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Why is whiskey still considered a ‘man’s drink?

Updated: Sep 29, 2022

It’s most certainly NOT a man’s drink. It’s for anyone who wants to sample and / or enjoy it. In short it is all down to marketing!

Quick trip down ‘history lane’, when women were not allowed in bars and the most accessible drinks were beer and whiskey. Fast forward to when advertising and marketing took off, and it was basically men selling to men. There was a blip round the 1950s when marketers thought ‘we should market whiskey to women… as gifts to give their man!!’ This trend seems to be stuck despite the lip service of the big brands saying they want to broaden their audience.

Whisky is supposedly trying to find new customers; however, marketing and product innovation does not reflect this.

  • In March 2022 (leading up to International Women’s Day) OurWhisky analysed 150 social media largest whisky brands and found that men outnumber women by 228% in images featuring people, with women only featuring in 36% of brands’ content.

  • Meanwhile, posts featuring non-white ethnicities only comprised 17.9% of content.

This demonstrates that brands are still not speaking directly to their existing diverse consumer, let alone the new consumer just waiting to be represented and conversed with. How do you get new customers when you don’t even speak to them! Oops! No wonder the whisky sector is not contributing to the growth of the spirits industry.

So, when you see all these articles saying ‘whisky is no longer a man’s drink’, it’s rubbish because it's never been just a ‘man’s drink’ it’s just been drummed into society that is it not for women!

Interesting fact: biologically the female palette is actually more attuned than the male palette to the complexities of the whiskey!

Fortunately, there is a lot of work going into shifting this misconception dial from amazing, high-quality brands and distilleries such as Uncle Nearest, Cardrona and Nc’Nean, but the big corporations also need to do this, otherwise the liquid will suffer, and it’s not the liquid’s fault but that of those promoting it. The changes need to start at board level and then at every ‘decision making’ level after that.

Whiskey Bicycle ~ access your spirit


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