A&P Beer Controversy

Our own Maria Grau got embroiled in a bit of a gender dust-up on Stuff.co.nz.

She was contacted by the Nelson Mail for a reaction to the story of Rachel Beer being barred from entering the Lake Hayes A&P Show in Queenstown. Presuming that show was like Nelson’s, which has had a long standing beer contest, she thought it was an antiquated rule that needed fixed.

The article was rerun on stuff.co.nz (and in the Sydney Morning Herald!) generating heaps of angry comments, with many men railing against the PC complaint and most women echoing Maria’s opinion.

Turns out (according to the Otago Daily Times) it was a new contest for Lake Hayes, part of a Blokes Only section trying to encourage men to make stuff. Seems it was clearly labeled blokes only, and done in fun.

It’s still not clear why the “Homebrew or Moonshine” class designed to attract men would need to be gender segregated, unless they feel that for some reason men would be disadvantaged in open competition? In Nelson, there’s a novice class, for example. Many commenters felt men should be able to have men’s only spaces, which is fair enough, but doesn’t really apply to dropping an entry at the faire.

The upside is that this has spotlighted the participation of women in the NZ beer scene, both professionally and as hobbyists. Maria says she hopes to see more women joining her in entering the Nelson A&P next year.

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