Three ways to beat sexism in the beer industry, according to Wild Card brewer Jaega Wise
“Sexist” beer labels and pump clips should be banned from competitions organised by Campaign For Real Ale (CAMRA), according to the head brewer of Wild Card Brewery.
Speaking at the Brewers Congress in London on Monday, brewer Jaega Wise said she wanted to survey female drinkers to see what was and was not acceptable.
“There are a whole list of things the industry can do,” she said. Wise said she has come up with three practical ways to improve the status of women in the beer industry in 2018, including banning sexist beer labels, stricter advertising standards and a call for more information about female brewers.
1. More data
“Number one, we are calling on the Society of Independent Brewers (SIBA) for more information.” Wise said that, while SIBA routinely sends questionnaires out to brewers to get an overall view of the UK’s independent beer industry, more needs to be done to make sure women’s voices are heard.
“We would love to see more questions asked of brewers to try and get more information about women in beer. If we don’t have the statistics it is hard for us to take action.”
2. Codes of practice
Wise also spoke about the recent restructuring of advertising codes of practice in the US, calling for similar action in the UK, according to the Morning Advertiser.
“I would like to see a marketing an advertising code of practice,” Wise said. “(the US Brewers Association) has issued a code of practice that breweries sign up to and you commit to not using sexist branding in your company.”
The head brewer said a code of practice in the UK would provide a “practical and meaningful” way of enacting change that sticks.
3. Banning beer labels
Finally, Wise said that, in order to make sure independent brewers don’t fall into old habits, organisations such as CAMRA should lead by example, and called for “a ban on beers with sexist imagery and branding entering SIBA and CAMRA festival competitions.”
“I think this would quite quickly stop some of the smaller breweries from deciding to have branding with boobs on the front.”
Campaign groups have slowly begun to hit back at casual sexism in beer marketing in the UK and beyond.
Last month, beer enthusiasts from the group Ladies That Beer took to Twitter to call out an Italian microbrewery for the crude imagery on one of its beers, called “Deep Throat”.
Good Beer Hunting editor Matthew Curtis also weighed into the row, praising others for calling out “the idiots” behind the branding on Deep Beer’s Facebook page.
In his tweet, he included a screenshot from the page, which showed a member of London-based beer group Crafty Beer Girls asking if they believed the label was “funny and/or appropriate. Because it isn’t, it’s offensive.”
Larger firms have also faced backlash for “patronising” beer branding in a bid to advertise to women.
Abigail Newton, a member of CAMRA’s National Executive, told the drinks business that the organisation fully backed Wise’s calls for a top-down approach to tackling sexism.
“Brewers should take responsibility for ensuring they don’t market beer in a discriminatory way,” she said.
“Industry publications should consider what advertising they do and don’t take. Industry organisations such as SIBA, or consumer organisations such as CAMRA also have a part to play and can apply pressure, but it’s more powerful with cross-industry support.
Newton said that CAMRA are working towards a “proactive” solution to discrimination in the industry, and suggested a new code of practice could be rolled out in 2018.
“The Manchester Beer and Cider Festival has been trialling a proactive approach to discourage brewers from using discriminatory marketing material and our volunteers have taken action at any of our festivals when offensive material, or behaviour, has been drawn to their attention.
“CAMRA’s National Executive has been looking at this issue for several months with a view to taking best practice developed by individual branches and festivals and turning it into national policy and guidance which we hope to be rolling out in the New Year.
“We already have a charter and a code of conduct detailing our commitment to inclusivity and diversity and the treatment and behaviour we expect to be shown between volunteers and fellow volunteers and towards visitors at our events.”