Gender differences in beer vs. wine: why?

I dug up this poll about alcohol consumption. One interesting point it makes is that while men prefer beer over wine by a 3-1 margin, women largely prefer wine. Why? Is it due to differences in socializing? Does heavily male-focused beer marketing make a difference? And do you ever notice differences between wine and beer drinkers in your gender?

The carbonation in beer makes people burp and fart. Many women are shy about bodily functions, of course. I know several girls who avoid beer for that reason.

And yeah, marketing.

Men enjoy bitter tastes much more than women (many of whom are addicted to sweets), on average. It’s science.

wines are tasty. flavored beers (girl beers) are tasty.

at least they could have milder or sweeter tastes.

if a person makes beer or wine then making good different flavors is a challenge. i can appreciate the effort in making a flavored beer.

Tell me about it. :mad: It’s enough to almost make me want to turn gay.

Most women I know prefer white wine over red wine and red wine over beer. (Me? I prefer red wine over white wine over beer.) I’m pretty sure it’s the taste.

Most men I know prefer beer, though most will drink red wine with a nice dinner.

I’ve also noticed that women gravitate towards sweets while men go for salty things.

There’s got to be a part that’s just stereotype too. I think beer is often seen as connected to socio-economic status, lower level of education etc. Maybe some women want to seem more sophisticated? Red wine is sophisticated, but then (sweet) white wine is stereotypically a girly (and therefore lame) drink.

Although I’m sure there will be some element of sex-taste-bud-science, cultural conditioning is sure to be part of it. I have on 4 occasions been served wine when I had ordered a beer (once out with colleagues we ordered 12 beers, we got 11 beers and white wine for me!) and I have heard male friends complain that they would like to order a white wine but don’t really feel comfortable doing it.

I think the cultural conditioning really only works one way. I’m male, I like both beer and wine, but I wouldn’t order a glass of wine in a pub. But my wife (and most other women I know) will happily order a pint of beer in the same situation.

Other possibilities - men tend to eat and drink larger volumes than women, because on average they are physically bigger. Downing a pint is probably therefore more attractive to men than sipping a glass of wine. But again that’s partly just a social thing.

If these both happen simultaneously you could always switch :slight_smile:

My mother loves beer. When she and my dad traveled in Europe, every postcard home included “PS - Great beers here!!” When she goes to new restaurants, she tries beers she’s never had before.

She’ll also take a dry red wine before any other kind, and sweet whites are pretty much off her list.

Me, I don’t like beer, and I like very few wines. Mostly I stick with water.

I rarely like bitter and that includes all beers. I don’t like the general tastelessness of whites, which I can only tolerate when they are neither sweet nor dry. I like red wines exactly in the middle as well, but can tolerate a semi-sweet or dry red if it’s good otherwise.

I hate that. I regularly go for beers with the guys. We have one guy who doesn’t drink and orders a soda. If we get a new server, I get the stupid soda. What, a girl can’t appreciate a pint?

(And that’s why we go to the bar where they all know us. Half the time, our beers are poured before our asses hit the chairs.)

Several factors, though it’s primarily driven by culture and marketing. Despite the rapidly growing craft beer sector, America is still dominated by big macro beer companies that push bitter or hoppy styles. Women DO tend to prefer sweeter drinks, but when introduced to a chocolate stout or a fruity belgian style, the first words tend to be: “Wait, THIS is BEER?” :smiley: The big guys know this and have aggressively marketed to men for decades in the US, with wine being promoted as a classier, more refined beverage for the ladies. However, this is changing among the younger demographics who are getting access to different styles of beer more frequently.

Additionally, anyone who tells you that a fruity beer is for girls is an idiot. Most of the highest ABV beer is sweeter and fruity. It is a side effect of the higher alcohol content. Some of the highest volume commercially available beers are like a good fruity brandy or sherry. The same goes for anyone who cracks on ciders. Ciders can run the range in abv from equivalent to a macro-brew (around 4%) to over 15%.

The big macros do not push bitter or hoppy styles at all. There’s more hops and bitterness in a middle of the road craft pale ale than an entire case of adjunct lagers from Bud, Miller, or Coors. Macros focus on lagers that can be made with cheap corn or rice and a little malted barley and hops. They are mostly based on poor imitations of pilsners. They are not bitter or hoppy, because those are not mass marketable characteristics, and those are expensive to produce. Instead, they make fizzy yellow beer that is meant to be drank as cold as possible, because cold masks flavor. That’s why they advertise nonsense like “frost brewed” and put gimmicks like temp indicators on bottles. That’s also why adjunct lagers taste poor at cellar temps and loads of craft beer tastes best at cellar temps. I don’t mean to bite your head off, but it’s just that macro lagers are only bitter and hoppy compared to Kool-Aid.

OP, owing to the U.S.'s working class German beer-brewing immigrant culture, wine is viewed as sophisticated and therefore just a bit effete. This image is changing in the last few decades, but America’s wine consumption still falls far behind European countries. Picture Bruce Springsteen cupping a glass of red on an album cover. That still doesn’t play.

[Al Murray]A pint for the fella and a glass of white wine or fruit based drink for the lady. Those are the rules![/AM]

There have been a few stories in the real ale community recently about breweries making beers targeted towards the female market. My female friends have ranged from apathetic to insulted.

Maybe because peeing is more trouble for women than for men?

Volume of liquid. Just as some women would consider eating a big meal to be less than demure, and so will order a salad instead of a pork chop, some women get the idea that it’s more demure to have a smaller drink in front of you. Note too that mixed drinks aimed at women often come in a martini glass, which presents a visually smaller and sleeker appearance than a tumbler.

That’s certainly true when compared to superiour beers, but let us compare the usual macro-swill to other beverages instead? Compared to most mixed drinks macro is bitter or sour in flavor. It doesn’t have the fruitiness of red wine, nor the sweetness of non-oaked whites or port. Now let us compare to other popular drinks among women in general: Most women take their coffee or espresso with cream and sugar rather than neat, other drinks like green and iced teas also tend sweet rather than bitter or sour. To the entry level female beer taster, macro-beer however mild it may be, will still be very bitter or sour compared to other other drinks she usually consumes.

Beer bellies (or fear of).

Definitely some cultural stereotyping factors into this.

I actually don’t like sweet drinks. My sober choice is tea, my alcohol preference is beer or scotch. Mind you, I don’t dislike wine, I’ll very much enjoy a glass with a good dinner, but even there I prefer drier reds much more over roses and whites (which is not to say I’d refuse a well-chosen white with dinner).

I once had a bar refuse to serve me scotch or whiskey straight up, despite the men in the group getting the same - I was told that as a woman I had to have it on the rocks. (Granted that was 20 years ago - I had the husband (then boyfriend) order the drink and he simply passed it to me when it arrived). When my husband has orders something sweet (he likes “girly drinks”) and I order something bitter or sour the server invariably gives it to the wrong person (at which point we just swap drinks).

I don’t know if it’s because I’m older or if times are changing but I’ve had less trouble with this in recent years.