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Women in the alcohol industry


From production and distribution to sales and ads, the alcohol and beverage industry has historically been dominated by men.

Currently, according to data collected by McKinsey & Co last year, only 16% of C-level employees in the Food and Beverage manufacturing industry are women. Yet women drive 70-80% of all consumer purchasing through a combination of their buying power and influence (data collected by the Department of Labor Time Use) and make 65%-70% of the alcohol purchasing decisions for at home consumption (as stated by the New England Consulting Group).

[Granted, let’s first acknowledge that the stats about spending power/influence reveal the fact that so much of the household unpaid labor falls on women]

Tiffany Hall, the founder of Empower Cocktails (who previously worked as legal counsel for French liquor giant Pernod Ricard) talked to CNN about how the alcohol industry has been dominated by men:

"It's across-the-board from employees to executives and salespersons. They decide what products are developed and which products go on the shelf in stores."

And let's not even get started on the harmful messages of and for women (both objectifying and stereotyping) the alcohol industry has promoted with its ads. The canned wine company Bev does an excellent job of highlighting the sexual objectification of women in ads in their Instagram story highlight #𝙉𝙤𝙩𝙊𝙠.

Just as an example of harmful messages in ads, in 2015, the short-lived tagline for Bud Light was "The perfect beer for removing 'no' from your vocabulary for the night # UpForWhatever” (um .. guess they didn’t get the no means no memo?). The marketing executive level team for Anheuser-Busch (owners of BudLight) behind the tagline, 𝒉𝒂𝒅 𝒐𝒏𝒍𝒚 1 𝒘𝒐𝒎𝒂𝒏 on both its 11-person leadership team in North America and its 17-person executive team (AB InBev Annual Report 2015).

The Washington Post brought attention to the controversial taglines of #UpForWhatever and "removing no from your vocabulary" alluding to how surprising it was that no one --in the countless reviews that go into deciding on a campaign-- saw how controversial the taglines were. "After this incident, it's frankly dumbfounding that the latest tagline made it through countless levels of review and ended up on a beer bottle—especially given the close links between alcohol consumption and sexual assault."

Here are some incredible female founders making their mark in the alcohol industry:


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