July 7th, 2009

  • thaen

Some Graphical Statistics About Beer

Originally published at GeekBeer. Please leave any comments there.

I’ve got lots of ideas about information presention. It was a major interest of mine in school and I continue to delve into it whenever I have the chance.

I came across Beeriety a bit ago and didn’t pay much attention (besides adding them to my growing list of beer blogs to watch), but their recent string of posts demonstrates an interest in information presentation as well. They’ve got these fantastic little graphical widgets of basic beer topics. Give them a look.

I’ve got no talent for Illustrator (which is odd since I am a bloody Photoshop master), but I’ve got all these ideas about presenting beer stuff in graphical form. Like a graphical “How To Brew” that includes more pictures than words and the like. But there are also lots of beer statistics out there, and I’m going to take a stab at putting them to pictures in the least artistic, most geeky way imaginable: with Google Charts.

Breweries per-capita has been tossed around a lot lately in graphical form. I was introduced to Google Charts the other day and figured I’d try my hand at making one based on the data from beertown.org:

Clearly Google Charts is no automated Adobe Illustrator, but given that I made that in all of 5 minutes, I’d say it’s got promise. Not bad for a first try. Let’s try something else, like the number of “traditional” breweries versus the number of “craft” breweries in the US from 1947 to 2006, according to the Beer Institute’s Brewing Almanac from last year:

Hey that’s pretty sweet!

Note that I can’t find any correlation between the increase of the Federal Excise Tax on beer and the number of breweries or consumption of beer. Note that there has only been a single increase in the excise tax — a doubling of $9 to $18 in 1991, marked by the vertical line above — and the tax is flat, not percent-based, so it actually decreases in relative terms as the price of beer goes up in actual dollars.

I’ll keep playing with this data. Good stuff.