Newcastle Beer Censors “Unattractive” Women

As far as beer commercials are concerned, women might as well be blow-up sex dolls — as long as they’re pretty dolls. But in what looks (at first) like a win for feminism, Newcastle Brown Ale is running a TV commercial featuring a female brewmaster. The commercial goes on and on about her skilled hands, showing them sifting through barley and such. But wait for the punchline:

“Why do we focus so much on our brewmaster’s hands? Because she’s not an attractive woman.”

Yes, beer companies aren’t known for subtlety, but come on. It almost makes me nostalgic for the days when they just showed pretty women but didn’t come out and say “we won’t even look at any female who doesn’t make us pitch a tent.”

I may be giving the fraternity of beer and advertising executives too much credit here, but maybe they are feeling threatened by the growing number of successful female professionals (there is one in their midst: they employ a female brewmaster) and are lashing out with a reminder that however successful, talented, or smart we are, to them we are still no more than sex dolls.

I call for a truce in the war on Rush Limbaugh’s advertisers just long enough to require Newcastle to advertise only on his show. They deserve each other. Currently, and inexplicably, the commercial is running on Jon Stewart’s “The Daily Show.” To give them a shout-out about the ad, call The Daily Show at 212.468.1700. (They suggested I call Comedy Central Viewer Services at 212.767.8642, but that number got me to a full voicemail box.)

Then take a moment to let Newcastle (owned by Heineken) know how you feel. I called customer service at 1.877.522.4577. You can also email the company at

UPDATE: Heineken’s Senior Director of Corporate Communications, Tara Carraro, contacted me after reading this post on She said that Newcastle’s intent was to call out the “BS” in “typical beer ads that only show attractive women.” The company thought it clear that the hands of the actor playing the brewmaster in the commercial were male, and therefore clear that the comment about the brewmaster not being “an attractive woman” was tongue-in-cheek.

The problem with this explanation is that, as Ms. Carraro confirmed, the script refers to the brewmaster as “she.” The line “she’s not an attractive woman” makes no sense if the brewmaster is male. It does make sense that the unattractive woman has mannish hands like those in the ad.

I applaud the company’s prompt response to my post and the message Ms. Carraro says Newcastle meant to send. But they didn’t send that message. Changing one pronoun in the narration would make a world of difference; otherwise, the commercial should be pulled. As it stands it is not a wry commentary on beer commercials’ blatant sexism but an example of it.

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10 thoughts on “Newcastle Beer Censors “Unattractive” Women

  1. mary says:

    you are unattractive sexist pigs. your male marketing dept have lost most of the female customers, who are overweight, not perfect over a size 16. not to mention th einfirmed and disabled. this comercial helps your competition and you should fire the males that use their small head to make an insult to any decint person. tell those pigs to stop the strip clubs poro, and realize they are sick animals to make such a commercial. gead my hands the middle finger is extended . my hands are not pretty but id like to put it up all your buts. my opinion

  2. Anita says:

    Yo i thought it was funny. and i liked the fact that they have a woman brew master. if you wanna be up in arms about something how about getting mad about something really bad for woman. movies about woma in high-powered jobs realizing the “error of their ways” and giving it all up for love. NOW THATS OFFENSIVE you make sane femminists like me look bad with your misderected rage. whens the last time you’ve laughed? i mean really chuckled at a commercial. and i bet that THIS commercial prompted you to write this but i did hear peep one out of you for all the car commercials with how wmoman slapping people or hot woman encouraging the purchase of a car with their bodies. no our mad about humor. Im the only post here so maybe you should listen to the one response you’ve got
    this isnt stopping the glass ceiling ya know. you just make us all look as unfriendly as u

  3. Debbie says:

    I agree with Mary. If the intent of this commercial was to be funny that they only show her hands because she is otherwise un-attractive, this is offensive not funny. I too liked the fact they had a woman brewmaster, but the punchline was rude. Mary did not have mis-directed rage, she was making a good point using her hands giving the pig who wrote the commercial the one fingered salute to his or her dim witlessness. Don’t ask Mary when was the last time she laughed. This punchline said nothing at all funny. There is no humor in saying someone man or woman is not attractive enough to show on TV. Anita you should be ashamed of yourself for putting down someone who is voicing there opinion.

    • Ronnie says:

      Duh, you too, the person they are showing in the commercial is a MAN, who they REFER to as an “unattractive woman” – Now do you get it??? The point is, most people think the person in the commercial is a woman – Newcastle thinks it was clear that it was a man, but there is nothing clear about this dumb ad, and in my opinion it is even more insulting that they make people think that the brewmaster is a woman when it’s a man!

  4. gloria says:

    Both Me & I My Husband couldnt beleive our ears when we saw this commercial today. We both found it offensive to women. Cant beleive it was even put on TV. Rude !

  5. Emiily says:

    I also saw this commercial on The Travel Channel(late at night), and I did not take it as a joke! I thought it was blatant sexism, and I was very angry. Out of all of the unattractive men they put on TV and in the movies, they complained that the brewmaster(a woman) wasn’t attractive. What a double standard! Time to write to The Travel Channel and Heineken and ask them to either change the commercial or pull it.

  6. Michelle says:

    Come on people,it was funny. In life you can find something wrong with almost anything that anyone says. You need to get over it and move on. If you don’t like the commercial, don’t buy the product. And for the record,life is full of attractive and unattractive people, most of that does not come from their physical appearance.

    • Jean Mensinger says:

      No Bullocks! The commercial is incredibly funny! I’m an average size, average looking almost 50 year old woman that has a great sense of humor. I can find a lot more important things to get offended by. This is just a commercial. If you need to make a stand, don’t buy the beer. I however, will continue to buy and enjoy my favorite beer. Let’s all raise our stein to New Castle Brown Ale!!

  7. peter says:

    It is a joke people, the person in the commercial is a man!

  8. Julie says:

    The feminists need to relax, they’re showing they can start an argument over anything. The commercial is funny. No need to get upset about it

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