by Brielee Lu
Around the world, pop culture and media have always portrayed beer alongside “bro culture,” aggressive tailgating, and more often than not in the hands of stereotypical blue-collar men. Breweries like Anheuser-Busch’s Bud Light and Dos Equis Beers have advertised their products as the key to becoming the “man’s man,” or “the most interesting man in the world.” Beer is widely portrayed as the most masculine beverage, which is exactly what Martina Smirnov’s company, Aurosa, is changing.
After finishing fashion design school in Milan, Martina Smirnov was inspired by her family's small brewery in Prague and wanted to combine two parts of her life from drastically different domains: beer and fashion. As a Czech native, she grew up in a country synonymous with beer culture, but she felt that many women were uncomfortable drinking beer because it didn't culturally feel like it was for women. Smirnov wanted to give women a beer that not only tasted good, but felt good and made them feel more comfortable.
People were attracted by the stylish and elegant look of the Aurosa bottle, and it appeared in the Berlin Beer festival branded as #BEERFORHER. However, Aurosa soon encountered controversy for representing feminism incorrectly. People worldwide were focused on why women would need a beautifully packaged beer in order to enjoy it, when Aurosa was really created to provide inclusion and comfortability. Millions of people tuned into the dissension, but a familiar story was being told. People who believed in feminism were distracted from the collective goal of equality to criticize the way another feminist wanted to create change. Even with all of the online negativity toward Martina Smirnov, she was not fazed and had to show the world she even laughed at the free publicity.
After the backlash, she was influenced by yin and yang and the idea of balance, leading to Aurosa launching the GOLD edition.
Martina Smirnov has become an entrepreneur, overcome national backlash, and influenced the image of beer in just 5 years with Aurosa, and plans to stimulate even more conversation in the future. "If you have a strong idea, there will be definitely many people who won’t agree with you," she says. "But it’s all fine, you cannot please everyone...keep going forward because nobody can say what is good or bad to you." She wants to show women around the world that "they can do it if they dream it!"