Harriet Easton, age 19, appears to be one ambitious and entrepreneurially-minded young lass. She’s determined to fill the void created by a continuing drop in UK pub beer sales. “Figures released last month showed beer sales in pubs at their lowest level for 70 years. Seven million fewer pints per day are now being sold, with sales down 49 per cent since they peaked in 1979.” One obvious market being neglected is the female segment. So Easton, a politics student at Newcastle University, spent a year and a half — and £35,000 — on R&D to create a beer especially for women. It’s a “light ale with extract of orange and a modest 4.2 per cent alcohol.” Easton teamed up with a local brewery, Hanby Ales of Wem in Shropshire, to create the curiously named Harry’s Beer, which will be marketed to women beginning Monday at the Salopian Bar in Shrewsbury. On hand will be, Paula Waters, chairman of CAMRA. “Waters said: ‘I applaud the inventive way Harriet has brought this product to market. She’s a sassy and savvy young woman who has recognised there are others just like her who want to drink real ale and retain their femininity.'”
But as far as I can tell, this is not her first attempt. In August of this year there was at least one story about Harriet Easton in the Shropshire Star called These Girls Are For Real. At that time, they reported Easton debuting another beer, this one called Rushing Dolls beer for girls. In that article, Rushing Dolls was described as having “a zest of lime—it’s very light and hoppy.” There Easton was quoted as having created her beer because others were — I just love this expression — too blokey. Hop Talk even did a post about it in September. The lime version was “thought to be the first ever beer for girls” and now the new orange version is being similarly touted, this time by the Publican, who say it’s the “first real ale aimed specifically at women.” This time around, Easton says:
“Real ale has typically and consistently been marketed towards men with names full of cheesy puns and innuendo, and images of buxom wenches serving up frothy jugs,” said the politics student at Newcastle university. “They can keep all that — there’s no need to move on, lads — just move over”.
Still, I can’t help but think of Virginia Slims or pink trains for girls. It seems to me either a woman will develop a taste for beer or she won’t. I know plenty of women who already love craft beer, including my wife, and it didn’t take a specially designed beer for them to like beer. Trying to make one specifically for the ladies seems like a gimmick at best. But if it brings more women into the fold, I suppose that can’t be all bad.