There is a new brewery, with a new beer, made by women and for women and I could not be happier. Thank god that they finally have their own beer, because I’m tired of women getting their hormones in my man beer. I’m tired of their periods and their makeup and their high-heeled shoes ruining the man bars and manly man places that I go with my man friends to drink my manly man beer and talk about man stuff like trucks and carburetors and sports balls.
But seriously, there is a new “brewery” (it’s a brand really, as all their beer is contract brewed by Brew Hub in Lakeland, Florida), called High Heel Brewing, owned by Kristi McGuire, and making a beer for women called Slingback Perry Ale. Slingback is a 5.4 percent ABV beer with pear and passion fruit juice with spices. The package is pink and green.
I don’t want to be the dude upset about women breaking into the industry and taking our jobs, and I’m not, because I already know a lot of women brewers. High Heel Brewing feels pretty gross to me, because it undermines and insults all of the hard work other women are already doing. I’m not just saying that; here are some of the things they’re saying:
As a woman in the industry this whole brand is a giant slap in the face. I have put my blood sweat and tears into my career, not only for myself but for any other female who wants to follow her dreams but is worried about the boys club stigma. To have this [c-word] come into the scene and try to say there is a demand for segregation in beer is ass backwards. We need to be seen as equals.
Bess, brewer in Denver ———
Jodie, Denver area beer sales rep———
I have no doubt that High Heel Brewing meant only to offer a friendly and relatable product to traditionally feminine women. In doing so, though, they failed to realize how this product further isolates women from the general craft beer community. It undermines the efforts of other female brewers who strive solely to make decent product, without masking it in an incredibly narrow gender stereotype, and will make us be taken less seriously overall.
Erica, brewer in Durango———
And these are women brewing, selling, judging, marketing, and reviewing the beer I drink, so I don’t think they’ve “made it” in some “boys club.” No one invited them into the tree house, because there isn’t a tree house. They’re here on their own merit and because the craft beer movement doesn’t exclude or include someone because they grow a beard or don’t shave their legs or can throw a ball or walk in high heels or wear pink boots or have tattoos or live in the cool part of town or look a certain way.
All that matters is the beer.
And the women I know in the industry make really good beer. Their taste is impeccable. Their reviews are excellent (they use the best words). The last thing we need in this industry is division: special aisle for all the little pink bottles of chickbeer.
But marketing is a weird thing: Create a product, decide who the audience is, and try to sell the shit out of said product to said audience. Sometimes it makes sense to market things to women and not to men. Things like tampons, birth control and yeast infection medication are totally OK to market to women because it has to do with one’s genitals. It’s just not OK to market beer based on gender, because last time I checked, no one uses genitals to taste beer. My genitals don’t care what kind of hops are in my IPA, nothing is going to happen to my balls if the beer was made by or for a woman, or to quote Kaleigh Dunn’s fantastic essay on the topic in “The Growler”:
“Does that mean I have been drinking “dude beer” all along? Am I ruined because of it? Has it been hurting my delicate, flowery liver? WHAT WILL HAPPEN TO MY OVARIES BECAUSE I’VE BEEN DRINKING DUDE BEER?!”
Again, it’s all about the beer. It doesn’t matter who made it, but how.
Robert Alan Wendeborn puts the bubbles in the beer at Ska Brewing Company. His first book of poetry, “The Blank Target,” was published this past spring by The Lettered Streets Press and is available at Maria’s Bookshop. [email protected]