April 2, 2014
Twitter Mapping Project Reveals Regional Preferences Of US Beer Drinkers
redOrbit Staff & Wire Reports - Your Universe Online
Thanks to a recent Twitter mapping project, experts from the University of Kentucky have managed to determine that adults living in the Eastern half of the United States prefer to drink Bud Light, while Coors Light is the preferred brand of beer for those living in the Western half – especially in and around the state of Colorado.
In addition, associate professor of geography Matthew Zook and PhD student Ate Poorthuis used recent social media posts and geotagging to discover that residents of the Midwest and Great Plains preferred Miller Lite, and those living in the southern border regions appeared to favor the flavor of brands such as Corona and Dos Equis.
Zook and Poorthuis looked at a million tweets that included location-associated information that contained keywords such as beer and wine. The tweets, which were sent between June 2012 and May 2013, mentioned several best-selling, well-known and/or inexpensive brands of primarily light and pale lagers.
“The Twitter maps quite accurately reflect various regions' history and cultural practices surrounding beer production and consumption, and show just how much reality and cyberspace overlap,” Zook said in a statement Tuesday. The findings were included in a chapter of the new book The Geography of Beer.
“Beer, like many other social practices, may be millenniums old but the socio-spatial practices associated with it – checking into a brewery, posting a review, geotagging a photo – continue to evolve and therefore our approaches to data and research must also evolve to capture these geographies,” added Poorthuis.
While the researchers said that they are not surprised by the popularity of Bud Light and Coors Light on the microblogging service, they said that the geographic presence of the latter beer brand in the Western US demonstrated the overall preferences in different states or regions. Furthermore, they found this trend was more prevalent when examining Yuengling, Grain Belt, Busch Light and other brands with smaller market shares.
The authors also reported that the tweet-mapping project also found a regional variation in preference for beer or wine. The majority of wine-related tweets were sent by wine-growing regions such as northern and central California, Oregon and Washington. Residents of the both US coastal regions were also found to tweet more often about wine, while people from several Midwestern states, Kansas, Oklahoma and Texas posted primarily about beer.
The Geography of Beer, which was edited by Mark Patterson and Nancy Hoalst Pullen, also contains sections on the geography of beer in ancient Europe, American breweries between 1776 and 2012, the geography of microbreweries and brewpubs in the US, the economic and cultural craft-brewing explosion that has taken place since 1985, and efforts by the beer-making industry to become more environmentally friendly.