By Doug Cooke
For the Oregon Beer Growler
Why is it that some things just seem to belong together, like baseball and hot dogs, popcorn and movies — even Sonny and Cher? Often there are good reasons for these perfect pairings, like when sweet, yet savory, ketchup is served with crisp, yet still moist, fries. Other times, there’s no clear explanation for why these matches work. But we still seek answers.
Boston-based research firm Crimson Hexagon recently set out to analyze and compare the type of beer consumers drank along with their music preferences. The study focused on two brands: Budweiser and Sam Adams. Findings showed that Bud drinkers are more likely to be drawn to country music (and, for some inexplicable reason, Justin Bieber’s tunes). Meanwhile, people who purchase Sam Adams have a penchant for rhythm and blues.
These varying tastes could be shaped by decades of brand promotions. But the results can’t help but raise some questions. For instance, do lighter color, flavor and ABV go better with country twang? Does a fuller body and higher ABV somehow add to the R&B experience? A growing number of breweries have sought to associate themselves with certain genres of music. Odell Brewing Company in Fort Collins, Colo. features live artists that lean toward bluegrass, roots and folk -- independent musicians that reinforce the non-corporate ethos of craft brewing. Stone Brewing in Escondido, Calif. highlights a diverse range of musical genres, including folk, Latin, pop, soul and world beat. All of this emphasizes the richness, color and diversity of its many beers. And Flying Dog Brewery of Frederick, Md. features high-energy rock-and-roll in keeping with the tone of its dynamic labels, which are designed by Ralph Steadman of Pink Floyd’s album covers fame.
Whether music and beer are best paired by flavor, color or brand, one thing is for sure: enjoying music and your favorite beer together can be a great experience. Whether you are into Led Zeppelin, Tupac, Johnny Cash or Lady Gaga, there is a beer that offers the perfect accompaniment to round out and complement the experience.
If you are part of a brewery team, you might want to consider what music genres best fit your brand attributes and beer styles. And the next time you are listening to music and selecting a beer, you might want to consider which beer is the perfect match for the mood, tempo and harmonic progression of the music.
Doug Cooke is founder of Open Manufacturing, creators of custom bottle openers for great craft-brewing brands. Visit OPEN at open-mfg.com or @OpenMfg.