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Monday, July 04, 2016

What's the best American city in which to drink a beer?

Answer: Pittsburgh!

At least according to real estate brokerage firm Redfin, which has ranked the "15 best American beer cities for beer lovers."

And, it's fellow cities east of the Mississippi River which come out on top, at ten of the fifteen ranked. According to Redfin, they mix affordability, low beer taxes, and a high number of breweries per citizen. The state of Pennsylvania places twice, with the city of Pittsburgh as the number one city in the nation and Philly at number five. New York state, Michigan, and Ohio also double up. No cities in the southeast make the cut. (Huh? No Asheville, North Carolina?)

West of the Mississippi River, the state of Oregon is represented by Portland —maybe ground zero for American 'craft' beer— at the fifth position. Colorado is represented by Denver —which might argue that it is ground zero— at seventh. Living isn't exactly cheap in San Francisco; it places 15th, the only California city on the list.

Redfin says it calculated the rankings by first individually scoring fifty cities according to each of five criteria —

  • The number of breweries in the city's state per 100,000 adults aged 21+. [Data from the Beer Institute. 1]
  • The number of active brewery permits in that state. [Ibid.]
  • State beer taxes [Data from the Tax Foundation.]
  • The median home sale price in the city. [As calculated by Redfin.]
  • The city’s Walk Score 2. [Ibid.]
— and then averaging those rankings. Here's what it came up with:

America's 15 Best Beer Cities (2016)
1. Pittsburgh, Pennsylvania.
  • Breweries per 100,000 Adults 21+ in the State: 3
  • Active Brewery Permits: 256
  • State Beer Tax: $.08 per gallon
  • Walk Score: 61
  • Median Home Sale Price: $150,200

2. Buffalo, New York.
    Breweries per 100,000 Adults 21+ in the State: 2
  • Active Brewery Permits: 294
  • State Beer Tax: $.14 per gallon
  • Walk Score: 67
  • Median Home Sale Price: $125,500

3. Milwaukee, Wisconsin.
  • Breweries per 100,000 Adults 21+ in the State: 4
  • Active Brewery Permits: 177
  • State Beer Tax: $.06 per gallon
  • Walk Score: 61
  • Median Home Sale Price: $190,000

4. Grand Rapids, Michigan.
  • Breweries per 100,000 Adults 21+ in the State: 4
  • Active Brewery Permits: 291
  • State Beer Tax: $.20 per gallon
  • Walk Score: 61
  • Median Home Sale Price: $190,000

5. Philadelphia, Pennsylvania.
  • Breweries per 100,000 Adults 21+ in the State: 3
  • Active Brewery Permits: 256
  • State Beer Tax: $.08 per gallon
  • Walk Score: 78
  • Median Home Sale Price: $240,000

6. Portland, Oregon.
  • Breweries per 100,000 Adults 21+ in the State: 9
  • Active Brewery Permits: 265
  • State Beer Tax: $.08 per gallon
  • Walk Score: 64
  • Median Home Sale Price: $340,000

7. Denver, Colorado.
  • Breweries per 100,000 Adults 21+ in the State: 8
  • Active Brewery Permits: 330
  • State Beer Tax: $.08 per gallon
  • Walk Score: 60
  • Median Home Sale Price: $355,000

8. Detroit, Michigan.
  • Breweries per 100,000 Adults 21+ in the State: 4
  • Active Brewery Permits: 291
  • State Beer Tax: $.20 per gallon
  • Walk Score: 55
  • Median Home Sale Price: $162,000

9. Cleveland, Ohio.
  • Breweries per 100,000 Adults 21+ in the State: 2
  • Active Brewery Permits: 167
  • State Beer Tax: $.18 per gallon
  • Walk Score: 59
  • Median Home Sale Price: $134,000

10. St. Louis, Missouri.
  • Breweries per 100,000 Adults 21+ in the State: 2
  • Active Brewery Permits: 81
  • State Beer Tax: $.06 per gallon
  • Walk Score: 64
  • Median Home Sale Price: $170,500

11. Madison, Wisconsin.
  • Breweries per 100,000 Adults 21+ in the State: 4
  • Active Brewery Permits: 177
  • State Beer Tax: $.06 per gallon
  • Walk Score: 48
  • Median Home Sale Price: $225,000

12. Long Island, New York.
  • Breweries per 100,000 Adults 21+ in the State: 2
  • Active Brewery Permits: 294
  • State Beer Tax: $.14 per gallon
  • Walk Score: 95
  • Median Home Sale Price: $390,000

13. Seattle, Washington.
  • Breweries per 100,000 Adults 21+ in the State: 7
  • Active Brewery Permits: 352
  • State Beer Tax: $.26 per gallon
  • Walk Score: 73
  • Median Home Sale Price: $440,000

14. Cincinnati, Ohio.
  • Breweries per 100,000 Adults 21+ in the State: 2
  • Active Brewery Permits: 167
  • State Beer Tax: $.18 per gallon
  • Walk Score: 50
  • Median Home Sale Price: $159,900

15. San Francisco, California.
  • Breweries per 100,000 Adults 21+ in the State: 3
  • Active Brewery Permits: 352
  • State Beer Tax: $.20 per gallon
  • Walk Score: 86
  • Median Home Sale Price: $1,200,000
I'd be interested in seeing those numbers and in knowing what the fifty cities were. And, by the way, when did Nassau and Suffolk counties incorporate as the City of Long Island?

As with any such list, your mileage may differ and your hometown pride might be slighted. It's up for debate —cf. different metrics, different math, quality-of-life, beer culture, best beers, beer pubs, beer-savviness, you name it— but it's an enjoyable debate, nonetheless.
The Redfin team consumed many beers from all around the country in order to ensure the accuracy of the list.


-----more-----
  • Read the entire report at Redfin: here.
  • 1 The Beer Institute is a national trade association of companies which produce and import beer sold in the United States, organized in 1986. Different than the [U.S.] Brewers Association, it represents all breweries, large and small, although primarily funded by the very large brewing companies, such as Anheuser-Busch InBev, Heineken USA, and Constellation Brands.
  • 2 Walk Score, created by a company of the same name (now onwed by Redfin), is a weighted score of amenity 'walkability' using an algorithm awarding points ...
    based on the distance to the closest amenity in each category. If the closest amenity in a category is within .25 miles (or .4 km), we assign the maximum number of points. The number of points declines as the distance approaches 1 mile (or 1.6 km)—no points are awarded for amenities farther than 1 mile. Each category is weighted equally and the points are summed and normalized to yield a score from 0–100. The number of nearby amenities is the leading predictor of whether people walk. Relevant amenities include businesses, parks, theaters, schools, and other common destinations.

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