Women are seen as key by SABMiller in determining the drinks choice in "mixed-gender" occasions

Women are seen as key by SABMiller in determining the drinks choice in "mixed-gender" occasions

Women drinkers offer an “opportunity and a threat” to SABMiller, according to the brewer's Europe chief. 

Speaking at a press dinner, prior to the group's half-year results yesterday (21 November), Sue Clark told journalists that women remain a key target for the company. This shift is likely to see a move away from “laddish” advertising to more “mixed gender” campaigns,” she said. 

“As they (women) become economically more active ...they really represent an opportunity and a threat to us,” said Clark. 

“Women can be, when they’re in mixed gender situations, a bit of a gatekeeper on the alcohol. So, when they go out with men, if they’re drinking wine, very often their male partner will drink wine. From that point of view, it’s very important that we bring more women into the category.” 

Brewers have for a long time struggled to appeal to women, but Clark believes there is still plenty of potential among the demographic. 

“The first thing we need to do is stop putting women off beer,” she said. “Over the years, if you look at advertising ads and the way we postioned beer, particularly some of the laddish advertising is verging on the insulting. The first thing is to start to get the marketing into a more mixed gender occassion.” 

She added: “The next thing is to think about the palate of women. Women do have a sweeter palate and some of the lighter lagers and sweeter, lower alcohol beers and radlers are more attractive to women.” 

Doug Brodman, SABMiller's commercial director for Europe, admitted that mainstream lagers would still be targeted at men. But he flagged wheat beer as being able to potentially attract female drinkers. “With that taste profile, it (wheat beer) is much less bitter and has a natural, crisp, light taste,” he said. The group also sees the potential to draw women in through its cider brands. However, Brodman said the company was only “starting the journey” towards attracting more women. 

Clark said SABMiller's Peroni beer is an “icon” of what it would like to achieve as it has proved to be a “mixed-gender” brand.