updated 14 Apr 2014, 08:00
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Breaking beer glass ceiling
by Germaine Lim

THEY say women don’t get beer.

The bitter aftertaste and that it causes bloatedness aren’t exactly sexy.

Then there’s the “beer belly” rumour.

Still, it’s not just men who are singing to each World Cup goal with a chorus of clicking beer-can tabs.

Women are also toasting to the refreshing, crisp taste of ice cold beer – but for different reasons.

A free beer clinic will be held at this year’s Beerfest Asia, which begins today, just for the women.

At this free 45-minute session, participants will get to taste 10 styles of beer like cider, English ale and lager.

The clinic will be conducted twice daily today and tomorrow by a brewmaster and is limited to the first 50 women.

Festival director Edward Chia told The New Paper: “Beer has always been marketed to male drinkers. It’s time to pay attention to the women drinkers.”

Having beer with friends is an occasion for one to have unbridled, raucous enjoyment, research executive Clarice Sim, 25, said.

“It’s not like wine or whisky, which, I think, makes you feel that you have to be well behaved,” she added.

Paulaner Brauhaus general manager Alex Buchner said the German microbrewery has seen a 25 per cent increase in the number of female beer drinkers in the last six years.

Another microbrewery, Brewerkz, has recorded a 10 per cent increase in female beer drinkers in the last two years, managing director Devin Kimble said.

Beer belly fear

Still, male beer drinkers easily outnumber the women.

When The New Paper visited Brewerkz and Paulaner Brauhaus one Friday evening, men were the predominant drinking force.

So why aren’t there more female beer converts when so many breweries are keenly wooing them?

Because beer gives you the, well, infamous beer belly, some women said.

While beer is her booze of choice, Miss Jolene Tan, a 25-year-old graduate student, said not many of her friends share her preference.

“I think most of my friends don’t like beer because of its bitterness and it makes you bloated. The stereotype that it is a man’s drink is definitely part of the issue.

It also has a ‘fatty’ image.”

That’s not true, Mr Buchner and Mr Kimble protest.

According to them, a glass of beer contains about the same number of calories as orange juice of similar measure.

There are 42kcal in 100ml of pale lager, compared to 76 kcal in 100ml of wine.

That actresses usually drink cocktails, not beer, in movies, also doesn’t help in promoting the latter as a woman’s drink, businesswoman Deidre Foo, 33, pointed out.

Distributors are hoping the availability of beers that cater to women’s palates may change that.

Beerfest Asia will feature more fruit beers like an apple lambic ale ($6), and a raspberry and wheat beer ($6) at this year’s week-long festival.

There’s even a chocolate stout ($30), which is made from pure, bittersweet Belgian chocolate.

Dessert, anyone?

Beerfest Asia’s Mr Chia said: “When you see more of such beers at an event like ours, which exhibits beers, you know that breweries are placing more importance on female drinkers.

“Brews like lychee beer ($8) are obviously targeted at women.”

But the availability of fruit beers and dessert-like stout isn’t likely to move purists like Miss Tan, Miss Sim and guest relations officer Dorothy Neo.

Miss Neo, 26, doesn’t like sweet cocktails and prefers her beer “straight up”.

Miss Tan reckons more of her girlfriends will be keen to try when they learn of fruit beers.

“Maybe after they get used to the taste of beer, they can move over to the ‘real’ stuff,” she added.


This article was first published in The New Paper.

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