The end of the year is full of retrospectives, “best of” lists and all that good stuff that makes us nostalgic for another year gone by.
So who am I to deny you such cliched excitement? But with a beery twist, of course. This week, we learned most the Googled beer searches of 2013:
Most searched beer brands on Google in the US in 2013: 1. Blue Moon, 2. Bud Light, 3. Bud Light Platinum, 4. Kingfisher
— darren rovell (@darrenrovell) December 17, 2013
If you’re like me you see that list and think “what the hell is Kingfisher?” But then I decided to give in to my nerdy tendencies and jump back into the foray of Google search trends to see if we could get a better idea what this list means. If you need a refresher on my work with Google Trends, check out my series that ran earlier this year.
What I found was really interesting. Turns out, even if Blue Moon is the most searched beer in America, it may not be the beer really capturing our interest…
The past year was a big one for MillerCoors-owned Blue Moon, which was named America’s most popular beer, usurping the throne from Bud Light. What you see below is a GIF’d animation showing the popularity of searches for “Blue Moon beer” by state. The darker the blue, the more searches. The map shows four six-month periods for posterity’s sake – Jan to June and July to Dec for 2012 and then 2013:
Here’s the thing: results seen above are for “blue moon beer,” not “blue moon.” That’s because, as the San Francisco Weekly points out, there was a lunar event in 2013 known as “blue moon” that pushed a lot of searches for the phrase “blue moon.”
I will say that the number of searches and shaded structure of that map is probably the most I’ve seen for a specific beer. There’s no doubt the public has curiosity in Blue Moon (the beer).
And even though we can’t pinpoint Google interest in MillerCoors’ Blue Moon, the beer still saw a huge 2013, which leads me to believe that looking up any version of Blue Moon this year would have induced the most-searched beer of 2013.
But you know what? This is the Google trend line that caught my attention (click to enlarge):
In this scenario, what was Americans’ most-searched “beer” in 2013? Why it was “IPA,” of course. Then it was Bud Light, then “craft beer,” then “blue moon beer” and Bud Light Platinum.
There’s obviously no perfect way to analyze this because of the whole “blue moon” vs. “blue moon beer” shenanigans, but if I was a beer fan – even more so if I was in the beer business – this is the chart I’d want to focus on. We know IPAs sell like gangbusters and we know craft beer sales continue to grow.
So instead of hailing Blue Moon as the new king of beers, let’s not forget American beer drinkers latest and greatest obsession: the hop.
- Red, White and IPA: The American Love Affair Continues
- Long Live the King? Hops, IPAs and Beer Business
“Don’t drink to get drunk. Drink to enjoy life.” — Jack Kerouac