Beer: It's supposed to be the great equalizer. At least when it comes to politics.
When the arrest of an outspoken black Harvard professor by a white police officer sparked national turmoil, President Obama called a "beer summit" and attempted to calm everyone down over a few cold ones.
The age old survey question, "Who would you rather have a beer with?" aims to get at something fundamental about a candidate's character. Something more personal than the typical partisan rancor over whether dependance on government subsidies is what's really keeping Oscar the Grouch living in that trash can.
But the assumption that beer runs deeper than politics was recently challenged by a National Journal analysis. The study showed that, when it comes to both partisan identification and political engagement, not all brews are created equal.
Check out this chart of the data complied by National Media Research, Planning & Placement:
The National Journal analyzed data from 200,000 interviews with Americans of legal drinking age and determined that one beer is far-and-away ahead of the rest when it comes to political engagement. And that beer is Sierra Nevada.
Fans of the Northern California-based brewery were nearly fifty percent more likely to vote than the average beer drinker and, by and large, skewed to the liberal side of the spectrum.
"We encourage craft beer drinkers to explore different beer styles and find what best suits them," Sierra Nevada's Ryan Arnold diplomatically told The Huffington Post, "regardless of political affiliation."
Some of the beer's lefty appeal doubtlessly comes its geographic location--35 percent of Sierra Nevada's sales are in the Golden State--but one possible reason for the brewery's popularity with politically engaged progressives is its commitment to sustainability. In 2010, Sierra Nevada was named the Environmental Protection Agency's Green Business of the Year for diverting nearly 100 percent of its waste away from landfills and into recycling and composting programs.
Other beers, notably Heineken and Corona, skewed more liberal than Sierra Nevada. However, both had below average voter turnout rates. The most strongly conservative beer drinkers repped Texas institution Shiner Bock.
If either Obama or Romney are looking to advertise on a beer bottle (stranger things have happened; they already advertise inside video games), Henry Weinhard's might be a good place to start. Its drinkers are politically right down the middle but had the second highest turnout behind Sierra Nevada.
Check out where your favorite beer stacks up politically:
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