FERN’s Friday Feed: Beer has a gender problem. Can better marketing solve it?

Beer’s gender problem


More than half of men say beer is their favorite alcoholic drink, but only 23 percent of women prefer it to wine or liquor. Some brewers are trying to bridge the gender divide with beers that target women, like Aurosa, a Czech Republic-brewed lager that is “bottled in faux marble and sold in a boutique drenched in Millennial pink,” reports Eater. Or there’s Slingback, from Florida’s High Heel Brewing, which is a cross between cider and ale. But even as some demographers try to figure out which beers appeal to women, others say that’s the wrong question: “I’m going to be direct: It’s just as asinine as saying, ‘What kind of pasta do men like?’” says Ginger Johnson, a beer marketing consultant. Instead, Johnson says, the bigger issue is that women aren’t included in ad campaigns for beer, (except maybe as bartenders). “They don’t see themselves.”

The first people to catch salmon can finally make money off it


“Sockeye” Suzy Lumley is on a mission to bring prosperity to her tribe — the Yakama — through salmon. Native Americans have fished the Columbia River between Washington and Oregon for centuries. But until recently, they never made a profit from it, because seafood buyers didn’t like how they handled their catch, essentially throwing it in the back of a truck or the stern of a boat. Now, Columbia River salmon prices have quadrupled in large part due to small companies like Lumley’s, which cans and ships salmon across the country, as well as from a government-run program that supports American Indian food businesses — support that the Trump administration’s budget cuts could crush. Salmon is bringing money and jobs back to the Yakama reservation, where 43 percent of families live in poverty.

Can fast food change a poor neighborhood for the better?

California Sunday Magazine

Daniel Patterson is a celebrity chef with several restaurants in the Bay Area, one of which has two Michelin stars. But when he teamed with Roy Choi, the “tattooed king of LA food trucks,” to revolutionize dining in some of the country’s poorest neighborhoods, neither of them wanted another menu that screamed gentrification. So when they opened Locol in Los Angeles’ Watt’s neighborhood, they hired people who had never worked before. They served hamburgers with freshly made special sauce meant to push all the sensory buttons that a Big Mac pushes, but with legumes and tofu mixed into the beef. And they posted guards, also hired from the community, at the front door as much to talk people into trying the place as to keep watch, since many in the neighborhood didn’t trust outsiders. Patterson says he has learned that “the depth and breadth of institutional racism in this country is impossible to understand unless you spend time in the places and with the people most affected, and even then you really can only understand a fraction of it.”

It’s the price, stupid

New Food Economy

For food-tech companies, the biggest hurdle in getting consumers to buy their creations is the “natural” problem  — as in, does their product seem “natural” enough? At least for now, things like lab-grown meat still make people queasy. But if there’s a lesson in all the fuss over GMOs, it’s that people get used to technology. Only the most committed activists avoid GMOs altogether. Most of us consume them in all sorts of products. When it comes down to it, people still value three things above all else: price, taste and convenience.

Dubai wants to be the world’s most sustainable city

National Geographic

In 2006, the World Wildlife Fund named Dubai the city with the largest ecological footprint per capita, mostly because of carbon emissions. The temperatures are grueling — it can reach 122°F in summer — and the city is completely inhospitable to crops, with only two inches of rain a year. Yet Dubai is dotted with lush green parks, and there’s the Ski Dubai center — an indoor slope cooled to -8°F. But if sustainability has a distant afterthought in Dubai, that’s changing. Farmers’ markets are popping up and solar panels are increasingly common. The global recession in 2008 and 2009 cut real estate prices 50 percent, and oil fared even worse. Suddenly, resources that had seemed cheap now looked precious, and Dubai’s ruler, “His Highness Sheikh Mohammed bin Rashid Al Maktoum, the 67-year-old hereditary emir … has decreed that his city will get 75 percent of its energy from clean sources by 2050,” reports Nat Geo. “He says it will have the smallest carbon footprint in the world.”

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