As lager producers increasingly target women, real ale brewers have revealed they also are attempting to take some of the beard out of beer.

Female-led business Brewster’s is hoping to broaden the appeal of real ale to women with its bottled beers a 5.5% abv Porter and a 5.5% Pale Ale (rsp: £2.09/330ml) which were launched at the end of last year.

Its beers feature labels inspired by 20th century Art Nouveau drinks advertisements and are targeted at both men and women.

“We’re doing a lot of work to avoid putting off women,” said co-founder Sara Barton, adding that more varieties including an IPA and a pils-style beer were planned for later this year. “Some of the Belgian bottled beers have made women realise there are some interesting drinks out there.”

Barton and Oldershaw Brewery co-owner Kathy Britton are collaborating on Project Venus, which was formed this year to bring together female brewers and boost the appeal of real ale to women.

“The idea of a particular beer for women, like Molson Coors’ Animée for example, is dumbing down,” claimed Britton.

“It comes down to the marketing. Advertisements should be less focused on males they all feature lads down the pubs with their mates, which isn’t helping.”

Half the battle was getting women to try real ale in the first place, said Campaign for Real Ale ­director Christine Cryne. Interest was growing and the proportion of women who have tried real ale has doubled in the past three years to 32%, she added.

“We’ve seen more women visiting the Great British Beer Festival than we did a decade ago. But if supermarkets did more sampling cheese and beer events, for example that could help draw women into the category.”

Molson Coors unveiled its female-friendly Animée beer brand exclusively in The Grocer last month.

The 4% abv beer is lower in calories and less carbonated than standard beer ­offerings, and is available in a range of flavours including standard, lemon and rosé.