Saturday, April 23, 2011

Beer Surpasses Water, Tea, and Coffee as Beverage of Choice

Beer: it’s not just for watching football games anymore.

The American Beverage Association has just released the results of a survey that suggests that beer has recently surpassed bottled waters, teas, soft-drinks, and juices in popularity in the United States. When contacted for more information, an ABA spokesman declined any lengthy comments on the matter only offering that the industry was “pursuing new products incorporating beer” in order to profit from the nation’s newfound interest in “tubby beverages”.

We wanted to understand how this wave of popularity is being felt closer to home so we spoke with a Wilkes-Barre PA brewer who informed us that his business has never been better. “As you’d expect we’re supplying lots of kegs to bars and restaurants, but also to ordinary citizens for events like baby and wedding showers, bar and bat mitzvahs and even to some nursing homes. And we recently had contact from a local pet hotel operator who inquired as to the suitability of our beers for small pets.” The brewer continued, “I have noticed a disturbing side-effect though, that many people arriving at the brewery for their kegs, have to be assisted out of their cars due to their oversize midsections.”

We visited a local beer bar for a chance to speak with a few patrons to get their thoughts. We found two who were enjoying some beers from the draught list over lunch. Both declined to identify themselves as they were there on their lunch hour and didn’t want their bosses to know where they were. “It’s an addiction,” one said. “I keep a notebook at home with every beer I’ve ever tasted and it’s up over 1,000 now. And I’ve only been doing this for two years.” During our conversation, the other patron in the bar was furiously swyping the keyboard on his phone so we asked what he was so engaged in. “I’m tweeting about this awesome Trappist ale from Chimay.” When we asked, “What’s a Trappist?”, he responded, “Oh, they’re the high priests of beer from somewhere in Europe. No really. They’re priests that make beer.”

It seems the overwhelming interest in beer has an interesting economic side effect too. We visited a Mr. Z’s grocery store and found the soft-drink manager sadly looking at an aisle and two end-caps brimming with soda. When we approached to get his opinion on the lack of interest in these drinks he intoned that “My pay depends on me moving product and no one’s buying this sugary crap anymore.” But he did get a gleam in his eyes when he concluded, “I can’t wait `til the governor lets us sell beer in here though, I‘m gonna be rich.”

With bottle shops and beer bars catering to a wide array of tastes, blogs and #beer tweets proselytizing about beer, and beer menus, brewery tasting rooms, beer and food pairing dinners, cooking with beer, brewpubs, gastropubs, micro and macro breweries, nano-breweries, pico-breweries, beer of the month clubs, Cicerones, shows about beer on television, radio, and internet, and who knows what else proliferating like dandelions, it’s no surprise that beer has become as American as apple pie and a fat gut.

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