Opinion – Pink Boots Society: Let’s talk about social responsibility

Opinion - Pink Boots Society: Let's talk about social responsibility
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*The views expressed in opinion pieces are those of the writers, and do not necessarily reflect the views of Coaster.

For readers not familiar with us (Marisa Jackson and Sandra Kwong), we are co-leaders of the Hong Kong Chapter of Pink Boots Society, a non-profit organisation that promotes and supports women in the beer industry. We aim to help shape our city’s still-relatively-young beer scene into a more progressive and supportive environment for women, both in the corporate and consumer arenas.

In light of recent events, we felt it would be fitting to touch upon social responsibility within our industry, and about provocative marketing in particular.

Hong Kong’s astounding growth in local and imported craft beer volumes has driven a previously untapped niche forward exponentially. With new interest comes new consumers, and with new consumers comes our chance to foster an industry that is open and accepting to people of all genders. For the most part, our city has upheld a stellar example of this principle and we are proud of how respectful and inclusive our community has been.

Alas, the trickle-down of long-term misogyny from big beer brands to the craft beer world remains unwantedly prevalent, and it continues to rear its ugly head from time to time. Overcoming this “bro” culture of beer is a long, involved process and thankfully, the vast majority of people in the industry are all about that.

Provocative and sexist marketing in beer is not a new issue. In fact, it’s been discussed over and over and over and over and over again. The Brewers Association, recognising the need to encourage diversity in the industry, has also been outspoken about hammering down on offensive or sexist beer labels in marketing – something that our local breweries would also do well to keep in mind.

With so many exciting beer events this month, we thought it would be a good time to remind breweries, bars, restaurants and consumers to take a respectful and thoughtful approach towards marketing and consumers.

According to BA’s Advertising and Marketing code, marketing materials should avoid:

  • – containing sexually explicit, lewd, or demeaning brand names, language, text, graphics, photos, video, or other images that reasonable adult consumers would find inappropriate for consumer products offered to the public; or

  • – containing derogatory or demeaning text or images.

Objectifying women’s or men’s bodies to promote or sell beer is highly discouraged by many professional beer & brewing organisations, including Pink Boots Society.  Beer should be inclusive and enjoyable to all.

PBS HK hopes this will open respectful and insightful conversations that move towards progress in the beer industry. Let’s talk about working together to create a safe and enjoyable city for women to learn about and appreciate beer. Let’s be smarter and more progressive when it comes to marketing and discussing brews.

Let’s make beer sexy – not sexist.

Sandra & Marisa

Pink Boots Society, Hong Kong Chapter
Email us at pbshongkong@pinkbootssociety.org

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