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The Year in Beer: Breaking Down 2019
Now that the barrage of end-of-year listicles are out of the way, I thought it’d be fun to dig into our numbers from 2019 and break things down a bit.
There are now over 19,000 active brewery locations listed in our database (nearly 1,500 more than 2018), and just shy of 8,300 are in the United States alone.
For reference, the Brewers Association reported 7,450 breweries operating at the end of 2018, including 1,046 new openings. We’re still waiting on final 2019 numbers from them.
Down considerably from last year’s 543,253 beer ratings. This is no doubt due to a lack of repeatability with our rating system and no mobile app (I know, I know), both of which we hope to address this year.
12 Over 10,000 Ratings
Twelve U.S. states brought in over 10,000 beer ratings each across all beers from brewers within the state, and the top three carried over from 2018. California once again led the way with 11.5 percent of the ratings, followed by New York (8.2 percent) and Massachusetts (6.8 percent). Illinois (4.6 percent) jumped to fourth from fifth, Michigan (4.5) dropped from third to fifth, and Colorado (4.2 percent) dropped from fifth to sixth. And we saw good numbers from Pennsylvania (3.3 percent), Vermont (3.1 percent) and Texas (2.6 percent), while Oregon, Florida, and Virginia tied for 2.4 percent.
496 New Ratings
Bell’s Official Hazy IPA led the pact of new beers with the most ratings in 2019 with 496 ratings. Sierra Nevada’s Oktoberfest collaboration with Bitburger came in second with 435. Más Agave from Founders hit third with 352, Phase Change from Lagunitas was fourth with 241, and Bourbon County Brand Café de Olla Stout from Goose Island was fifth with 207.
As it was in 2018, the average across all beer ratings was 3.98 out of 5. This basically means that everyone is still drinking a lot of “very good” beer, which is reinforced by the new average beer rating stat that we recently rolled out for all users. The average across our rating segment of our community is currently “outstanding” at 4.03.
65,557 New Beers
During the 2019 calendar year, users added 65,557 unique beers to the site. Roughly 5,000 less than 2018, but it still averaged out to just over 179 new beers every day. Excluding IPAs, which we’ll cover in a moment, the number of new American Imperial Stouts (4,228) and American Wild Ales (4,210) increased by nearly 500 each over 2018, while the number of new Belgian Saisons (2,421) decreased by nearly 1,000.
It’s disheartening to see the continued disinterest in traditional Belgian, English, German, and other non-American styles amongst U.S. brewers and consumers. It makes me want to bring back our Belgian Beer Fest again.
31.5 percent of last year’s new beers were tagged as “one-off” offerings and the average alcohol by volume was 7.3 percent. RIP.
19 Over 100 New Beers
Other Half retained the top spot with 306 unique beers added in 2019, which is a 30 percent increase over 2018. Other brewers didn’t even come close. Prairie had 195, Trillium 190, Tired Hands 180, and The Answer and Tree House were tied at 175.
Other brewers with over 100 unique beers for the calendar year were: Foam (162), The Veil (152), Evil Twin (152), Modern Times (150), Bottle Logic (123), 450 North (118), Monkish (117), Burial (114), WeldWerks (109), Aslin (102), Cloudwater (101), Finback (100), and Alvarado (100).
I’ve got ten bucks on Other Half brewing a beer for every day of the year in 2020.
21,658 New India Pale Ales
That’s over 1,000 more than last year and includes all variants. American IPA dominated with 8,955 new entries in 2019. I’m guessing this number is a bit lower as we added New England IPA (6,909) as a style last year and some beers have yet to be recategorized. Same with American Imperial IPA (4,726). The category saw only 610 American Brut IPAs, 242 English IPAs, and 216 Belgian IPAs added. And we no longer list American Black Ale (aka Cascadian Dark Ale or Black IPA) under the IPA category, but there were 352 of them.
Update: 7,562 of the new IPAs added in 2019 were tagged as one-off releases. That’s 35 percent of the IPAs, 36.6 percent of the one-offs, and 11.5 percent of all new beers.
It seems like the diversity amongst the IPA category continues to decrease as more brewers continue to focus on hazy beers. RIP Black, Brut, English, and Belgian IPA.
5,465 New Lagers
In 2019 we only saw around 300 more unique lagers added to the site. Top five styles within the category: American Lager (1,060), German Pilsner (1,013), German Märzen / Oktoberfest (576), and Bohemian Pilsener (405).
I’m still waiting for the Lager Revolution and remain hopeful that palates will eventually come around to this misunderstood and highly underrated beer category. #lagerislife
The average alcohol by volume for all new beers in 2019 increased 0.15 percent to 6.85 percent.
- 9,388 ≤ 4.9 percent
- 14,911 ≥ 5 percent
- 14,018 ≥ 6 percent
- 8,644 ≥ 7 percent
- 6,878 ≥ 8 percent
- 2,651 ≥ 9 percent
- 6,664 ≥ 10 percent
The rest of the new beers had no ABV listed.
21 Million New Visitors
According to Google Analytics, we welcomed nearly 21 million new visitors to the site in 2019. Down a couple of million, but 5.25 million returned and we remain a go-to beer resource for millions of users each month.
141 Million Pageviews
Google Analytics also reported over 141 million pageviews in 2019. Users exploring beers, styles, and top rated lists accounted for 51.9 percent (up 1.8 percent), while our forums received 31.5 percent (down 10 percent) of the traffic.
417,000 Forum Posts
Registered users posted 417,000 times. Down 10.4 percent, but our forums still remain very active. Some of this can be attributed to a downtick in, and ability to self-delete, trading posts.
- We desperately need an app and the ability to rate a beer more than once.
- Limited, higher alcohol, American-style IPAs, Stouts, and Sours from a select group of American brewers apparently dominated palates and discussions on BeerAdvocate in 2019.
- I’m still waiting for the Lager Revolution.
- I’m inspired to host another Belgian Beer Fest.
- We need to encourage more users to delurk and join the discussion.
- Our community needs more international users and their voices.
Looking forward to exploring ways to make 2020 a bigger year for us, and thanks for your support and contributions in 2019! ■