This entry was posted on Tuesday, November 24th, 2009 at 11:18 am and is filed under Drink, Think. You can follow any responses to this entry through the RSS 2.0 feed. You can leave a response, or trackback from your own site.
There are some things that just make me want to weep for my gender. Most reality TV, for instance. But lately, it’s the realm of booze that’s got me so depressed — what we drink, the way we drink it and how marketers sell it to us. Seriously, what’s wrong with us? Have we no tastebuds at all?
I’ve been obsessing about that ever since I wandered by the B.C. Hospitality Exposition Tradeshow yesterday at the Vancouver Trade and Convention Centre to judge a cocktail competition hosted by Sortilege, a Quebec maple liqueur. And even though I was judging the men’s half of the contest — the women compete this afternoon — I walked away with some pretty confused thoughts about the ladies.
Judging by the stuff the vendors were showcasing, women are a huge market for booze. But apparently we’re not drinking fine wines or scotch or handcrafted cocktails. Nooooo, what we want is something called Strut: The Wine with Legs. I kid you not.
This Vincor product comes in three styles: red, white and risque. The wines themselves are easy-drinking but characterless expressions of Merlot and white and rose blends. But it’s not about what’s in the bottle, it’s what’s on the bottle that counts: Each label features a waist-down photo of a long-limbed gal in miniskirt and heels, the Risque Rose in fishnets.
I asked the rep if she seriously thought women will go for this, since I couldn’t imagine any man in his right mind would order a bottle. “Oh, yes,” she said. And then two sweet youngs walked up and eagerly asked for a taste of the Well-Heeled White. So there.
I headed over to the Diageo booth, where they’re showcasing their One-Shot Cocktails. These sweet, boozy concoctions are clearly designed for women, too, or as the rep pointed out, for guys to buy for their girlfriends. They’re meant to be easy, unintimidating insta-cocktails for people too clueless to, say, mix limoncello and vodka together to create a “Tuscan Lemonade.” And yes, the young women loved them, too.
Meanwhile, over at the Luxardo booth, a couple of Flair bartenders were wasting their beautiful Maraschino liqueur by putting it in an overly sweet Cosmo. Whoa, Sex and the City flashback! Where’s my Manolos and pouff skirt?
Then there were all the flavoured vodkas and flavoured beers and more wines with silly names and really, it was enough to drive you to drink, just not any of this stuff.
Ironically, at the cocktail competition itself, the guys only did so-so overall, and all the judges were muttering that the women today are going to be way more creative. Vancouver has a bunch of really talented women bartenders, like Wendy McGuinness at Chambar, Dani Tatarin at the new Keefer Bar and Lauren Mote at The Refinery, just to name a few, and if you’re around the convention centre this afternoon, you may want to check out what they’re up to.
Even more ironically, there’s no good reason why women should be drinking such god-awful stuff. Every serious brand rep I’ve ever met will tell you that women have much better palates than men, that we have a more sophisticated sense of taste. So what gives with all the sweet syrupy drinks? Is it just because we’re told that’s what we should drink just as men are steered to beer?
It’s a mystery, right up with why we wear four-inch stilettos and succumb to the tortures of bikini waxing.