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This Map of the Most Popular Cheap Beers in America Is a Nightmare

OK, but we have a few questions …

Ask someone what their favorite beer is, and you’re opening the chance for some debate. Whether it be a craft stout or sour — or a good old fashion Lone Star — the debates over microbreweries and the takeover of Anheuser-Busch is sure to ruffle some feathers. Unfortunately, a new map showing the most popular cheap beer in each state has shown that people really still are drinking Budweiser.

Research agency TOP Data wanted to find out if people’s beer habits increased during the pandemic. And, if so, which inexpensive beer brand is favored above the rest.

They report their data shows that the sale of alcohol rose 8.2 percent during the pandemic. On top of that, close to 24 percent of respondents admit that they drink 20 or more beers per month. But what kind of beer are those people drinking?

TOP Data took the information they collected, including which “cheap” beer people were drinking, and popped it into an easy-to-read map. And while it’s neat and all – we do have a few questions.

At a glance, the map is majorly red, which signals Budweiser as the top named “cheap” beer in 23 states. And there are only a few scattered mentions of beer that’s not the big box store equivalent, which seems a little suspicious. I mean, Modelo exists and it’s a perfectly good cheap beer! Why all the Bud?

Especially so when we take a look at the Brewers Association sales and production statistics from 2020 which shows that craft breweries are still on the rise. Which holds true when we look at a 2020 analysis House Method compiled showing popularity metrics for 2200 breweries across the US, which didn’t mention Budweiser at all. But most popular beer — and most popular cheap beer — are two different things altogether, after all.

Unfortunately, it’s not clear how TOP Data compiled their information, or what questions they asked, or how many people were surveyed. Taking a quick look at the site, it seems like the agency was commissioned by Budweiser to “come up with a data study that would first generate insights about how the brand is perceived and then would use those insights to generate earned media that would keep the brand top of mind in between activations.”

So, take this whole thing with a grain of salt. And go give your favorite micro or small brewery some love.