A feminist beer named Cerveja Feminista is being released, and my feelings are mixed. On one hand, I appreciate the message. The simple packaging of Cerveja Feminista symbolizes a protest against the typical sexist marketing of most beers. You know what I’m talking about: commercials where women are portrayed as prizes by men drinking the advertised beer of choice, or when the only women present are in bikinis or at bars ogling the male beer drinkers.
The beer is Brazilian, and creative director Thais Fabris explains, “The typical Brazilian beer ad – and we’re talking about big brands with big money here – shows a seminaked standard – beauty woman being harassed by men.” She claims even craft beers have jumped on board. “…Craft beers, which are also becoming more popular here, follow that path, with names like ‘Fatlicious’ or ‘Forbidden Lady.’”
So how does Cerveja Feminista set itself apart from the status quo? Well, for one thing, the packaging is dead simple. Fabris’s hope is that with ‘feminist’ printed on the bottle, people will have to talk about it. It reminds me a little of Starbucks’ short-lived ‘Race Together’ campaign, where baristas put “Race Together” on cups and were encouraged to engage in race-related conversation with their patrons. If you’re feeling awkward about the whole thing, you’re not alone.
Obviously, Cerveja Feminista differs from “Race Together” (or better yet, #RaceTogether) in a number of ways, but the marketing tactics do share something in common: profiting from a just intention, or a positive cause. There are definitely worse ways to make a buck. And, unlike #RaceTogether, the creators behind Cerveja Feminista seem to belong to the minority they are championing: women. So if this red ale is tasty and available in New York, I’ll probably serve it at a dinner party at one point. Because, again, I appreciate the message.
However, it’s important to note that this isn’t the only “feminist” booze out there just because the word feminista is printed on it. Plenty of brands, from big brand to craft, have women behind them. Many of them don’t use sexist advertising (or much formal advertising at all), and are organically feminist. A few examples: Uncouth Vermouth created and run by Bianca Miraglia, or, in terms of big brands, Wooford Reserve, whose Master Taster is Marianne Barnes. And a peek at the book “Whiskey Women” by Fred Minnick shows women are no strangers to the liquor biz.
So, while Cerveja Feminista is a cool idea, there are plenty of ways to drink like a lady. Cheers to my fellow booze babes.