For a long time, beer has not only been associated with masculinity, but a symbol of manhood. A group of buddies drinking beers while grilling in the backyard or shotgunnning cans before a football game are clichéd tropes of American pop culture. So it’s no surprise that the brewing industry and beer culture are spaces that largely exclude women. One female master brewer named Kristi McGuire is looking to change that. But, is she going about it the right way? McGuire founded her company, High Heel Brewing, this year, and starting in late June, its first two beers will be available throughout the state of Florida — and they're sure to provide a feminist dilemma for female beer-drinkers. On one hand, High Heel Brewing is one of very few women-run beer operations, and McGuire told USA Today that she doesn't believe in the stereotype that all women want "sweeter and lighter beers,” which seems encouraging. But, beyond the eye roll-inducing name of the company, the marketing and branding of the beer itself seems problematic. Take one of the beers being rolled out next month, “Slingback Perry Ale.” The froufrou name combined with its hot-pink and green packaging is enough to make you cringe. Even the brewery’s logo of a hops flower sitting atop a stiletto is aggressively feminized.
Of course, I'm on board with the idea of more women-owned breweries. But, for every New Belgium Brewing Company there's a Chick Beer. (Yes, really.) Who in her right mind wants to carry a six-pack that's supposed to look like a tiny purse filled with bustier-clad lady beers? Being a woman does not mean that I'm only interested in cutesy, dumbed-down versions of craft beer. It's insulting to be marketed to in this way — even when it seems like the intentions are good. I'm sure the Too Hop'd to Handle India Pale Ale is going to be delicious. Or maybe it won't be. That's not really the point. Personally, I look forward to a day when gender politics doesn't come anywhere near what I drink.