BeerCity USA poll retires, ‘served its purpose’

After five years, beer blogger Charlie Papazian is retiring his annual BeerCity USA poll measuring community support for local craft beer, claiming the poll has “served its purpose.” Asheville won the poll two years (2010-11) and tied two more (2009 and 2012).

From Papazian’s blog:

For five consecutive years I presented the BeerCity USA poll here in this column. Usually, in March and plans for American Craft Beer Week the poll began its rev-up for the May balloting. But there will be no more BeerCity USA poll. I am retiring the BeerCity USA poll because it has served its purpose.

In 2009 when I came up with the idea of a BeerCity USA it was in reaction to all the numerical statistics that were defining the craft brewing world. Statistics for productions volume, number of breweries, per capita consumption, percentage growth, number of startups, number of failures, hypothetical statistical trend projections, etc. I thought of the quote from Aaron Levenstein (former Business Professor), “Statistics are like bikinis: what they reveal is suggestive, but what they conceal is vital”

The point I thought was missing was a measure of community support for craft brewers and the spirit of community they were helping to build. This in my opinion was essential and fundamental to the success of small and independent brewers in America, but no one was really giving craft brewery enthusiasts and beer drinkers any credit for the unparalleled growth and success of America’s craft brewers. Their role in the equation for success and revolution was sorely missing from the “statistics” that were defining the beer phenomenon sweeping this country.

It was quite obvious from the 156,000 votes cast from 2009 to 2013 that beer mattered. But a mobilization of many beer communities happened in ways never before observed. It wasn’t just about the beer but about the community spirit behind the craft brewing movement.


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