Americans started drinking more alcohol amid the COVID-19 pandemic, according to data from Nielsen. Though pandemic-related lifestyle changes altered our alcohol consumption habits, increasing consumer preferences for wine and spirits, beer is still the nation’s favorite alcoholic beverage, preferred by 46% of those who drink alcohol (versus 37% for spirits and 17% for wine), according to a study by American Addiction Centers. (These are America’s top-selling beer brands.)
It’s no wonder, then, that beer is big business in the United States. The beer industry generated more than $331 billion in 2020 alone, which is about 1.6% of the country’s total gross domestic product, according to a study conducted on behalf of the Beer Institute, an organization representing the interests of beer makers and distributors nationwide.
The average American aged 21 and over consumes just over 28 gallons of beer a year, amounting to about a six pack a week. Consumption tends to vary considerably across the country, however. This is at least partially due to access to and quality of the beverage in different states and cities.
To compile a list of the 30 best cities to drink a good beer, 24/7 Tempo reviewed the results of a survey on the subject from Lawn Love, a lawn care resource site that frequently analyzes data around various lifestyle topics. Lawn Love evaluated factors including accessibility (including the number of beer and brewery tours per 100,000 residents), quality, affordability, and community (including average annual beer consumption and number of beer festivals and other events).
One geographic area dominates the top of the list: Six of the 10 best cities for beer lovers – and more than a third of 30 on the list – are on the West Coast. Cities in states located in the Rocky Mountains and Midwest regions also appear frequently. (Here’s a list of the top-rated beer from every state and D.C.)
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