Craft breweries may be popping up every which way you turn, but there is no denying the guilty pleasure of your favorite cheap beer. PBR, Yuengling, Coors, Bud - they all have their own fan base. Your flavor of choice, however, may be influenced more by your surroundings than your taste buds. Craft beer is good and all, but nothing says American beer more than the best cheap beers in the Country.
In a modern scientific approach, authors of the paper "Offline Brews and Online Views: Exploring the Geography of Beer on Twitter" Matt Zook and Ate Poorthuis tackle the investigation of popular cheap brews according to America's region by relying on the social media powers of Twitter. The keen urge to share a post or "check in" allowed their drinking status to be utilized as a statistic. After analyzing a "database of one million geotagged tweets", it became clear that beer drinkers who tweet have a distinct preference according to region.
Some of the results are not so surprising. Washington prefers Olympia, the Rockies choose Coors, and Texas wants Lone Star. Schlitz and Grain Belt are the upper Midwest beers of choice, New England opts for Sam Adam, and Corona along with Dos Equis are preferred in states along the Mexican border.
What's interesting is that some brews of choice were not local to the regional masses drinking them. Even more interesting is that some of these states experience an overlap in preference. Goose Island has spread into the surrounding states of Wisconsin, Indiana, and Michigan, making it the alternate choice to Schlitz. It also appears that Dos Equis is next best to Lone Star in Texas.
The stronghold of ice-cold Yuengling in Florida could surprise some, unless of course you live in Florida - they bought the Strohl brewery in Tampa. As the oldest brewery and top craft brewery in 2016 in the United States - yes, Yuengling is craft - it has its own special place in the heart of beer drinkers in the southern states.
Some beers were completely left off the map including Miller High Life, Bud Light, Narragansett, Coors Light, Keystone Light, Rolling Rock, and Michelob. The King of Beers is not the King of Cheap American Beers and The Champagne of Beers is swept aside. Is it surprising, yes, but it's also worth noting this survey was small and sporadic.
One thing is for certain, you can't mess with the influential power of big beer. Despite Budweiser being brewed in 12 locations nationwide, it's biggest regional following still lies with the good people of Missouri.
Suffice to say, our cheap beer decisions may very well lie in a force greater than ourselves. It's the powerful force of nature and nurture. What you're daddy drank and what the social influence of those around you dictate has the power to determine what your pallet desires. And so does history.
Macro or not, many of these beers play a deep role in American history that still lives on today. And this regional map proves it.
Watch: The Health Benefits of Beer