THE BLOG
03/05/2014 03:29 pm ET | Updated May 05, 2014

Do You Want Beer or Coffee With Those Creative Ideas?

Was there ever a time in your professional career that you associated new ideas and creativity with beer or coffee? I must admit, I enjoy the process of stimulating my brain to conjure up something cool, something creative and something different, but I never thought of using coffee or beer as a trigger for creativity.

I was so intrigued with this concept, I started researching articles explaining some of the physiological aspects of beer and coffee on our brains and how they impact creativity. It didn't take long before I stumbled on an article titled, "Beer vs. Coffee, Which is better for Your Brain?" Now I was really captivated. Have I been under a rock all these years missing the secret sauce for new idea creation? Maybe.

The Coffee vs. Beer Debate

I was sitting in a Starbucks on a Saturday morning thinking about the beer vs. coffee debate. To my right was a woman who I thought I would use as a test case. I briefly introduced myself and told her I was writing a blog. At least now she knows I am not a creeper. Then I picked up my iPhone, selected the voice memos app and asked away. "Is beer or coffee better for you when you want to come up with creative ideas?" Barbara, a seasoned professional IT project manager was more than willing to participate in my off-the-cuff experiment. She had this to say.

For me, it would definitely be coffee. Coffee tends to wake up my brain to new ideas. I like to be open to creativity, and coffee does that for me. Alcohol does the exact opposite for me; it relaxes me and puts my brain at rest.

Now let's think about beer. Be honest, have you ever thought about creating some creative ideas by drinking a beer? No, I don't mean creative drinking by sipping too many. I mean coming up with creative, innovative, new ideas using a beer as the trigger. I think I would be way too unfocused if I tried that. However, this article explains how beer just might be a way to create that stimulation in your brain to become more creative -- seriously?

After reading the article, I just didn't believe it. Well, maybe I just didn't want to believe it. In the interest of good science, I had to gather another data sample, and who better to ask than Jonathas, a young scientist. Here's what he had to say.

I prefer beer to coffee because it helps me look at the bigger picture of what is going on and helps me to connect ideas that I typically wouldn't think would go together. Beer also helps me to get my ideas out on paper faster and with greater ease.

The Good -- The Bad -- The Best

Most people are aware we have a part of our brain called the cerebral cortex. It's rather important, especially when trying to think about creative ideas. As a marketer, idea creation and creativity is absolutely critical for developing new initiatives, programs, advertisements, design and innovation. Thus, the cerebral cortex is often taken for granted and very important to us, similar to our best friend.

What I really like about this article is that it also breaks the concept of beer vs. coffee down into "The Good, The Bad, and The Best Times to Drink." For those of us coffee lovers, coffee is obviously the beverage of choice. We use it as a kick-starter for creative ideas, pretty much anytime of the day, early in the morning, later in the morning, at lunch, in the afternoon and yeah, in the evening too! I know that whenever I want to come up with a new idea, I can rely on a few ways that work for me, and one of those is coffee. I also know that coffee is an incredible "booster" for my brain when I want to flood it with creative juices.

Point Of No Return

Like most good things, too much of it can turn a wonderful experience into something awful. I think you know where I am going with this. There is always a however with everything. In the beer vs. coffee debate, if we are really in need of coming up with a new, creative idea, does that mean we drink as much beer and coffee as possible? Aaah, I think not. There is a point of no return and if you consume too much of your favorite beer or coffee, regardless of the time of day, the benefits of both pretty much spill all over the place when you decide to overindulge. The next time you are in need of a creative idea, my suggestion is to think about which beverage works for you.

I don't think beer is a good choice; however, that's because I know that coffee is the beverage that stimulates my brain well beyond where it needs to go to be creative. Beer has been recognized as a great kick-starter for ideas and coffee is great to execute those ideas. You still need to choose what works best for you, regardless of what science tells us. Do You Want Beer or Coffee With Those Creative Ideas? -- I'll take a Grande espresso roast please.

Subscribe to the Lifestyle email.
We’re basically your best friend… with better taste.