[…]

Occasionally – and you may find this difficult to believe – I find myself in a local hostelry, at the bar, seeking some form of refreshing beverage.

This was the case last week, when I was in a pub in Bloomsbury with a male friend. We were scouring the menu, and realised this particular establishment was currently advertising a Festival of Ciders (I know, right?). I glanced through the cider list, looking at names, prices and descriptions. Then I began to turn purple with rage.

“What’s the matter?” my friend asked. I could only splutter and gesticulate wildly at the CiderFest promotional flyer, which boasted the Jacques Orchard Fruits, and described it as being “perfect for the girls in the house. This lightly sparkling cider comes in a wine-like bottle, which is ideal for the more caring and sharing types. So come on, ladies, think Jacques as the perfect alternative to ‘a glass of white wine, please’!”

Notwithstanding the terrible copywriting – cider for girls? I mean, I know that particular forms of food and drink have been marketed as aimed at men and women for years and years and years, but cider – really? I’d never really considered that a gendered drink. And I’m not entirely sure how one form of fizzy fermented apple juice is more suitable for “the ladies” than another.

Anyway, suffice to say, once I’d recovered my aplomb, I ranted at my friend for a bit. Then I went to the bar and did not order any form of cider.