Aurosa might be doomed for the scrap heap of terrible ideas, but imagine how pretty those bottles will look in the trash.
Photo via Aurosa.
Ginger Johnson, the founder of the website Women Enjoying Beer, has literally written the book on marketing beer to women, because she says that beer companies have no clue how to do it without being disrespectful at best, clueless at worst. "It's not about 'pinkifying,'" she has said. "That's pandering." Apparently her book hasn't been exported to Prague, where a brewer-slash-entrepreneur is being dragged for her attempts to sell her own beer for women—one that is sold in a pink box.
The website for Aurosa describes it as "The First Beer for Her," which is totally inaccurate (more on that in a second) and things only get more eye roll-inducing from there. "Aurosa is a representation of a woman's strength and a girl's tenderness," the beer's description reads. "The two contrasting tempers, present in the female essence, are depicted through the elegant design yet the strong, unfiltered taste." First, ew. Second, why?
Founder Martina Šmírová says that she created the beer "to prove that women can succeed anywhere without having to adapt and sacrifice their natural femininity." OK, yes, that's a fine attitude, but many people have balked at her attempts to "redefine the perception of beer" by deciding what women should drink—or assuming that the 'light caramel' Aurosa is what all women want. "Beer is for everyone, we don't need a pretty pink one," one critic tweeted. "I'll just have a pint, thanks." Another added that dividing beer by gender just serves to further advance the sexism already prevalent in the beer industry.
Šmírová has not been delighted by the reception her beer-for-her has received so far, and she's attempted to explain herself on social media. "Aurosa was never intended to take part in sexism, feminism or the like," she wrote on Facebook. "It was never intended to dictate what women should or shouldn't drink. We are simply a brand that wants to offer beer in an elegant and beautiful bottle, something that has not been done before, for those women who want it and who's [sic] lifestyle we fit."
That doesn't help, especially if she's now arguing that she's just trying to sell the bottle to women. "Here, ladies," that approach says. "You neither know nor care about your beer, so here's an elegant vessel for you to raise instead. Why aren't you smiling? You look so much prettier when you smile."
Despite the registered trademark on the Aurosa site, the idea of selling a women's beer isn't new—and it has yet to succeed. Both Molson Coors and Carlsberg have tried selling gendered beer (Animée and Eve, respectively) and both beers were swiftly pulled from the market. A well-timed marketing survey attempted to learn why women didn't often buy beer, and the results were that the brewers themselves had created such a divide between the sexes—think of all of those bikini-heavy ads—that women were turned off to the product. Instead of creating a new beer for women, those surveyed would've preferred that the existing beers were marketed with less overtly sexist advertisements.
"[Breweries] have busily been disenfranchising women from the beer market for the past 40 years and are now clumsily trying to entice them back," beer writer Melissa Cole said after Animée's launch. " It's the business equivalent of someone breaking up with you horribly at school, only to beg you to come back in your mid-30s."
Aurosa might be doomed to join Animée and Eve on the scrap heap of terrible ideas, but imagine how pretty those bottles will look in the trash.