Close Menu

Reasons why women like drinking beer with other women

Women feel “judged” by others and face “a gendered stigma” when out drinking beer, according to new research.

Speaking exclusively to the drinks business, beer sommelier and Dea Latis co-founder Annabel Smith said: “In a previous Dea Latis report – The Beer A-Gender – which conducted several focus groups, we discovered that many women felt ‘judged’ by others if they were drinking beer in a social setting, especially in a mixed group of men and women. They felt people would look at them, formulate opinions about the type of person they were, and there was a gendered stigma about women drinking beer. They also felt spectacularly uninformed and unconfident about beer styles, especially in the presence of male drinkers.”

Describing the barriers to women drinking beer, Smith told db that there were situations where women’s choices and preferences had been dictated by men when ordering beer and that this has had a knock on effect on female consumers. She explained: “I recall watching a couple walk into my local pub and the man asked for a couple of taster samples of the cask ales. He tried them, then said to his female partner “you’d like that one”, ordered it for her and then ordered something completely different for himself.”

According to Smith, much of the Dea Latis report findings over the years have shown that “in a mixed group, it has also been suggested that the style of beer a woman orders says something about her values, morals and ethics”. For instance, “a woman drinking an imperial stout or a double IPA is a kick ass, takes no shit type of chick, her cultural legitimacy in the eyes of men is high, but her gender capital is diminished. In other words, she becomes de-feminised in a mixed group. A woman who drinks a fruit beer or a flavoured lager with a wedge of lime in it has little cultural legitimacy and her gender capital goes up amongst men. Therefore women can’t win when drinking beer with male friends or in a mixed group – whatever they order, it will be the wrong type of beer.”

Smith outlined that “this changes considerably when women are drinking beer together” because “they don’t view the beer they’re drinking in the context of cultural legitimacy. They’re in a safe space, they’re not being judged on their gender capital, and it gives them the freedom to like – or dislike – types of beer without a patriarchal system or agenda”.

She added: “They are comfortable, confident and unafraid of ‘getting it wrong’. This is why we included ‘patience and persistence’ as one of our manifesto points. Changing this cultural perception of women drinking beer, and breaking the stigma is going to take time and effort.”

It looks like you're in Asia, would you like to be redirected to the Drinks Business Asia edition?

Yes, take me to the Asia edition No