The Beer Industry Is Taking Strides To Stamp Out Sexist Advertising, And It’s About Time

Sexist names and imagery have finally been banned from the Great British Beer Festival.

by Georgia Aspinall |

Ever fancied a swift, cold pint on a sunny afternoon only to be met with an array of beers that make your skin crawl? Ale named ‘Knicker-Mocha-Muffdive’ or ‘Leg Spreader’, lager with pictures of doll-like women bent over on the front, even opting for a cider – which yes, technically isn’t beer – you can be met with slogans like ‘Slack Alice Cider: A Little Tart’.

Despite making up more than 50% of the market for people who consume alcoholic beverages, only 17% of women actually drink beer. And sexist advertising like this is one of many, many reasons why. In fact, according to a YouGov pole, 68% of female drinkers said they would be ‘unlikely to buy’ a beer if the advertising was offensive or ‘laddish’.

But now, that’s all about to change – at least, if the Campaign for Real Ale (Camra) has anything to do with it. Finally, after 42 years of hosting the Great British Beer Festival, Camra has decided that sexist advertising will be banned. That means any beers with offensive names or imagery will be tossed out according to their new code of conduct.

‘It’s hard to understand why some brewers would actively choose to alienate the vast majority of their potential customers with material likely to only appeal to a tiny and shrinking percentage,’ said Abigail Newton, vice-chair of Camra’s national executive, ‘This is the first time we’ve made such a bold statement with a ban.’

More than 1000 beers, ciders and perries have been put through their paces before being admitted to the festival, with Camra also appointing Stonewall as their charity of choice for collections throughout the week.

The move is part of an increasing focus to remove sexist and offensive sentiment within the brewery and beer industries. In fact, last year the Society of Independent Brewers (Siba) made a new code of conduct in this same vein – banning offensive marketing from appearing on beers that were part of the society.

Unsurprisingly, there has been backlash. ‘There’ll soon be no humour left in the world,’ one Twitter user responded to the news. ‘More left wing bellendery. My Camra membership is now cancelled,’ another added, with a third replying ‘the infection is spreading far & wide.’

Of course, these exist within a sea of celebrations from women and men alike whom agree sexist and offensive marketing not only isolates women from drinking the beverage but also perpetuates a misogynist environment in pubs.

Considering Stella Artois was known as the wife beater for decades due to its high alcohol percentage being linked with binge drinking and subsequent violence towards women, it’s high time these attitudes are stamped out of the beer and pub industry.

Women should be able to enter a pub without fear of violence, harassment or ridicule and this ban can only better that cause. Honestly, it’s about time.

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