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.”