Tuesday 17 January 2012

No Female Beer for NZ Competition

Wow! It's bad enough that rubbish like 'beers for the ladeez' are foisted on women in the UK, but at least there isn't the archaic attitude recently demonstrated at a show in New Zealand where a woman wasn't allowed to enter a home brew competition because, well, she's a woman!

The awesomely-named Rachel Beer was told that she could enter her beer but it wouldn't actually be judged because, wait for it, it was a blokes-only competition.

Initially I thought it was just one dinosaur who had put everyone else in a bad light... but then, oh then, I saw this bright idea from the show president Mike Smith in this article from the New Zealand Herald.

He suggested Ms Beer put a proposal to his committee for a women's or mixed sex section next year.

WTF? Are you kidding me? Is that supposed to make it all better? 

I actually find that more offensive than the outright sexism of the original exclusion because this fossil can't seem to recognise that it doesn't matter, as Ms Beer so bluntly and brilliantly put it, whether someone has balls or not - the entry should be judged on the quality of the brew!

I am also cross at how badly this reflects on the NZ beer scene, because I've tried quite a few of the craft brews coming from that neck of the woods and they are excellent and I also know some of the brewers, most notably the boys at Epic, and couldn't find their attitude to be more diametrically opposed.


The Beer Nut said...

New Zealand can be very odd that way, I've found. Some attitudes that "the motherland" grew out of in the '60s and '70s still seem to be hanging on.

Ms Beer, who learned the craft from a man
Oh thanks for clearing that up, Mr Reporter sir, I had been wondering...

Mark said...

Why on Earth would you need a seperate male and female competition when it comes to home brewing!?

That's very odd.


Mark said...

Why on Earth would you need a seperate male and female competition when it comes to home brewing!?

That's very odd.


beersiveknown said...

Its just outrageous! That would make them, what 30years behind the rest of the developed world?

Alan said...

That is crazy. It's as if beer is a tackling sport in NZ. Don't tell Haley Wickenheiser, that's all I can say: http://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Hayley_Wickenheiser

Melissa Cole said...

@TBN I've not been but I was invited to judge at Beervana, couldn't make it last year, hoping to be re-invited this year! Especially now!

@MarkBBB Odd doesn't even begin to cover it huh? Flabbergasting is a where I'd start! :)

@SteveL pretty much! I can only hope it's an idiotic few and that this doesn't open the floodgates as I really like all the people I've met from NZ brewing scene and I wouldn't like this to reflect on them at all.

@Alan What an awesome lady!

Yvan Seth said...

It's a bit sad... this is the sort of thing that makes the international news. So, thanks to a few backward yokels down on the South Island the beer world thinks NZ is stuck in some sort of dark past.

I've just been down there for 2 months and can vouchsafe that I saw no evidence at all that the beer scene was anything like that! It's much more socially progressive than the norm over there - though I'm thinking the "craft" scene of course. Progressive beer, progressive folk?

I shouldn't comment on NZ in general - don't think I got enough exposure to have a good coverage. It did feel somewhat less "PC" than the UK - that can be both a good and a bad thing.

(That said - when it came to music being played in bars and on the radio I think they're about 15 to 20 years behind. Not that I was complaining about that... my younger colleague was though;)

Melissa Cole said...

@Yvan shh, don't tell anyone but I regularly have early 90s playing in my office! :)

Greig McGill said...

Thanks for getting this even more exposure Melissa. It's freakin' disgusting, and shining light on it as much as possible is the only way to kill this sort of attitude.

To those asking if NZ is really home to this sort of archaic thinking, well, before this came along, I'd have said no. I mean, NZ is very much a few cities and a hell of a lot of very small towns. In those small towns often still lurks a very sheltered mindset. That said, Kiwis are among the most prolific travellers in the world. This tends to expose us to all that the world has to offer, and as a result, kills things like sexism and racism dead in their tracks.

Still, after this issue appeared, stuff.co.nz (a local news aggregator) ran a poll. You can see the results linked from this article. http://www.stuff.co.nz/life-style/food-wine/6253389/Woman-banned-from-home-brew-beer-contest - I have lost a lot of faith in my fellow Kiwis if that reflects reality.

There's a lot of backlash in New Zealand against political correctness. Kiwis traditionally call a spade a spade. But this is NOT a PC issue, it's just basic humanity. We were the first country in the world to give women the vote, but we still ban them from brewing competitions. I might move to the UK.

Anyway, hope to see you at Beervana Melissa. I'll ask Kelly and Luke for an intro, and shout you a pint! ;)


Greig McGill

Melissa Cole said...

@Greig KERIST! Those results are waaaay too close, hope to be there if I get invite & look forward to sharing pint if I do :)

Anonymous said...

New Zealander here.

I would like to start by saying I definitely do not support sexism within the beer scene (or any).

Secondarily, there is very little, if any, sexism within the NZ craft beer and homebrewing scene. I think we fit in with other craft beer areas where we are trying to get more woman to drink and appreciate great beer.

I was initially disappointed with the show for having such views until I came across this blog post at Brewzone - http://beer.brewzone.com/2012/01/ap-beer-controversy/

This is a textbook case of the media twisting a story for their own gain.

The whole 'blokes only' section at this farmer's show was tongue-in-cheek from the beginning. It was an attempt to encourage men to make things outside of their ordinary farming duties. Also included was a men's only flower arrangement competition, and men's only cake baking competition (http://www.lakehayesshow.com/downloads/home-industries.pdf). It's interesting that the NZ Herald neglected to mention either of these...

I do agree that saying the beer can be entered but would not be judged is out of line. I think that in this situation judging the beer but not allowing it to officially place would be acceptable. I do wonder if this was the original intention of the judges and there has been some 'misquoting' by NZ Herald.

Vasquez said...

After living in NZ for 2 years I came away with others that it was all a very blokey blokey MACHO culture ie.....Oh look at how big my V6 engine is in my new Holden, Oh look at how big my boat is bro, oh I love to go killing bore with my dog & knife!
Not all guys were like this I must add. I loved the place & most of its people.
Back to your main point.....this sexism does not surprise me one little bit in NZ, shame really.

Terry Collmann said...

Hence the old joke about the pilot speaking to the passengers over the intercom: "Ladies and gentlemen, we are about to arrive at Auckland Airport - please put your watches back 50 years ..."

Laurent Mousson said...

Speaking of brewsters and balls... within one certain french microbreweries' collective, it is a known fact that good old "my beer's bigger than yours" competitions between the guys are doomed to fail, because the one lady of the bunch always comes up with something ballsier anyway...
Yet mainstream beery France is often dead chauvinist too ! ;o(

Kieran Haslett-Moore said...

Well this is pretty embarising really.

It goes to show the divide between certain rural areas of the country and the cities.

From the Cities you get the nation that gave women the vote first, and recently had women holding every important constitutional role. But in the hinterland this shit happens.
In some regard we lead the world in others...well.

If you do come out its likly that it will be the city country that you experiance.

That said I don't suppose we are alone in this , many countrys have back waters with back water attitudes.