BeerCity poll closes with Asheville in clear lead

A passion for craft beer and social media appear to have been the recipe for success in this year’s BeerCity USA poll, conducted by Charlie Papazian, beer critic of the Charlotte Examiner. The poll closed at 11:59 p.m. Mountain time, May 23, at the end of American Craft Beer Week. With the Examiner site indicating “poll closed,” the two top ranking cities registered the following scores: Asheville 39.9 percent; Portland 34.1 percent.

This was the poll’s second year. Asheville and Portland took the clear lead early in the poll and retained it, with each one leading at different points during the week. But Asheville pulled out in front on Saturday and then retained its lead through the end of the poll.

Asheville websites and Twitter were filled with news of the poll and admonitions to vote. In the end, Asheville, with a population about one-tenth that of Portland and even less than that of other other competing U.S. cities, outvoted them all.

No official winner has yet been declared by the Examiner.com in Charlotte.

Last year, Asheville and Portland tied, with Papazian declaring one city “Beer City USA East” and the other “Beer City USA West.” In the 2009 online poll, thousands of votes were cast, with the two cities each scoring about 6,000 votes, according to Papazian.

In what was the first such online poll last year, Xpress reported: “[M]ore than 16,000 people from 46 countries cast ballots between March 18 and May 7, wrote Papazian, a seminal figure in the craft-beer renaissance who founded the Association of Brewers and the American Homebrewers Association. The seesawing vote was close right up to the end. And while conceding that the poll wasn’t scientific, Papazian said it was ‘indicative of the efforts put forth by various communities.’ “

“One thing that a poll like this indicates is the degree of beer culture and networks that exist in various areas of the country,” Papazian said last year. “It helps to bring to the forefront that beer culture, beer community and beer enthusiasm are relevant forces in the quest for access to better beer. … I saw an effective mobilization of beer communities in several areas of America.”

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About Jeff Fobes
As a long-time proponent of media for social change, my early activities included coordinating the creation of a small community FM radio station to serve a poor section of St. Louis, Mo. In the 1980s I served as the editor of the "futurist" newsletter of the U.S. Association for the Club of Rome, a professional/academic group with a global focus and a mandate to act locally. During that time, I was impressed by a journalism experiment in Mississippi, in which a newspaper reporter spent a year in a small town covering how global activities impacted local events (e.g., literacy programs in Asia drove up the price of pulpwood; soybean demand in China impacted local soybean prices). Taking a cue from the Mississippi journalism experiment, I offered to help the local Green Party in western North Carolina start its own newspaper, which published under the name Green Line. Eventually the local party turned Green Line over to me, giving Asheville-area readers an independent, locally focused news source that was driven by global concerns. Over the years the monthly grew, until it morphed into the weekly Mountain Xpress in 1994. I've been its publisher since the beginning. Mountain Xpress' mission is to promote grassroots democracy (of any political persuasion) by serving the area's most active, thoughtful readers. Consider Xpress as an experiment to see if such a media operation can promote a healthy, democratic and wise community. In addition to print, today's rapidly evolving Web technosphere offers a grand opportunity to see how an interactive global information network impacts a local community when the network includes a locally focused media outlet whose aim is promote thoughtful citizen activism. Follow me @fobes

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2 thoughts on “BeerCity poll closes with Asheville in clear lead

  1. Jim Donato

    I don’t drink, have never even tasted beer and I don’t plan on changing that. But the advanced beer culture in Asheville makes the city just an all around better place to be! Case in point: I visited Athens, Georgia two months ago. It was a nice enough place, but the downtown area was packed with a plethora of cheap suds best geared towards indiscriminate collegiate drinkers, and that definitely colored the rest of the city. Not so when I visited Portland, another city with sophisticated beer culture. Portland had a more civilized vibe, like Asheville; albeit with more population than I’d care to share a city with.

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