Flickr/Michael Bentley
Do you want a glass for that?

Commentary First Person Voices

Here’s one for the ladies. Years ago, back when I was a mere consumer of food and beverage and not a writer who covers their economics, I was asked to participate in a focus group on liquor advertising. The group was comprised of 20- and 30-something, working, middle-class women, all of whom drank regularly, and all of whom drank beer.

We weren’t told who the client was, but we were shown several campaigns for “fortified” beers and then asked to rate them according to how likely we’d be to purchase such a product at the grocery store. First, there was “fiber beer,” a nod to our apparent collective nutrition deficiency, and also probably best served for breakfast. Next was “strawberry beer.” This wasn’t supposed to be the craft kind, we were told, which sort of whispers berry flavor in your ear, but rather a big, brash, babe-in-a-bar-fight kind of berry flavor—the kind that makes fun of your outfit and then throws up on your shoe at the end of the night. Finally, there was “caffeine beer,” heir apparent to fiber beer, and most likely to be consumed at the onset of the three o’clock slump, during which it is assumed by marketers that we’re struggling to resist buying a package of mini donuts and falling face first into a caramel Frappuccino.

All of these beers, I decided, fell into a liquor marketing category that seizes on the supposed filaments of lady life—desire to feel full but look hungry, predisposition to enjoying bold fruit flavors, and persistent, low-grade afternoon fatigue—and sells them back to us in a bottle with a pretty, embellished label. That category is called “lady booze.” (“Lady booze,” by the way, falls into a similar category as “lady chocolate”—the commercials for which always encourage women to steal away to the couch for a slow-mo cherished moment with a single chocolate square.)

And it is in that category that a “new,” female-friendly alcoholic beverage makes its debut (again) this week. Ladies, let me present Anheuser-Busch’s Lime-a-Rita, featuring its very own ‘by women, for women’ ad campaign. What’s that you say? You still have an LaR pounder in your vegetable crisper from that time you watched the Scandal finale with your girlfriends? No, it’s not the same one. Well, okay, it is. But this one is marketed exclusively for you, by women just like you.

“In our world, women have been important to us for a long time,” said Selena Kalvaria, senior director for Lime-A-Rita, to the St. Louis Post-Dispatch this week. “We really spent our time meeting with women and talking about the role of the brand in her life,” she went on to say.

Note to FCB Chicago, A-B’s “female creative team,” from a less creative fellow female: In our world, margaritas have been important to us for a long time. So why can’t we just … drink margaritas? And if your brand’s success depends on us drinking them suspended in malt, at least do us the favor of picturing them in your ad campaign somewhere other than on our makeup table, right next to our blush brushes and night cream. Like, on the kitchen counter, for instance, right next to our unpaid medical bills, or our stack of resumes. I don’t know about you, girls, but that setting often makes me feel like initiating an encounter with the lady booze.

Alas, it’s five o’clock somewhere, and we have come a long way, baby. So, why wait for a special occasion to crack open a cold can of pandering? Grab your girlfriends and head to the roof. It’s time to get your lady on.

Kate Cox

Kate Cox covers the secret life of the supply chain as editor for The New Food Economy. In her former life, she was a freelance health reporter for radio and text. Follow her @thekatecox