Most Australians would be familiar with the iconic advertising campaigns for VB, which ran on Australian television for more than 40 years and featured hard-working men who had ‘a big cold thirst’, which of course necessitated ‘a big cold beer’. The imagery of these ads is stamped into our collective memory: men working in mines, men working on road crews, men working in breweries. Beer – both the consumption and the brewing of – has long been the domain of men and the advertising campaigns of VB traditionally, men made the beer and men drank the beer.
These days, however, things are changing. One of the reasons for this is that more women are now choosing to work in beer, disrupting the industry and helping to write a new narrative from within. What inspired them to take on the challenge of being a woman in beer? We spoke with some of them working to create change at CUB and asked them, ‘Why do you work in beer?’
‘Women make up half the population, women drink beer, and getting more females enjoying beer is one of the greatest growth opportunities for the beer category,’ says Assistant Brand Manager at Pure Blonde, Amy Pollock-Hall. ‘However, beer marketing and communications still speak largely to a male audience from a male perspective. As a marketer, I feel that working in beer gives me an opportunity to ensure that we’re not only including women in our strategy as a standard, but also talking specifically to women and being more inclusive generally. We still have a long way to go, but it’s exciting to be driving some change in the way we market our products.’
Amy’s drive to create change has found a home in an industry largely fuelled by passion, and it is the way in which this enthusiasm drives development and transformation that has kept Zeenath Mansoor, Excellence Program and Business Cycles Lead, in the industry for more than a decade. ‘The beer industry is a passionate one and at CUB we all share an enthusiasm for our brands and for sustainability when creating our products. And, most importantly to me, we share a passion for making a difference in people’s lives. We encourage enjoying beer while always drinking responsibly. Being part of the process that delivers a product that people enjoy so much is incredibly satisfying for me, and being able to see the difference that my contribution makes is so rewarding.’
Like Zeenath, Paige Dawes, formerly Marketing Manager – Cider, relishes the fact that her chosen career allows her to play a crucial role in bringing pleasure into people’s lives. The attachment people have to their preferred brands presents an opportunity too good to pass up for a growing number of women like Paige, who says, ‘Working on brands like VB and Carlton Draught, brands that have shaped Australian culture for more than 150 years, that consumers love so much they are willing to get the logos tattooed on their bodies, is a marketer’s dream.’ Since we spoke with Paige she has taken another step in her career, moving to New York with AB InBev.
Great Northern Brewing Co. Senior Marketing Manager Antonia Ciorciari agrees. ‘People really love beer and love our brands. Working in the industry helps you appreciate how beer really does add to the enjoyment in people’s lives.’
There are many reasons women choose to work in beer but as more of them take on the diverse roles, the challenges and the opportunities that this industry offers, there will continue to be change. The beer industry is transforming and hopefully those traditional male-dominated beer campaigns will eventually be relics of a distant past. With more women working in beer, and an increasing awareness of the fact that women of all ages and backgrounds enjoy drinking beer, we can look forward to more inclusive working environments and more representative marketing campaigns in the industry. It’s an exciting time for anyone to be involved in such a dynamic industry, but especially for women like those we spoke to, whose work reflects the contemporary reality of being both enthusiastic consumers and talented producers of beer.