Last year the Examiner.com asked readers to vote for their favorite American beer city. More than 19,000 people voted, presumably from across the nation. You might expect that Seattle, Denver, Portland, Philadelphia, San Diego and some of the nation’s other notoriously crafty beer cities would have an unfair advantage in such a poll. You would be wrong.
The 2010 title for BeerCity USA was awarded to Asheville, North Carolina. I heard a lot of people question the results last year, wondering how a city they’d never even heard of managed to win the title. Maybe things will work out differently this year. Then again, maybe Asheville, NC really is America’s beer Xanadu.
It would take a herculean effort to overthrow Asheville as the champ, but why not try? Click here to vote in the 2011 BeerCity USA poll.
If we don’t win, relax. It doesn’t mean anything. The voting is quite obviously biased. Maybe the poll has been hacked. Perhaps the people of Asheville are waging some massive get out the vote campaign. It could be that Asheville is the only city aware of the poll. Once you cast your vote, you can see the current standings. Asheville once again holds a seemingly insurmountable lead.
I have never been to Asheville, NC and cannot really speak to its beeriness. Regardless, I believe that Seattle deserves consideration in any serious conversation about America’s best beer city.
Sounds Like SoDo
Maybe it really is some sort of Shangri-La for beer drinkers. Last year Asheville won the BeerCity USA poll by an overwhelming landslide. It wasn’t even close. Of the 19,000 people that voted, approximately 15,000 of them voted for Asheville. If those numbers mean anything, that’s impressive.
Speaking of numbers, according to ExploreAsheville.com and the Bucombe County Tourism Development Authority, “The Asheville area is home to ten craft breweries. On any given day, about 50 local beers can be enjoyed in Asheville, served on draft and in bottles.”
Wow. Ten breweries. Fifty local beers. Sounds like Seattle’s SoDo neighborhood.
To Put it Politely…
I just voted in the the 2011 BeerCity USA poll. Once you vote, you can see the current standings. Of the 16 cities on the list, Asheville currently has 78% of the votes. Again. Take that for what it’s worth: nothing.
In case you cannot read between the lines, I’m asserting that until this poll gets broader attention and receives more votes from across the country, it is meaningless. If we conducted a poll to determine BeerTown USA, and 75 percent of the voters were from Washington, it is very likely that Seattle would win. What would that mean? Nothing. It would be meaningless self-satisfaction, to put it politely.
It would be nice for Seattle’s breweries and brewers, along with the city’s outstanding publicans and the hordes of craft beer enthusiasts who read this blog, to receive a little national recognition, but not if it’s meaningless, faint praise.
Truth is, we don’t need this poll to tell us that we have an amazing beer culture here in Seattle. It’s not just our breweries, but it’s our beer-consuming public as well. We drink way more craft beer than damn near any city in the country. Twenty-four percent of the beer we consume in Seattle is craft beer. In fact, only Portland consumes more craft beer than Seattle (29 percent). Most cities in America don’t even come close. Heck, most cities aren’t even in double digits.
Yes, Seattle is a great beer city. We don’t need a poll to tell us that. If you need an opinion other than mine, just ask the countless breweries from across the country clamoring at our borders, fighting for shelf space at our grocery stores, and sending brewmasters to up here for Seattle Beer Week. Everyone wants a piece of Seattle’s beer action. If you do not believe that, you are not paying attention.
If you want to vote, go vote.
As they say in Asheville, vote early and vote often.