. We've all seen the steady stream of guy-focused beer commercials over the years. Most treat women as bystanders, arm candy, sex objects or shrews. And that's if they even manage to emerge from the deep focus of a background shot. Is it really too much to ask if we suggest that once in a while they air a woman-centric commercial? Maybe a group of young, professional women kicking back cold ones at a pub in defiance of the stereotype that it's all about Cosmopolitans and wine? Molson Coors ( TAP) recently launched a brand in the U.K. and Ireland called Animee that is marketed directly toward women and comes in three varieties: "clear filtered, crisp rose and zesty lemon." Setting its sights on U.S. beer drinkers is Chick Beer, which comes in a pink six-pack holder and pledges that it will donate "5% of its profits to charities that empower women." Its Web site tackles the question of whether it is "sexist," although it does so with a twist on the word:
"We probably are, in that we are clearly not designed for men. Sorry guys, but you have hundreds of choices that are made for you. What we think is sexist is that the beer industry has totally ignored the female beer drinking market, which drinks 25% of all the beer consumed in the United States -- over 700 million cases every year! Yet the beer industry has always focused on creating and marketing beer to men. Just take a look at the packaging and ad campaigns of the brands out there. Seriously, who are we to tell you what you should drink -- especially when there is already a community of snarky bloggers trying to do exactly that? At Chick, we believe that women are fully capable of choosing what they want to drink."So why should Budweiswer ( BUD) take heed of these efforts? From 2005 to 2010, Budweiser had a 30% decline in sales. In fact, nearly half of the best-selling U.S. beer brands have seen double-digit sales drops (in part caused by the spike in popularity of craft beers). From a marketing standpoint, women are an untapped and potentially profitable demographic. A Gallup poll asked men and women their preferred drink. For men, 54% said beer, 17% said wine and 22% said liquor. Among women, 48% said wine, 21% said liquor and 27% said beer. A look by age, however, reveals an opportunity to sell more suds to younger women. Among women ages 18-39, the gap between wine and beer was narrower, 39% compared with 35%. It is women over 50 who skew the stats, preferring wine to beer 58% to 18%.