A YouGov poll found two imports topped the list of domestic preferences.

By Food & Wine
May 21, 2019
beer varities in glasses
Credit: kolderal / Getty

Attempting to determine "America's favorite beer" is a herculean task. The United States has over 7,000 breweries producing everything from Natural Light to Tangerine Silhouette Sour IPA-and that doesn't even include imports. But that hasn't stopped YouGov from trying: The online market research company showed over 8,000 respondents 41 major beer brands to gauge their favorability. In the end, Heineken just edged out Guinness for the title of America's favorite brew-but it was far from a consensus. None of the brands were viewed positively by a majority of those surveyed.

"America's favorite" implies both recognition and quality - all the quality in the world won't matter if no one has heard of you-so YouGov first determined what percentage of people recognized a brand before asking if they had a positive, negative, or neutral opinion of it. As a result, the best-known brands had a major leg up in the voting. For instance, about half the people who had heard of Dogfish Head had a positive opinion of the brand, but only 34 percent of people recognized the name, so its "popularity score" was a paltry 17 percent.

Meanwhile, 95 percent of those polled said they had heard of Heineken, helping to propel it to the top spot with a 47 percent popularity score. YouGov says that Guinness finished second by "a marginal difference," but in some ways, Guinness's stats are more impressive. The Irish stout also had a 47 percent popularity score despite having lower recognition than Heineken. And Guinness had significantly lower levels of negative opinion-13 percent compared to Heineken's 19 percent. So in the end, the race really would appear to be neck and neck.

Rounding out the top ten were Corona (45 percent), Sam Adams (45 percent), Budweiser (42 percent), Coors (40 percent), Blue Moon (40 percent), Miller High Life (40 percent), Bud Light (39 percent), and Corona Light (38 percent).

Meanwhile, if positive options equate to America's favorite beer, in theory, negative opinions result in America's least favorite beer, and though YouGov doesn't specifically tease that information out, digging into the data brings out two brews that plenty of people don't think highly of. Busch Light and Bud Light Lime have the highest negative opinions: 33 percent each. Maybe that explains why people stopped inviting you to their parties?


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