Is beer really the exclusive domain of builders and ‘real’ men? Not in Belgium that’s for sure. According to a survey carried out among 1,000 Belgian women on behalf of VLAM (Flemish Centre for Agricultural and Fisheries Marketing) 60% of women feel that beer is as much a women’s drink as a man’s drink.
Forget cava and wine, beer can also be a woman’s drink according to the major beer survey carried out by the iVox market research agency and VLAM among 1,000 Belgian women aged between 25 and 54. One third of the women (33%) like to drink beer and 17% of them feel proud to be women who drink beer. What is striking is that most women – even those who don’t like beer – state very clearly that beer is as much a women’s drink as a men’s drink (62%).
Statements such as ‘It’s not feminine to drink beer’ are dismissed by 58% of respondents, and according to 43% of them, drinking beer can be a refined activity. Breweries also work very hard to promote that image: beer is increasingly served in attractive glasses, as an aperitif for instance in restaurants.
Beer for special moments
Almost all the women interviewed (89%), irrespective of whether they are beer lovers or not, are proud of Belgian beer. But who exactly are these beer loving women in Belgium? The VLAM survey reveals that they love life, are highly sociable and place a great deal of importance on conviviality. They see drinking beer as a special treat for a special occasion. They prefer to drink their glass of beer in good company and cafés come out as their favourite locations for this activity. Just under 40% of Belgian women can be found in a café having a drink at least once a month. Which is a considerably high number in Belgium.
And not just fruit beers
In terms of popularity, beer obtains a lower score than wine, soft drinks and hot drinks. But still, 33% of women like beer, lager, fruit beers or special beers. It is a misconception moreover that women only like fruit beers; that is actually only true of sporadic beer drinkers. Women who drink beer regularly are more likely to order a lager or a special beer. “If I want a normal beer, I’ll go for a Vedett or Passchendaele”, one beer lover told us. “And on more special occasions I’ll go for an Omer, Leffe, Grimbergen or Rochefort. They are a bit heavier, but then I’ll just have one.”
And what about the 49% of women who never drink beer? They describe the bitter flavour as the biggest obstacle to drinking beer. But they also find something to satisfy their (sweet) taste among the 1,000 and more Belgian beers on the market!
The Flemish Centre for Agricultural and Fisheries Marketing (VLAM) promotes locally grown products such as vegetables and fruit, fish and meat, bread and beer. At the beginning of 2014, it launched the national campaign ‘Proud of our beer’. The goal was to invite Belgians to show how proud they are of Belgian beer. Because as any Belgian with common sense will agree, not enough people proclaim their pride even though Belgian beer makes a very important contribution to our international reputation.