Beer and Other Four-Letter Words

Please note that if there are statistics in this or any other post on my blog, they’ll be in the ballpark, but they will almost definitely be made up. I’m a designer. I don’t do numbers. If you want accurate statistics, go see my friend Chris. He’ll probably make you a spreadsheet.

So. Let’s talk beer.

I assume that if you drink craft beer and don’t live in a cave, you’ve heard by now about the Clown Shoes incident. If not, you’ll find a much better summary than I could give here. Go ahead. I’ll wait.

Done? Okay, great. Did you take a good look at the labels? You probably fall into one of two camps. Camp 1: you see them and think, “Heh. Beer label art. Wonder how the beer is?” Camp 2: you see them and think, “OMG, I am totally offended! I would never drink that beer because they clearly objectify women, and the word Lubrication is just icky! That artist is a male chauvinist pig! What time is The Bachelor on?”

Tell you what. If you’re in Camp 2, please do both of us a favor and just check out here, okay? Because I’m pretty sure you’re in the wrong place. Try this instead (more on that later). Thanks.

Okay, Camp 1. Back to business. Way I see it, the reason we drink craft beer is because we appreciate the variety. We’re fascinated by the endless range of flavors that can be created by using different hops, or yeast, or malts, or rye, or… you get the idea. Craft beer is complex, it’s creative, and we applaud the artists who put it all together. Why should that stop with the contents of the bottle: why shouldn’t these guys find a way to make their products stand out on the shelf?

As much as we women would like to change things, beer is at this point still a man’s drink. Probably a good 80% of beer drinkers as a total are men, and that number is likely even higher in the craft beer market. It makes good sense to market to them. Maybe if more women would get with the program and drink better stuff, there would be a reason to rethink that.

On the other hand…

And then there was this little gem. You probably fall into one of two camps. Camp 1: “What. The. Fuck.” Camp 2: “OMG, that’s perfect for me! I mean, I already liked tasteless beer but I never could figure out why they didn’t market it for me! Those bottles are simply the cutest! What time is The Bachelor on?” Why are you still here?

I keep hoping it’s some sort of elaborate hoax, and Greg Koch himself will come to your bar and bitch slap you if you order one of these. Everything about it is just wrong: as was pointed out last night, the facts are poorly researched, the statistics are even more shady and nebulous than my own, and the company owner’s name is Shazz. Shazz. For realzz. And don’t get me started on the bottle (yeah, too late). As soon as I saw it, I started thinking of the Clown Shoes labels. There, you’ve got paintings of women provocatively posed, meant to attract the attention of the overwhelmingly male craft beer market. On these bottles, you have a silhouette of an hourglass figure in the ubiquitous little black dress, meant to appeal to the entire 25% or so of us women who drink beer of any variety. Is that really better? Either way, you’re sending out a very clear message that this is what a woman is supposed to look like. The Clown Shoes guys? I don’t think they’re too worried about whether we meet that standard, because they’re really not marketing to us. But Shazz? She’s perpetuating a stereotype. I’m sorry, Shazz, but we do not all have hourglass figures. Nor do we all own little black dresses, or care more about the marketing than the flavor of the beer we’re drinking. I couldn’t care less about the labels; I just want to it to taste good.

A side note for those of you in Camp 2 who for some reason can’t take a hint: the male chauvinist pig that designed Clown Shoes’ labels? Is a woman. Stuff that in your Steve Maddens. Is that even a shoe? I honestly have no idea.

About teridrink

Wife, mother, craft beer drinker, Twitter addict, geek.

Posted on July 9, 2011, in Art, Beer, Sometimes being a girl sucks and tagged , , . Bookmark the permalink. 6 Comments.

  1. Leslie Sprague

    Well said, Teri. While the market is dominated by male drinkers, I do think it is silly to objectify what could potentially be your customers, but I don’t go all feminazi on companies who use that type of marketing. Especially because it works. Clown Shoes beer is likely selling even better due to all the attention, just like the whole Witches Wit label controversy with Lost Abbey. I know I want some Clown Shoes for a. The novelty and b. To see if the beer backs up those saucy labels. Great post!

    • I don’t disagree. We actually have a bottle of the Tramp Stamp, and I rolled my eyes when I saw the label. I guess I just don’t see it as any more scandalous than, say, Madonna grabbing her crotch in the “Express Yourself” video, or damn near anything Lady Gaga has done since ever. And after hearing the artist’s perspective, it doesn’t really bother me at all. They will definitely benefit from the publicity, so good for them!

  2. Wait. So that is a real product? Are you sure? Have you pointed that out to Candice to see if she is equally outraged?

    • No, I haven’t addressed it. Like I said, I’m still hoping it’s a hoax of some sort; I just couldn’t help thinking it was an interesting counterpoint to the Clown Shoes labels. It does beg the question of whether it may have been cobbled together in answer to the whole mess, doesn’t it?

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