Taking beer back from the beardy chaps: Women are embracing real ale, says Manchester microbrewer

By Kenny Lomas

A Manchester-based microbrewer believes real ale has finally shaken off the ‘old man’ image of the past.

Carley Friedrich, who works for the family-owned Brightside Brewing Company based in Radcliffe, says real ale now attracts significantly more female drinkers.

She attributes the rise in female ale drinkers to the large number of microbreweries that have started brewing around the UK in a thriving craft beer scene.

“I didn’t drink real ale five years ago, nor did any of my female friends and now I spend every day telling people how good it is,” she told MM.

“I think image has a large part to play, these days real ale isn’t just for the beardy chaps in the corner.

“Breweries, ourselves included, no longer market to men, we market to discerning drinkers whether they’re old or young, male or female, so bottle labels and pump clips should attract both genders.

“The hand-pull no longer signifies a flat warm pint and it’s lost its old man image. It is now a source of interest to see whether the current offering is to their taste.

“With so many breweries producing so many styles of beer, it’s hard not to find something to enjoy amongst them.”

Dan and Gina Buck, who are set to open a micro-pub, Great Ale Year Round as part of the multi-million pound redevelopment of Bolton Market later this month, say they too have noticed a jump in the number of female ale drinkers. 

EVERYONE WELCOME: Dan and Gina Buck now serve almost as many female customers as male

“This became very apparent when we were at the farmers market in Worsley. Around 40% of customers were female and I think it’s a great thing that women feel they can join in with the enjoyment of craft beer,” Gina said.

“I feel the interest from female ale drinkers is purely down to the revolution of the Micro-bar and Microbrewery scene. 

“Real ales and beers are commonly mistaken for a man’s drink to have in their local pub, but with the variety of Craft beer that is now available in premises that are more attractive to women. This has encouraged us to be more adventurous.” 

Dan says he believes the booming UK craft scene now means that that there is a greater variety available. 

“There’s something for everybody now, and people appreciate that. Because there are so many microbreweries, they’re making so many different colours, flavours and tastes of beer,” Dan said.

“So I think this is why we’re seeing so many students, a lot of young people, and a big following of female drinkers.”

Great Ale Year Round opens on January 21 at the Bolton Market.

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