Beam to target women in marketing switch

Beam has recognised the need to target more female consumers with its marketing campaigns.

After 216 years of marketing almost exclusively to the male drinks market, the spirits company is introducing three new products: Courvoisier Cognac infused with red wine, Pucker vodka and low-calorie Skinnygirl cocktails in an effort to woo more women drinkers to its products.

Beam first noticed the opportunities present in the female market in 2009 after the company launched Red Stag – a black cherry-infused Jim Beam bourbon.

Despite the drink’s masculine name and being pitched by the rapper Kid Rock, it mostly attracted females, who bought the sweeter concoction almost three times as much as they typically bought bourbon, according to the company.

Beam began to investigate this phenomenon. “We wanted to understand the emotional reasons women drink wine or spirits,” said global chief marketing officer, Kevin George. “While women make up almost half of spirits drinkers, they consume just a quarter of the volume sold”

Beam’s Sauza Tequila brand also benefited from the switch to marketing towards women, with George adding: “About 57% of all the Tequila sold in the US is mixed in margaritas, two-thirds of those margaritas are consumed by women.”

Sauza began a marketing campaign based on the idea of a “ladies night in”, hosting at-home margarita parties and advertising on the Food Network. Sauza teamed up with restaurants to create what they called “Sauzaritas”

“All the other Tequila marketers were focusing on men” added George.

“Two years ago, 100% of our marketing was geared to men. We weren’t talking to women in any specific way.”

George said that when they focused on the female market, “it was a shot occasion, it was spring break”.

Due to their success, Beam recently bought Skinnygirl Cocktails, created by American reality TV personality Bethenny Frankel. She designed the drink to contain only 100 calories per serving, attracting women wishing to avoid the calories of a typical 480-calorie restaurant margarita.

Early next year, Beam will be introducing a new line of chocolate liqueurs called “Crave”. The drink will blend flavours such as mint, chilli pepper and cherry.

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