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The Super Bowl Beer... By the Numbers

Eno Sarris, February 04, 2014 -   

The big game was peppered with beer ads, for beers that many of us weren't drinking. But it's a day that's inexorably linked with beer, so most of us were probably drinking beers. Were there a couple beers that played up on Sunday? Beers that saw better ratings, or more check-ins while Seattle and Denver competed?

The top 15 by count on February second looks somewhat familiar, with recent releases challenging Big Beer.

Num Brewery Beer avg
1 Samuel Adams Cold Snap 3.215
2 Miller Brewing Company Miller Lite 2.557
3 Anheuser-Busch (ABInBev) Bud Light 2.420
4 Guinness Guinness Draught 3.885
5 Lagunitas Brewing Company Lagunitas Sucks 3.817
6 Stone Brewing Co. Stone Enjoy By 02.14.14 IPA 4.020
7 Coors Brewing Company Coors Light 2.378
8 Sixpoint Brewery Hi-Res 3.678
9 Samuel Adams Rebel IPA 3.222
10 Bell's Brewery Hopslam (2014) 4.292
11 Yuengling Brewery Traditional Lager 3.229
12 Pabst Brewing Company Pabst Blue Ribbon (PBR) 2.697
13 Bell's Brewery Hopslam Ale 4.357
14 Lagunitas Brewing Company IPA 3.525

Lagunitas Sucks was released in late December. Stone Enjoy By 2/14 was bottled on 1/10. Sixpoint Hi-Res came out in mid January. Bell's Hopslam has been out since the second week of January. Even the apperance of Sam Adams' Cold Snap -- the obvious contender for the title of Super Bowl Beer -- could be somewhat explained by its late December release date. The rest are perennial top beers by count on untappd.

Let's compare Superbowl Sunday beers to beers from just a week before. Let's see if the relative counts on each day produce a beer that stands out.

Num Beer Name Brewery Avg
1 Lagunitas Sucks Lagunitas Brewing Company 3.817
2 Hi-Res Sixpoint Brewery 3.678
3 Cold Snap Samuel Adams 3.215
4 Miller Lite Miller Brewing Company 2.557
5 Bud Light Anheuser-Busch (ABInBev) 2.420
6 Traditional Lager Yuengling Brewery 3.229
7 Woodchuck Amber Hard Cider Woodchuck Cidery 2.913
8 Lagunitas Sucks (2014) Lagunitas Brewing Company 4.043
9 Nugget Nectar Troegs Brewing Company 4.004
10 All Day IPA (Session Ale) Founders Brewing Company 3.422
11 Rebel IPA Samuel Adams 3.222
12 Escape Route Boston Beer Company (Samuel Adams) 3.267
13 Red Chair NWPA Deschutes Brewery 3.714
14 Budweiser Anheuser-Busch (ABInBev) 2.517
15 Hopslam (2014) Bell's Brewery 4.292

Well, that's interesting. Woodchuck Cider, huh? That might be the token beverage for the gluten-free members of the party. I know it showed up to my superbowl party, and for that reason, so... still kind of hard to call it the superbowl beer. It's just a beverage that we had in common because gluten-free beers are so bad. It was much better than the Redbridge we had at the party, but that doesn't make it the winner.

And then we have some new releases that didn't make the first list -- Nugget Nectar, Red Chair NWPA. Worthy beers, but they'd have made some headway on any given Sunday that came close on the heels of their release dates. 

Intriguing is the fact that All Day IPA zoomed up the list. By Founders' website, the beer is available year-round. They did just add two states to their distribution list, but those states were Kansas and Nebraska. And those states didn't turn on the taps between January 26th and February second. The beer makes a nice story, too -- a session IPA for a game that requires a long session of drinking. An All-Day IPA for an all-day type of game.

If you take a look at top 200 beers that rated better on Superbowl Sunday than they did the week before, you get a more eclectic mix:

Num Beer Name Brewery Difference
1 Gumballhead Three Floyds Brewing Company 1.485
2 Conway's Irish Ale Great Lakes Brewing Company 1.484
3 Edmund Fitzgerald Great Lakes Brewing Company 0.814
4 2xIPA Southern Tier Brewing Company 0.760
5 Hopsecutioner IPA Terrapin Beer Company 0.687
6 Hop Stoopid Lagunitas Brewing Company 0.662
7 Redd's Apple Ale Redd's Brewing Company 0.598
8 Sweet Baby Jesus! DuClaw Brewing Company 0.520
9 Milk Stout Left Hand Brewing Company 0.519
10 Ten Hills Pale Ale Goose Island Beer Co. 0.481
11 420 Extra Pale Ale SweetWater Brewing Company 0.404
12 Wells Banana Bread Beer Wells & Young's Brewing Co 0.391
13 312 Urban Wheat Ale Goose Island Beer Co. 0.386
14 DirtWolf Victory Brewing Company 0.383
15 Abt 12 Brouwerij St. Bernardus 0.381

Yeah, but DirtWolf was the only beer that averaged even close to 100 check-ins on both days. That a random sampling of 50 or so drinkers on Superbowl Sunday enjoyed their Gumballhead more than the group of 50 that drank it the week before seems... random.

So let's crown Founders' All-Day IPA as the Superbowl Sunday Beer. The session beer only got the tenth-biggest jump from Sunday to Sunday, but it sat among the hot-off-the-presses beers du jour in that regard. As hot new beers spread through their distribution areas, they are likely to see big jumps in sales. But All-Day has been around, it shouldn't have large jumps...

Provided Founders didn't just release a new batch of All-Day that is only now making it to our beer coolers. But that doesn't fit the narrative.

Congratulations All-Day IPA!

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