Monday, February 7, 2011

United States of GOOD Beer

I am a fan of good information graphics, and craft beer. Today I would like to highlight a website I just learned about, This site came to my attention because of an excellent graphic about craft beer in the USA. You can see the graphic (HERE)

Isn't it nice when different interests overlap? I love beer and everything having anything to do with the history, production, marketing, distribution, sales, and enjoyment of beer. As an operations research analyst, I naturally tend to describe and understand the world around me using quantitative data whenever possible.

In this graphic we see portrayed the results of a reader survey conducted by GOOD in which they asked readers to "nominate the most awesome, best-tasting, sustainably brewed, independently owned, community-oriented craft beer brewed in your state."

So many things can be learned from using beer as a means to gain insights into general themes.
  • I wonder how many voters participated? I really like the idea of the poll, and the graphic presentation of the results, even if I am suspicious about the method and reliability.
  • I noticed that NE's Lucky Bucket is misspelled, and anyway, I am surprised that Nebraska Brewing Co didn't win. Again, human error and low levels of participation undercut the validity of the results.
  • There's a blank in the table next to VA, even though there is a winning brewer depicted on the map. That's Starr Hill's logo in VA. Though I'd have voted for Devil's Backbone, myself. Or maybe Blue Mountain, who grow their own hops. Did Starr Hill win because UVA is there in Charlottesville? I wonder if UVA grads were disproportionately represented in the voting population?
  • Too bad NV had to settle for a chain (BJs), but there are relatively few independent choices in NV. 
  • Nothing for ID? I suppose they did not get even one single vote before the cut-off. My recommendation for ID: Laughing Dog. Good stuff.

The bottom line? Data-driven decision-making depends on quality data.  The problem is not data (there's a glut of it), but collecting enough quality data in a scientifically defensible method to gain useful insights.

And the insight for me: time for a road-trip!

With a hat tip to fellow beer aficionado Blue Lou for bringing this wonderful site to my attention.