I am meant to be working on something serious for The Guardian, but given that I also wrote this: http://www.guardian.co.uk/lifeandstyle/wordofmouth/2011/jul/19/lager-for-ladies-again for guardian.co.uk earlier in the week you will hopefully understand – and be glad – that I have been distracted by Pete Brown’s tweet about cask ale’s reputation problem in terms of female customers.
“Beyond rape puns, broader perusal of pump clip parade makes sobering viewing for those who think cask ale is successfully attracting women” was what Pete tweeted, so I paid the site a visit and was soon greeted with this monstrosity (and I hope Mick Potts who apparently contributed the pic to the site will forgive me for reproducing it):
It reminded me of how disgusted I was when I saw this in the local JDW a few weeks ago.
Pete Brown is right. You don’t need to be a card-carrying, banner waving, feminist to not only be put off trying real ale but made to feel bloody uncomfortable when you’re up at the bar if there’s a pump clip like that staring you in the face while you’re ordering your drink.
Think about it, given that the pub is probably the best place to go if you want to find large numbers of inebriated men and that their inhibitions (or manners) about leering lecherously at female customers will probably have gone out of the window after their third bottle of alcopop, is it really sensible, let alone ethical, to provide them with a visual prompt, prop and excuse to act on their drunken impulses? And, without wanting to get too serious on my beer blog, what might happen when accosted woman rebuffs the comments of drunken, leering man asking her if she fancies some Hanky Panky? It does not bear thinking about.
If you are a brewer who has sunk to the depths of making a joke at the expense of half the population to sell your beer, firstly you should be ashamed of yourself and secondly, maybe you should wake up and realise that you are alienating your potential customers. Until all those involved in making, selling and promoting beer realise this, I can’t see how we’re ever going to persuade the majority of women that beer is the drink for them.
- For those who don’t already know Pumpclip Parade, it describes itself thus: “Aesthetic Atrocities From The World Of Beer. We love the stuff, but bloody hell, some brewers should be tied up in hop pockets and beaten with malt-shovels.” Have a look at the site and contribute your own pumpclip horrors here: http://pumpclipparade.blogspot.com/