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A Gender-Neutral Beer? Carlsberg's Attempt to Woo Women

Beer has long been presumed to be the domain of men. The dozens of commercials aired during sporting events by brewers only helps to promote the stereotype of beer being solely a man’s drink.

Coppenhagen Beer
Coppenhagen Beer

Then there are the statistics. In the most recent Gallup Poll on US drinking habits, only 27 percent of women named beer as their preferred drink. Wine was the top choice at 48 percent. As for men, beer was the top drink (54 percent) followed by liquor (22 percent) and wine (17 percent).

While 27 percent percent might not seem like much at first glance, consider the fact that in 2009 just 6 percent of women listed beer as their top drink. There’s no doubt that more and more women are putting down the wine glass and picking up a bottle of beer.

The recent growth of the craft beer industry is often credited with bringing more consumers—both men and women—into the category.

As the craft beer industry celebrates American Craft Beer Week (with more than 800 events in all 50 states), it is worth noting craft brewers are also helping to blaze a trail for women within the industry. A small sampling includes Kim Jordan, the CEO of New Belgium Brewing; Deb Carey, the founder of New Glarus Brewing; Gwen Conley, the quality assurance manager at Flying Dog Brewery; and Julie Johnson, the editor of "All About Beer" magazine.

Now Danish-based brewer Carlsberg is looking to speed up the trend by offering a gender-neutral beer.

They are rolling out a beer they say is "intended for modern women and men, who appreciate a refreshing taste delivered in a stylish design."

It’s called "Copenhagen" and the look of the label is more akin to designs found on wine bottles than anything typically seen in the beer aisle. For Carlsberg execs, that’s exactly the point.

"We can see that there are a number of consumers, especially women, who are very aware of design when they choose beverage products," the company writes on its Web site.

"There may be situations where they are standing in a bar and want their drinks to match their style," says Jeanette Elgaard Carlsson, International Innovation Director at Carlsberg. "In this case, they may well reject a beer if the design does not appeal to them."

While the brew is gaining attention for its gender-neutral design, it will of course live or die on its taste.

"Many young people aren’t keen on the bitter aftertaste of beer," says Carlsson. "Here our surveys show that with Copenhagen we have created a highly drinkable beer with a balanced taste—a real alternative to white wine and champagne."

If Copenhagen marks the first step towards gender-equality in the beer world, sadly U.S. women will have to sit the Copenhagen revolution out. While the beer is set to be released in Denmark later this year, and the rest of Europe and part of Asia in 2012, Copenhagen isn't currently scheduled to come to the US anytime soon.

Questions? Comments? Email us at consumernation@cnbc.com.

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