Since the dawn of man, we have exhibited a bizarre and innate desire to compare and contrast. It’s not enough to be good … is it better or worse than something else? Here some things I have heard debated …
- What’s the most important invention of all time? Fire, paper, or the internet?
- Who would win a one-on-one basketball game? Michael Jordan or Wilt Chamberlain?
- What’s the most disappointing movie sequel of all-time? Actually, there’s no debate here – it’s Caddyshack 2.
Along with debates like these, you’ve also likely run across lists of “The Best ____” in each state, city, region, etc. Just like the comparison game, these lists are incredibly subjective and prone to massive leaps of faith and logic in order to come to a nice, tidy conclusion. More often than not, they’re just there for the click-bait and actually hope that you’ll hate what they shared. Because if you’re angry, you share and comment … and they get more hits.
Knowing this, I’m still here to discuss a list that I found particularly egregious in their flawed logic. This particular list used only fact-based criteria in order to create the content, which is certainly laudable. But there are two steps to create a fact-based list that actually carries some credibility: 1) stick to the numbers, and 2) use numbers that actually matter and prove the point. Groupon ignored the latter. In a recently published article, Groupon set out to list the “Best State for Beer Lovers.” Intrigued by the title, I dove in. My first stop was at the metrics used to create the list. After all – “best state for beer” can be a very subjective discussion, and I couldn’t imagine how they’d come to their conclusions. Thankfully, they shared the three main data points:
Groupon proudly shares that their quality ranking is based on “each state’s top 5-rated beer scores on BeerAdvocate.com.” Wait, are they serious? Top five? Meaning 5? ONLY 5?? Ummmm, based on that theory … if one brewery churned out the 5 greatest beers in the world, and literally every other beer in the state was complete garbage, this state would be ranked as having the highest quality. That’s a bold strategy, Cotton.
I’m going to paste this one directly. Because you can’t make this stuff up.
“The overall affordability ranking considered both the cost of a 12oz. Miller Lite in bars and the cost of a 24-pack of Miller Lite or Bud Light in stores (Total Wine and Walmart, specifically).” I’m sorry, but what? You’re going to base the results of a study on the best states for BEER LOVERS on the average price of MILLER LITE??? Checking the calendar …. confirmed. This is not April 1st. They’re actually serious.
Groupon went straight into patting-themselves-on-the-back mode here. They looked for the number of beer-related Groupons offered per 1,000 residents. This could only barely, tangentially be related to beer-related enthusiasm. I’m stretching to give them a sliver of credit on this one. And it’s a massive, massive stretch. How about average line length at bottle releases?
To say this list was patently laughable is a gross understatement. But at least we now know that Michigan is a great place to go for cheap Miller Lite and Nevada churns out Groupons like crazy. I’ll sleep better tonight. If you’d like a less ridiculous list than Groupon’s version, try this one from Beer Connoisseur. I particularly appreciate their disclaimer at the bottom:
Building a list ranking the 50 states of brewing is incredibly hard. There’s no way to effectively quantify or qualify a state’s beer scene. With more than 7,000 breweries in the U.S., there’s plenty of quality beer in each state as well as exceptionally gifted brewers perfecting their craft.
The takeaway? Read all of these lists online with a salt lick-sized grain of salt. Except for the ones BabyGotBeer creates. Those are completely legit.