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The Naming Game, From Hop Whore To Nut Sack
Posted by Lisa P. Sutton

I'm a beer girl. I like an easy amber ale over lunch, a sharp IPA to sip while watching the Laker game. On a hastily-poured stout, I've been known to drink up the foamy head with a spoon. Though I can't wait 15 minutes for delivery pizza, I will stand in line when a local place is tapping a new cask.


Unfortunately, the craft brew market still doesn't seem ready for women. The majority of beers are clearly marketed with men in mind, their very names nodding to masculine senses of humor and sexuality. American craft breweries are naming their beers Hop Whore or Polygamy Porter or Nut Sack Ale. Stone's bread and butter brew continues to be the Arrogant Bastard Ale. There is an entire line of ales bottled in San Jose named Ass Kisser. For a while, Deschutes produced the Streaking The Quad, inspiring nostalgia in every frathouse alum. Flying Dog makes a Raging Bitch IPA, Dogfish Head makes a Bitches Brew, and while both monickers are purported references to their canine-inspired mastheads, the joke is not lost on any guy who walks up to a bar to order his Bitch.


As a female beer drinker, I'm not likely to order a Raging Bitch. Not aloud anyway. I don't really want to order a Fat Tire either. There's nothing sexy about a girl holding a bottle with the word "fat" emblazoned in capital letters. Thank god the worst offender, Furthermore's Fatty Boombalatty, is practically impossible to find outside of the midwest.


Why is the craft brew industry still ignoring female consumers? I'm certainly not the only woman drinking beer these days. Can't we get a few decent beers without names that are meant to embarrass us? I'm not asking for anything overtly flowery or ornamental. I'm happy to order beers like the Downtown Brown, Lost Coast's simply and elegantly named standout, or Bear Republic's playfully and aptly named Hop Rod Rye.


I'm certainly not looking for a women's-only beer. No one wants to relive the Zima debacle--we've learned that a wine-cooler alternative wasn't easily redressed as a man's drink, and I'll never go looking for its inverse in say, some kind of pink-bottled lady Zima IPA. I just want a good beer named something smart and not gender-specific. Shouldn't a craft beer's quality be the central focus of its marketing? And is anyone sure that the guys who have a good junior-high inspired laugh over the Nut Sack Ale are actually buying anything other than 18-packs of PBR or Coors Light?
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Lisa P. Sutton earned an MFA in writing from University of California, Irvine and a JD from Boston University School of Law. She lives and drinks in Los Angeles.
Her most recent short story, Patina, can be read here: www.bluelakereview.weebly.com/patina.html

Categories: Bars, Beer, Beverage Industry

Posted by Lisa P. Sutton on February 27, 2012 09:51 am | Permalink 

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