Chick Beer was made especially for ‘you and your vagina’

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Pink-bottled, low-calorie suds brew controversy over marketing

Anna Zoria
Ubyssey (University of British Columbia)

VANCOUVER (CUP) — Ladies, we all know that after a long day, there’s nothing more refreshing than a beer, or two or three, with some friends. But why, you might ask, are none of the beers out there made for ladies? Molson, Kokanee, Guinness, Sleeman’s: they’re all just so, well, manly. Sigh.

Enter Chick Beer: a new kind of beer that’s made just for you and your vagina. It comes in a pink bottle, so that you can instinctively be drawn to it at the liquor store. and is low in calories and carbs. so that you can now consider having dressing with that salad.

The company slogan, “Witness the Chickness,” is done in a sophisticated Curlz MT font over the image of a little black dress on the label. And if that doesn’t sound like your Grade 3 lunchbox already, did I mention that the six-pack is designed to look like a purse?

The Spice Girl power doesn’t stop there. The beer is also less carbonated so that you won’t feel “bloated” or, god forbid, burp. It also has a milder, sweeter taste. To recap: if you’re still considering that liquid bread, known as regular beer, you should also seriously think about getting a sex change.

All joking aside, it is undeniable that the founder of Chick Beer, Shazz Lewis, tapped into a niche market when she decided to make a beer “just for women.” While anyone who’s ever seen a beer commercial can tell you that the advertising is largely geared towards the male consumer, research shows that 25 per cent of all beer in the U.S. is bought by women. But is putting a light lager into a pink bottle really helping bridge that gap?

Lewis said that from the start she knew that the uber-feminine packaging would garner some criticism. But she insisted that Chick Beer sends a positive message.

“The women who embrace Chick Beer are self-assured, confident and powerful,” Lewis said. “They believe that fun and sexy are positive traits, they embrace their femininity, and are bold enough to understand that a word like ‘chick’ can’t hold them back.”

This type of argument, however, falls short when we consider what femininity in the year 2011 actually means. If we constrain it to all things pink, girly, and Sex and the City, aren’t we trivializing femininity?

Scott Anderson, a University of British Columbia philosophy professor who specializes in gender, agreed that “the use of derogatory and diminishing stereotypes to categorize women tends to reinforce a sense that women enjoy being treated in ways that are sexualized and unserious.”

But Lewis does not seem to be fazed by the feminists.

“Real progress requires dissent. We never expected everyone to like the Chick Beer concept,” she said. “Name any concept – even something as accepted as the iPod or democracy – and I can show you some people who simply hate it.

“It would have been easy to make a quiet little beer for women that would have met with both universal approval and universal disregard. We chose to go another route.”

While it is debatable that a beer that looks like a Sophie Kinsella novel is bringing progress to the feminist cause, Lewis does touch on a viable marketing point. By being modestly provocative, the young company has managed to garner a substantial amount of publicity.

Though the responses have not been entirely positive, in its mere eight weeks of existence, Chick Beer has caused quite a stir in the press and has been featured on two of America’s three major morning news shows.

Sauder School of Business chair of marketing Darren Dahl said that, while the company could have chosen to present the product with a bit more class, “Often in marketing you’re not trying to get all the customers, you’re trying to get a segment that will make your organization viable. You may piss off a bunch of people in doing that, but those are not the people you are interested in.”

True, Chick Beer never claimed to appeal to all women. And if there is such a huge demand for this beer, then maybe our next step should be to develop some Forever Alone PMS Chocolate and tap into a whole new segment of Carrie Bradshaws.

At the end of the day, though, beer is beer. Women, just like men, enjoy it for its taste, body, and strength. To assume that what women drinkers look for in a beer is mild taste and a low calorie count only further reinforces the idea that real beer is for men.

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