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Thursday, 21 February, 2002, 17:14 GMT
'Chocolate' beer targets women
Alastair Hook
Alastair Hook says too many beers are bland
Raspberry and chocolate beers aimed at women are to go on sale in supermarkets.

Meantime Brewing in south London is launching five new bottled drinks nationwide in June after a successful pilot scheme.

It hopes the new brands will attract women away from wine and break down the masculine associations of beer.

But doubts have been expressed whether the concept, which will be sold in champagne-style bottles, will work.
Chocolate and Red bottles
Packaging is based on champagne

The Chocolate lager is made from a unique blend of malts and special barley, with a vanilla edge, while the more acidic raspberry drink - called Red - uses fresh fruit.

The other flavours to be officially launched in June are White, Amba and Golden.

Meantime has been greatly encouraged by sales at the Greenwich Union pub, where the beers are on trial.

Alastair Hook, owner of the independent brewery in Greenwich, emphasised that his company used traditional, continental brewing methods to make the new flavours, and said it was not a gimmick.

Not macho

"We're not trying to mimic alcopops or trying to target young impressionable women," he said.

"We're just trying to make the product more accessible and beautiful, standing up for choice and beauty.

"If you produce lots of different flavours and you can make these products attractive to a new audience, then you are doing them a service."

Women and beer
One in five drink three pints a week
18-24 yr olds drink six pints a week
Women buy 40% of supermarket beer but drink 10%
But advertising experts have their doubts.

Mark Lund, of Delaney, Lund, Nott and Warren, said: "Beer is fundamentally a masculine thing and women drink it knowing they are straying into masculine territory and quite like that.

"The idea of putting a feminine orientated beer out is a bit like putting out a macho handbag or a pink Harley Davidson."

Mr Hook said his firm is trying to change the tradition that beer is generally sold for men and pubs historically a male domain.

"The gastronomic arts are generally consumed in equal amounts by men and women but there is a masculine bias towards the consumption of beer.

"We don't want that kind of baggage. We want items of beauty that women can enjoy as much as men."

See also:

17 Feb 02 | Scotland
Vitamins in beer plan considered
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