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Beer edges wine as young women's drink of choice

March 26, 2013|By Stuart Pfeifer
  • Beer fan Holly DeShaw serves 80 craft brews at a Milwaukee bar she opened in 2008.
Beer fan Holly DeShaw serves 80 craft brews at a Milwaukee bar she opened… (Gary Porter / Milwaukee…)

Who says beer is a man's drink?

Beer has passed wine as the beverage of choice for women ages 18 to 34, according to the Milwaukee Journal Sentinel.

Julia Herz, craft beer program director for the Brewers Assn. trade group, said women in their 20s and 30s are in "the sweet spot" for craft beer consumption. They're the same quality-minded people who are buying artisanal cheeses and fair-trade coffees and who don't mind waiting for a bartender to shake a craft cocktail.

Craft beer is an affordable way to buy artisanal. The cost of a bottle of beer, usually less than a bottle of wine, affords aficionados a chance to sample several craft beer flavors for a "simple trade up in price compared to wine," Herz said.

Not only are women surprising bartenders by ordering craft-brewed India pale ales instead of Chardonnay or sugar-rimmed cosmopolitans, they're taking jobs in the beer industry as well.

Holly DeShaw, 31, opened Blackbird Bar in Milwaukee in 2008, offering 80 varieties of craft beer because that's what she likes to drink.

"We do have wine, but it's not our focus," said DeShaw, whose tavern made Draft Magazine's list of the top craft beer bars in the country.

In San Diego County, Devon Randall was recently named head brewer of Pizza Port Solana Beach, a popular brewery and restaurant, according to West Coaster, a publication focused on the craft beer business. Randall said she feels welcome in the beer world.

"I have never had the feeling of someone trying to prevent me from entering the brewing industry, but I certainly had to work hard for it," Randall said.

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