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Last Updated: Tuesday, 5 August, 2003, 09:07 GMT 10:07 UK
Beer is not just for boys
Pint of beer
Female drinkers are increasingly turning to real ales
It is time for women to leave behind lager and alcopops to quaff real ale, according to the first female head of the Campaign for Real Ale (Camra).

Paula Waters, a 44-year-old secondary school teacher from Telford, Shropshire, believes brewers are missing a trick by failing to produce a female-friendly beer that could attract young women to the bars of Britain.

Ms Waters, who started drinking beer "before I should", said brewing companies should realise the age old myth that beer is just for the boys is outdated.

Speaking as she embarked upon sampling the delights on offer at the Great British Beer Festival in London, the biggest real ale festival in the world, she urged women to give beer a try.


The mother-of-one believes that as society has changed and women have become more liberated and financially independent it has become more acceptable for female fans of traditional beers to come out of the closet.

She said: "When I reached pub-going age in the late 70s my Pomagne and Martini drinking friends were amused by my preference for Vaux Double Maxim.

"My taste for decent beers has grown over the years and most of my female friends also drink it now.

"The world is waking up to the fact that women have more spending power but the brewing trade is quite an old-fashioned industry and hasn't really addressed this so far.

Paula Waters
Now there are good-looking, young people from Britain and abroad who realise that beer is more diverse and interesting than the world of wine.
Paula Waters
Camra chairman
"Someone in the industry needs to lead the way by launching an all-new beer aimed at women - the world's first fem-ale."

Ms Waters, elected as chairman of Camra's 67,000 members in April this year, issued the challenge to brewers following Madonna's admission that she loved drinking bitter during an interview with Jonathan Ross earlier this year.

And she insisted that real ale is not just the preserve of Fair Isle sweater wearers'?

"Well, there are still a few out there but it's changing.

"Not that many years ago women weren't even allowed in pubs without a man accompanying them and couldn't be served a pint.

"Now there are good-looking, young people form the UK and abroad who realise that beer is more diverse and interesting than the world of wine."


She said correct marketing was the key to making a success of female-friendly ale.

"If beer is marketed at women and tastes good, they will drink it," she said.

"Sticking only to core male drinkers is a strategy which is doomed to fail."

There are thought to be about 2,500 different types of real ale.

Camra commissioned a survey of 500 women to find out their reasons for not having tried ale.

The main reason (30%) given was that "none of my friends drink it".

Other answers included that it was not promoted towards them (17%), was "old fashioned" (16%) or was warm (9%) and flat (8%).

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31 Mar 00  |  UK News

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