Last year alone, nationwide alcohol sales grew by more than 5% to top $250 billion. Though some statistics suggest that we are drinking less as a nation, individual consumer spending on alcoholic beverages has increased along with the average price for alcoholic beverages.
Home to the craft beer revolution, Boston is one of the heaviest drinking cities in the United States. Bostonians consume an average of nearly 16 drinks per month according to a survey conducted by a market research firm, making them tied with Washington D.C. residents. The confluence of a high volume of college students, a dreary winter season, and a deeply rooted Irish ancestry is often cited as a foundation for this statistic.
There is no disputing that Boston loves to drink, but what is the overwhelming beverage of choice? Beer. Read on to see what research revealed to be Boston’s top 10 favorite beers.
A Look into Boston’s Beer Culture
In a city like Boston, where college students dominate, the drinking culture is a little bit different than in other cities. Massachusetts is home to over 150 commercial breweries, over 20 of which are visitable and located in the Boston metro area. Some of the biggest names in the Boston brewing industry include Dorchester Brewing Company, Trillium Brewing Company, and Harpoon Brewery & Beer Hall.
Boston also houses more than 50 colleges including Harvard University, Boston University, and Boston College. This combination seems like the perfect recipe for bars, restaurants, and independent brewers but strict blue laws and a ban on “happy hour” make things a bit more complicated. Following a drunk driving incident in the 1980s, the city made it illegal for businesses to temporarily change alcoholic beverage prices at any time during the course of the week.
Though Boston certainly has its fair share of drinkers, the cost of living in the city is high. In fact, a family of three earning a six-figure income has a monthly disposable income of -$510 (yes, that’s a negative number). In order to survive, even Boston’s most popular drinking establishments need to rely on hard data to stay in the black from one year to the next.
Analytics platforms like BeerBoard provide valuable insight for businesses looking to maximize profits in beverage sales. We collected data on Boston’s most popular beers to bring you this list of the top 10 beers in Boston.
The Top 10 Beers in Boston
Home to several nationally-known brewers like Samuel Adams and Harpoon, Boston became a hub for the developing craft beer revolution in the 1980s. Though the city itself houses over a dozen craft breweries (not to mention over 100 more in the rest of the Commonwealth), some of the top-selling beers in Boston are national favorites like Bud Light and Coors Light.
To give you some insight into the beer industry in Boston, we’ve collected data from BeerBoard bars to bring you this list of the top 10 beers in Boston.
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Bud Light is the highest-selling light beer not only in Boston but in the United States as well. Introduced in 1982 as Budweiser Light, Budweiser’s flagship beer comes in at 110 calories per 12 fluid ounces and carries a 4.2% ABV. In the decades since its original release, Bud Light has seen many adaptations including Bud Light Platinum, Bud Light Lime, and the 2012 favorite, Bud Light Lime-A-Ritas.
Brewed in Golden, Colorado, Coors Light was first produced by the Coors Brewing Company in 1978. The beer is known for its “cold certified” label which turns the pictured mountains blue when the beer’s temperature reaches 39˚F. Coors light is a 4.2% ABV light beer with 110 calories per 12-ounce can. One of the beer’s more recent claims to fame is a Gold Award from The Packaging Association (PAC), given in 2013 for the aluminum pint featuring Ball Corporation Alumi-Tek bottle.
Blue Moon Belgian White
A Belgian-style witbier brewed by MillerCoors, Blue Moon Belgian White was launched in 1995 and was originally brewed in Golden, Colorado. This beer is brewed with malted barley, white wheat, orange peel, coriander, and oats and is typically served with an orange slice. Blue Moon boasts a 5.4% ABV in its original iteration, though there are now several variations including Blue Moon Summer Ale (renamed Honey Moon in 2006), Blue Moon Pumpkin Ale (renamed Harvest Moon in 2007), and Blue Moon Winter Abbey Ale (renamed Full Moon in 2007).
Guinness is more than just a St. Patrick’s Day staple in the country’s home to the largest urban concentration of Irish Americans. This beer is a dark Irish dry stout that originated in Arthur Guinness’ brewery at St. James’s Gate in Dublin, Ireland in 1759. Since then, it has become one of the most successful beer brands worldwide, available in over 120 countries. Its unique flavor comes from a combination of malted barley and roasted unmalted barley.
Labeled “a fine pilsner beer,” Miller Lite is an American light pale lager produced by MillerCoors of Milwaukee, Wisconsin. This beer comes in at 4.2% ABV and 96 calories per 12-ounce can, Miller Light was originally developed as “Gablinger’s Diet Beer” and became the first successful mainstream light beer in the American market. The brand’s longest-running advertising campaign was the slogan “Tastes Great! Less Filling!” which ranked the 8th best advertising campaign in history by Advertising Age.
Angry Orchard Crisp Apple Cider
Angry Orchard is produced in Walden, New York using apples from both the United States and Europe. Though originally only sold in New England, Colorado, Maryland, and New York, the cider went nationwide in 2012. The three flagship flavors were Crisp Apple, Traditional Dry, and Apple Ginger, which came to account for 40% of the U.S. hard cider market and 20% of the Boston Brewing Company’s output.
Samuel Adams Summer Ale
The flagship brand of the Boston Beer Company, Samuel Adams is often shortened to Sam Adams and is named for Founding Father Samuel Adams who inherited his father’s brewery on King Street in Boston. The original recipe is known as the Samuel Adams Boston Lager and is now available in several seasonal variations including the winter seasonal Cold Snap (witbier), the spring seasonal Escape Route (Kölsch), the summer seasonal Summer Ale (wheat ale) and several Autumn offerings.
Produced by Anheuser-Busch, Budweiser is an American-style pale lager. Originally introduced in 1876, Budweiser has become one of the largest selling beers in the United States and is available in over 80 countries under various names. In the United States, Budweiser has 5% ABV and 145 calories per 12-ounce can. It has been sold in many containers over the years, though it maintains its original recipe featuring barley malt, rice, hops, and yeast, lagered with beechwood chips in the aging vessel.
Developed by Adolphus Busch in 1896 as a draught beer for connoisseurs, Michelob Ultra is a pale lager with 4.7% ABV and 95 calories per 12-ounce bottle. This beer was originally sold in a unique teardrop-shaped bottle which was awarded a medal from the Institute of Design in 1962. Five years later, the bottle was redesigned for efficiency and used until 2002 when it was replaced with the traditional bottle. Michelob Ultra is available in several variations including Michelob Honey Lager, Michelob Pale Ale, Michelob Marzen, and Michelob Pumpkin Spice Ale.
Samuel Adams Boston Lager
Produced using a recipe developed by Jim Koch, a founding father of the Boston Brewing Company, Samuel Adams Boston Lager uses traditional brewing processes. This includes a decoction mash and a krausening, or secondary fermentation process. Sam Adams Boston Lager is also dry hopped using both Hallertau Mittelfrueh and Tettnang Tettnanger hops. In addition to several seasonal offerings, Sam Adams also comes in variants like the Rebel IPA, Sam Adams Light, and the Barrel Room Collection.
In the food and beverage industry, setting yourself apart is what gets you noticed, but the key to success is harnessing the power of supply and demand. If you’re a restaurant, bar, or brewer looking to make more informed purchase decisions, contact us today to learn how you can take advantage of BeerBoard’s innovative solutions to drive sales and maximize profits.