It’s 2017 and we still see beer brands using a warped image of masculinity to market their beer.
The news that Hobo Brewing, a beer brand owned by VOK Beverages, is launching beer for the “Modern Man” astonished me. When will breweries and beer labels learn that solely targeting men effectively halves their potential customer base?
And when will they realise that it’s just a plain stupid thing to do? Anything that actively excludes women is wrong regardless of your thoughts on its efficacy as a marketing strategy.
This image of a “Modern Man”, with its peculiar aesthetic, is also total rubbish. It perpetuates a warped sense of masculinity that isn’t helpful for beer’s image or society in general. Plus it just patronises the people who are expected to buy the beer.
The launch of the Hobo Brewing brand follows closely on the back of Lion announcing their Iron Jack beer, a beer marketed as so uber-masculine that Matt Kirkegaard of Australian Brews News labelled it as “almost homo-erotic”.
The branding is ridiculous in its exaggeration of masculinity, with the lumberjack-cum-fisherman-cum-man of action image it portrays.
Lion has enough budget for market research that they must have identified a target demographic that wants to emulate this butch and overcompensating caveman aesthetic.
It saddens me if this section of the beer drinking population does exist. Anyone with an ounce of intelligence or decency should be doing whatever they can to stamp out this idea of male identity which is both utterly pointless and potential damaging within the industry and wider society.
Beer still has, in places, an image problem. While the concept of the “lager lout” has died off in the last few years, beer is still too frequently associated with undesirable behaviour.
Craft and independent beer has done a lot of work to try and rectify this. While there have been aberrations in places, a lot of people have put in hard graft to elevate the concept of beer in people’s minds and open it up to a wider audience.
While this issue is more important than any notion of craft vs corporate, these far-reaching and heavily marketed beers, that focus their identity on this destructive idea of masculinity, only serve to undo all that hard work with a devastating and short-sighted clumsiness.
Excluding Women = Sexism
Perhaps there’s an argument that returning beer’s image to the status quo suits large multinational brewers. But those same companies will claim a commitment to social responsibility. Is it socially responsible to perpetuate an outdated and limiting notion of masculinity and to actively exclude women?Is it socially responsible to perpetuate an outdated notion of masculinity and to actively exclude women? Click To Tweet
The exclusion of women is an enormous problem that beer is fighting against. While liberally minded, craft beer drinking blokes like me can bemoan the lack of nuance in the depiction of men, there’s often nothing for women to identify with in the beer world.
Men are unchallenged in being able to enjoy a beer in comfort without being patronised, or worse, harassed. Women should have the same opportunity. This pervasive and exaggerated image of male brute-strength must be off-putting at best for women who want to enjoy beer.Men are unchallenged in being able to enjoy a beer in comfort... Women should have the same opportunity. Click To Tweet
Excluding women is sexist. The issue of it limiting a consumer base and negatively impacting beer’s reputation is one thing, saying “sorry girls, this is just for blokes” is something far more damaging. It needs to be addressed. It needs to be fixed. That should start with the breweries that have the ability and reach to do something about it.
VOK, Lion (and others), you’re lowering the tone. Do better!