For decades, men have been at the forefront of alcohol advertisers’ minds.

That strategy is beginning to shift, not only with new alcoholic beverages being geared specifically towards women, but also with traditionally male-driven brands pivoting to target women more effectively.

Women Are Increasing Their Consumption and Drawing Attention

Women are becoming a much larger part of the consumer base across the board for alcoholic beverages. Today, they are responsible for 85 percent of alcohol purchases in the $12 to $15 range. They are also ordering more drinks at restaurants; in 2009, the number of alcoholic beverages ordered by women at restaurants rose nine percent, while men’s drink orders decreased by four percent in the same year.

Even when women aren’t directly consuming the alcohol, they are still making 65 to 70 percent of the purchasing decisions about alcohol consumed at home. The fact that women are the primary shoppers is no secret to advertisers in other product verticals; even ads for male-only products are often designed to subtly appeal to the women who will be purchasing them for their families. In increasing numbers, alcohol brands are realizing they need to speak to women more directly. It’s too much of a missed opportunity for them to continue passively engaging a major part of their consumer base.

How Are Male-Driven Alcohol Brands Responding?

Some of the legacy, male-driven dark spirits brands are making the most surprising leaps in terms of engaging women. This makes sense, given that women are expanding their hold on this particular market quickly. Today, 27.2 percent of scotch drinkers are female. In the 1990s, women made up only about 15 percent of whiskey drinkers; they now represent 37 percent of consumption in the US. Forty-five percent of Jim Beam drinkers are female.

What follows is a natural period of reevaluation for these companies. Many of these legacy brands have been catering mainly to men for a long time, so how can they address their changing consumer base without alienating the existing one? And with a history of drink-like-a-man culture, how can these brands secure their position with the women they have alienated? Here are some noteworthy campaigns the big brands have taken on:

The Takeaway

Throughout the spirits industry, gender-inclusive marketing trends are just beginning to take off. It will be exciting to see how women (and men) react to alcohol marketing aimed specifically at women. For individual brands and suppliers, technology can help monitor the market, analyze changes in consumer preferences, and evaluate the success of new initiatives.

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