Beer Business Sexism Not Limited to Creepy Ads

Photo: Gene J. Puskar/Corbis

Earlier this week, photos of a Bud Light bottle circulated widely (and were widely reviled) for their not-so-consent-friendly tagline: “The perfect beer for removing ‘no’ from your vocabulary for the night.”

Anheuser-Busch VP Alexander Lambrecht was quick to issue the kind of canned statement you expect in these situations:

The Bud Light Up for Whatever campaign, now in its second year, has inspired millions of consumers to engage with our brand in a positive and light-hearted way. In this spirit, we created more than 140 different scroll messages intended to encourage spontaneous fun. It’s clear that this message missed the mark, and we regret it. We would never condone disrespectful or irresponsible behavior.

Yet none of this comes as much surprise to Francine Katz, the so-called “queen of beer,” once the highest-ranked woman at Anheuser-Busch. Ms. Katz left the company in 2008, fed up with what she perceived as blatant sexism. “I worked with nearly all men. They didn’t consider us their peers,” she told the Washington Post. In 2009, she filed a lawsuit saying her colleagues fostered a “locker room and frat party atmosphere.”

Ms. Katz lost the lawsuit because the jury decided that her salary was not affected by her gender. Still, “She said she earned less than 18 male peers on the strategy committee and less than half of her predecessor … She made about $1 million in 2002, the year she was promoted to vice president of communications. [Her predecessor], however, made $4.5 million in 2001.”

Beer Business Sexism Not Limited to Creepy Ads