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Monday, September 26, 2011

Chick Beer

Greetings, Citizens!
Some hullabaloo has been generated regarding Chick Premium Light Beer.  What are your reactions?  We at the Ferment Nation asked our readers and they have spoken their minds.  Some reactions are kind of funny, and some are kind of gritty.  I expected nothing less.  I will offer my thoughts as well, but the reactions will mostly speak for themselves.

Part 1 of the series will explore reactions from our the Ferment Nation's Facebook followers as well as my (Owen McCuen) personal friends.  Part 2 of this series will focus on reactions from our Twitter followers.  They were generous in providing candid commentary, and will be acknowledged by way of a post that includes a Storify collection.  Part 3 will be mostly editorial, with my views peeking through as I explore my own thoughts on the subject of Chick Beer.  As always, we welcome your input and comments however you choose to deliver them: Comment on the blog post, comment on Facebook, respond on Twitter, or email president@fermentnation.com.  Thanks and Cheers!

So I posed a question to my craft beer drinking friends who are women.  Notice the order I've placed those characteristics in, by the way: Craft beer drinking (a personal choice, indicative of good taste); friends (again, a personal choice, but in this case indicative of dubious taste); women (not exactly a choice, but they wear it with gusto).  The question that went out to my friends and Ferment Nation's readers went like this:

Attn Female Friends: What are your feelings on "chick beer," "chick flicks," and similar terms? Do you find it cute? Insulting? Neither? Does it depend on intention? Also, may I quote your answer (naming you or anonymously, please indicate) for an upcoming article? If you're wondering where we're going with this, you may want to investigate http://chickbeer.com/

I tried to allow for positive and negative reactions alike, and included a link to Chick's site that would allow readers to investigate for themselves.  Let's go to my personal friends first, and we'll start with the most visceral: 

Kelly Braidwood Froio Haven't tried it but the idea makes me want to gag

Brigita O'Riordan So, wait...all those other beers I've been drinking all my life aren't for...women? The horror! But then I've never identified as a "chick," so it's not like this is being marketed to me. 

It's for the ladies that want to do stuff "like" guys--"watch" sports, drink "beer," etc--while still maintaining a safe distance. They *aren't* guys, they're still attractive! Feminine! F*ckable! Good thing I never cared much about any of that nonsense. ;)

Maria Freiburger Eisl No no no - this is insulting. Sorry Chick Beer - I can handle a real beer. Watered down beer isn't my thing. Give me a Double Bag any day. I will run off the calories. PSEUH!

So far, the idea of "chick beer" as embodied by Chick Beer doesn't seem to sit well with enthusiastic #craftbeer drinkers.  But after some consideration, it seems as though if any beer is good, maybe it's worth a shot.  Let's look closer:

Maria Freiburger Eisl Owen - I guess my take is this ... would anyone market a "MAN BEER" with a meeelion calories? Good beer is good beer. Pretend beer is what it is. Let us all consume and enjoy.

Maribeth Rafter I agree with Maria...good beer is good beer. I don't necessarily taste a beer because of the packaging. I read the description and take a sip. I'd try this if it were in front of me, but I highly doubt I'd be going out searching for a place that sells it.

Heather Gordon I am all for a good light beer - it has its place in the market and I would drink it on a hot summer day but I think the name is ridiculous, I know as many guys who drink light crap light beer as women do. That being said - I would be more likely to buy and try if it were called "b!t@h" beer - kind of like fat bastard wine. 

Anne Niebler Reminds me of my favorite New Glarus Brewing Co. (founded by a woman) bumper sticker: "Real women don't drink light beer." But, truth be told, if someone asked me to taste test a chickbeer on a hot day with no hop-enhanced beers in sight, I wouldn't turn up my nose. But I speak for myself only.

Sounds like the saving grace of Chick Beer isn't the packaging or the marketing strategy, but it could be the beer itself.  As we'll discuss in the third installment of this series, light session brews are not unwelcome in the coolers and beer fridges of true #craftbeer aficionados.  But another brand seems to be a favorite of my friends...

Wendi Steines Marchesani ahhh no thanks...I like Magic Hat brand actually (and ironically the flavor called Circus BOY lol)....

Jeannine Olivo loves me some Magic Hat...thoroughly enjoyed the Night of the Living Dead variety pack...
Thanks, 2beerguys, for the above image.

Here is an insightful look at the carb angle:

Lynn Potenza Will it sell? Probably for the novelty of it for "Chicks" that want to "try something different", "Light", and not into beer so much. Hence MGD 64, and those types. Is it necessary? I don't think so. Not a lot of calories or carbs, but A LOT of GOOD craft beer isn't bad either. I only know as far as Weight Watchers Points for example, St. Bernardus Abt is less points than the "light" MGD 64 type beers. There is not a lot of fat if any in beer. Not saying it is good for you , but you get my point. For "Beer Ladies" I think it isn't necessary, just a novelty.

Oh, and the name... I am not easily offended so I am not. I just think the name is silly and they probably could have come up with something better. :)

That was a nifty bit of research, Lynn.  Your point is well taken; No beer really serves as a weight-control miracle shake, so why not drink something you enjoy?  And as we've previously mentioned, Chick Beer may actually be enjoyable.  At the time of this writing, it is only available in Maryland, so it may be tricky to find in my neck of the woods, namely the South Jersey/Philadelphia area.  But in the interest of fair and balanced reportage (actually fair and balanced, unlike, well, you know...) I promise to review Chick Beer just as soon as I get my hands on some.

And now let's look at some reactions from Ferment Nation's Facebook page:

Michelle Filling There's no way I would buy this beer. I can already hear the mocking comments coming from men if I had a "chick beer" in my hand. Want to drink an adult beverage that is gendered as feminine? Pick up a fruity martini. They seem to be trying to play off the Skinny Girl Margaritas and Sangria success-- but the difference is that those low-cal products are poured into glasses...you don't have to stand around with a badly labeled drink.

Thanks, Michelle.  We will see in Part 2 of this series that some Twitter responses echo this sentiment in a way that is more specific to beer, namely recommendations of sours and barleywines since they are packed with flavor.  Nevertheless, it seems that the packaging of Chick Beer isn't doing the beer's image any favors.  Isn't the presentation of a beverage important?  The label?  The glass?  The color?  The head?  The bubbles? Yes, they are important.  And Michelle seems to regard the appearance of a beverage as a factor in deciding whether or not to drink it.  Don't we all?

Rick Andrews, Crypt Keeper from Ales From the Crypt, though not a woman, has tied our discussion of marketing together with his insights:
Rick Andrews Bring on "The Most Interesting Woman in the World" quotes.

Agreed, Rick.  I actually enjoy a Dos Equis from time to time, but I really get a kick out of their spokesman.  Of course, the advertising budget may have something to do with the success of the campaign.

Thanks to all of my friends and readers who responded with their thoughts and feelings on the subject of Chick Beer and the brew's marketing strategy.  Don't forget to stay tuned for parts 2 and 3 of this series.  As always, the Ferment Nation values the opinions of its citizens, so drop us a line!

But before we go, let's revisit my friend Jeannine.  Her quote is absolutely priceless.  I thought about making it the title of this article, but I thought it would give the whole thing a twist that readers may not be able to recover from:

Jeannine Olivo Wait, are we supposed to douche with it?

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