One of four craft beers sold today is an India Pale Ale—and we’re not too far off from the moment when it becomes one in three.
For a portion of the beer industry that grew out of opposition to the hegemony of adjunct Lager, American craft brewers and drinkers seem awfully comfortable leaning on one particular flavor profile. The reason why we spend so much time talking about and debating IPA and all its various sub-styles is because we can’t get enough of it. It’s today’s barrier to entry.
Just how popular is IPA? According to a 2016 study on Twitter use published in the JMIR Public Health and Surveillance Journal, “IPA” as a trivial descriptive beer term was the fifth-most used word among a collection of 80 million geotagged tweets, beat only by “coffee,” “beer,” “pizza,” and “Starbucks.”
A June 2016 poll conducted by Nielsen (that’s behind a paywall on the Brewers Association website) shows that flavor (99%), freshness (95%), aroma (78%), ingredients (75%), and bitterness (68%) were the top-five most important attributes among participants for making a craft beer purchase. Each one showcases an important selling point of the IPA, from the consistent reminder we’re supposed to drink them as fresh as possible, to knowing what gives a beer flavor (how many people use “hoppy” as a descriptor now?), to bitterness itself, the most well-known attribute of what hops do to a beer.
In a different poll released at the beginning of 2017, Nielsen reported that respondents who self-identified as “craft beer drinkers” claimed an average of 20 different brands as their “go-to” choices. This may be particularly relevant if we also consider how people drink. Since beer is an experiential good (which is to say: you can't know whether you like a beer until you've drank it), the psychology of choice can lead us to stay within the context of products we understand. Our choice of IPA may show variety from brand to brand, but we’re still not straying far from the styles we know and admire.
At Bacchus, we offer 12 choices of beer on tap and a few more in bottles. On Tuesdays, tap beer is just $3/pint. If you’re an IPA lover, we’ve got some great choices for you. Try ‘em out and add them to your list of “go-to” choices.
Add a pizza or sandwich and you’ve got yourself a meal! See you today/tonight at Bacchus!