In the age of Amazon, when much of the world is but a click away from having any product they can imagine shipped to their doorstep in just two days, beer is stubbornly anachronistic, a globalization holdout that’s subject to the physical locations of breweries, along with the regional patterns of alcohol distributors.
It’s a picture painted well by the team from Floating Sheep, who compiled a million tweets, scanning for words like “beer” and “wine” to plot the alcoholic preferences across the U.S. What they uncovered is essentially the United States of Cheap Beer–a map of the generic, though perfectly tasty, lagers and pilsners that we loyally drink region by region.
For the most part, the visualization reinforces half-marketed, half-social stereotypes. Coors really does “tap the Rockies,” and people in the Lone Star state actually drink Lone Star. Corona is the beer of beaches–the kids in SoCal love it–though don’t tell Floridians and their Yuengling that. And Milwaukee’s Best is absolutely a popular drink in Milwaukee.
You’ll also spot a U.S. vs. Mexico* beer war going on in border-town regions. The data you’re seeing was measured over the period of one year, but it would be interesting to watch how beer preferences play out over time through years of tweets plotted in an animation. No doubt, you’d see not just regional cultural preferences but which companies had deployed the most effective marketing campaigns.
* Interestingly enough, Femsa, the Mexican company that makes Tecate, Dos Equis, and Sol, was just purchased by Dutch brewer Heineken. So the border war may go cross-continental.