Beer By The Numbers [Infographics]

Beer. Americans drink 50 billion pints a year of the stuff (and spend enough doing it to match Colombia’s national GDP). We enjoy debating our favorite beers, collecting beer labels to show our friends which beers we’ve consumed, and inventing games involving quarters and ping pong balls just so we can have an excuse to drink more beer. But how much do we love beer exactly? And not “how much” in some ethereal poetic sort of way, but how much in the mathematical, quantifiable, CPA sort of way.

Here at Bundle, we crunch aggregated, anonymous data culled from the credit card usage of more than 20 million households around the country to help paint a picture of real-world human behavior. Our army of MIT grads fine-tuned the numbers to present a clear, fact-based portrait of how and where Americans consume their favorite yeasty beverage. 

How and Where Americans Spend Their Beer Money

According to our survey of consumer spending habits over the past two years, we found a noticeable uptick in the percentage of beer bar patronage from the millennials (those aged 21 to 25), but a perceptible drop in the 50+ set. For example, our data shows that half of the customers scrolling through Birmingham, AL’s The J. Clyde’s voluminous beer menu are under 35, as compared to other restaurants in the area, which average only a quarter of their customers between 18 and 35.
 

 

We were also able to detect a very clear bell curve of how much money consumers spent at beer bars. Roughly a quarter of all checks were below $50, and the median total bill was only $30. Thirty dollars in beer amounts to about six pints per outing (very rough math: average pint in the U.S. is around $4.00, and we’ll throw the bartender a $1 tip for each drink, or a healthy tip for the waitress). A $30 evening with your friends or a casual date isn’t a bad deal. And, as we saw above, a night out at the local beer joint is an increasingly popular choice for younger imbibers who, in this shaky economy, aren’t willing or able to invest much more on entertainment. For example, The Moan and Dove—an Amherst, MA bar, which our algorithm awarded with a high Bundle score—has proven popular among young couples and the 26 to 35 set, but only sets patrons back an average of $21.

 

The data also reveals that the majority of beer bar patrons in our survey (65.5%) were below the age of 50. This is data you’d expect to see, as older drinkers tend to gravitate away from beer and towards wine and spirits. Still, more than a quarter of all beer bar customers fall into the 50–65 age demo, followed by a sharp drop-off for the 65+ set. The data seems to indicate that Americans enjoy going out for a beer fairly regularly until they hit that mid-century mark and only then begin to change up their habits. The Grey Lodge Pub in North Philadelphia, for example, which has 25 beers on tap and is routinely named one of America’s best beer bars, averages a third of its clientele between 36 and 49 years old.

 

 

So, there you have it. A cold analytical look at our favorite bubbly magical liquid. Want to see how your favorite neighborhood bar adds up—or find a somewhere new for a drink or two or six? Then check in with our Merchant Recommender for all the delicious algorithmic glory you can handle. Cheers.

 

 

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