Tuesday, April 26, 2016

'Craft' Beer Sabermetrics: the BCQ (Brewery Capacity Quotient)

When it comes to analyzing the possibility of an upcoming brewery bubble burst, or not, there's been a need for a convenient metric to compare brewery count per capita with national beer production per capita, over different years (comparing apples and oranges). But there hasn't been one.

So, I may not be a statistician, but I've created, what I call, the Brewery Capacity Quotient (BCQ).

I calculate it for any given year by taking the total number of breweries during that year, multiplying that by the number of barrels produced nationally that year per 100,000 population, dividing that factor by 1,028.619, and multiplying that quotient by 100.

BCQ = [((Number of U.S. breweries) * (barrels per 100,000 population)) / 1028.619] * 100

I've used the number 1,028.619 as the constant in the denominator because it's the product of the number of U.S. breweries operating in 1873 multiplied by the barrel production that year per 100,00 population. I chose 1873 as the baseline because, until 2015, that was the year that comprised the most breweries in the nation. As the U.S. had a much smaller population then than now, I believe the data indicate an evident brewing capacity.

Applying BCQ, here's how the years 1873, 1980, and 2015 compare:

U.S. brewery capacity quotient
  • In 1873:
    There were 4,131 breweries in the U.S. for a nationwide population of 38,555,983. That would be the historically high count of breweries (until 2015). Per 100,000 citizens, there were 10.74 breweries that year. In total, those breweries produced 9,633,323 barrels of beer: 0.249 barrels (7.74 gallons) of beer per person.
    ▶ BCQ = 100
  • In 1980:
    There were 44 breweries (a post-Revolutionary War nadir) for a population of 226,545,805, working out to .194 breweries per 100,000 population. In total, these few breweries produced 188,373,657 barrels of beer: 0.8315 barrels (25.78 gallons) of beer per person.
    ▶ BCQ = 3.5
  • In 2015:
    There were 4,144 breweries in a population of 320,090,857, the most breweries ever in the nation. That amounted to 1.29 breweries for every 100,000 citizens. In total, these breweries produced 174,721,000 barrels of beer (13.65 million fewer barrels than in 1980). Per capita, that was 0.545 barrels (16.92 gallons) of beer per person.
    ▶ BCQ = 219
For what it's worth, the BCQ was tiny in 1980, but in 2015 it was more than twice that in 1873. Brewery bubble? I still don't know. It could be that it's per capita production that's the best indicator. In that case, 2015 is nearly double that of 1873, but 40% of 1980.

Statisticians: take me to task.


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