Last week, we looked at a wide variety of takeaways from my deep dive into the “best beers” each state offers, according to Beer Advocate users, but there were two hodgepodge cases of analysis that didn’t easily fit in. Still, if the work is there, it’s worth sharing.
Let’s grab a pint and enjoy these last couple sips of information and I’ll leave it up to you as to whether there’s something I might have missed.
Best Beer and Income
I honestly had no idea if this was a connection that would exist. Essentially, I took (deep breath) the proprietary weighted rank (WR) system used by Beer Advocate and the average ABV of each state’s top-10 beers and matched them with the 2013 median household income, per the U.S. Census.
I’ve got the full list and extra data in this PDF, but to keep things in line with previous posts, here’s a top-25 and bottom-26 breakdown, with each list’s averages at the bottom. I’ve sorted them by WR, to take into consideration that the best possible beers should cost more and may show a correlation with households bringing in more income.
|State||WR||Avg ABV||2013 Median Household|
|State||WR||Avg ABV||2013 Median Household|
… and for easy comparison, here are the averages side-by-side:
|WR||Avg ABV||2013 Median Household|
There are very clear differences here in each category, but as to what they mean, I’m not so sure.
From our look at ABV and ratings and each state’s best beer, these lists reinforce where the “bad” best beer comes from. The bottom of the bottom-26 features states that aren’t necessarily known for their brewing prowess, but I don’t know if we can place a direct connection to “poor” quality beer and lower incomes.
I tried to make some connections with these maps that highlight the geography of beer preference via social media, but aside from highlighting states like Bud, Miller and Coors (which is everywhere) I couldn’t figure it out.
It’s perfectly fine if there is no connection at all, but there may be something tangential in there somewhere.
Color/Style of Beer and Temperature
A brief look at climate showed that there isn’t any direct connection we should worry about, but I left out one section that reinforces that idea.
We know that the average Standard Reference Method, or SRM, for all our 507 best beers is 18, which roughly puts the “average” best beer’s color somewhere around what an amber beer would look like, thanks in part to 82 imperial stouts included in the list. The higher the number, the darker the beer, which made me think that colder states would have higher average SRM because if you’re cold all the time you’d love some stouts and porters, right?
From my full list of states and DC, I picked all states with an average SRM at 20 or above. That gave me 20 states which had an average SRM of 22, four points above our national average.
Then, I halved that again to end up with the 10 coldest states from that list. Their average SRM? 22.
So, with the idea of “cold-weather” beers seemingly shot, to suggest it again:
I feel this simply points out what we already know about American beer fans, however: we like variety and brewers will create whatever they like, wherever they like.
Have I Learned Anything?
This is the most important question, as the hours I’ve spent analyzing and writing about all this data must be fore something, right?
While some of the findings from this work may amount to reinforcing perceived norms (people love high-ABV beers, etc.) I firmly believe the numbers we’ve looked over have been necessary if we want to prove these points. Anecdotes only take us so far.
But don’t think of this as “the end” of this kind of work, as some of my previous research into beer ratings have shown that our tastes may slowly be shifting. These rankings change daily and offer an opportunity for more discussion and analysis. I welcome your continued comments and questions with the hope it might drive that forward.
Most of all, I have this very important takeaway: never seek out beer from the Dakotas.
In the meantime, here’s the full list of posts from this Beer Advocate series, which represents the greatest amount of work I’ve done on any special report. Thanks so much for following along:
- A State-by-State Analysis of Beer Advocate Rankings: Setting the Stage
- The United States of Beer (According to Beer Advocate)
- The Big Beer Impact: Does ABV Influence Rankings?
- Here’s the Best Beer from Every State. Hold onto Your Livers.
- An Experiment with Beer Advocate’s Best: A Beer So American, You Could Salute It
- What Beer Advocate’s “Low” ABV Beers Tell Us About Preference
- A Final Look at Beer Advocate “Best Beer” Data
“Don’t drink to get drunk. Drink to enjoy life.” — Jack Kerouac