Craft beer isn’t for everyone. So, if IPA sounds more like IP-’eh’ to you, then you probably enjoy returning to your college roots and downing a PBR at backyard gatherings or stocking your fridges with Keystone Light. Trashy? Maybe. But sometimes, the humblest beers are the most celebrated—not to mention the cheapest option when you want to crack a cold one.
So-called ‘trashy’ beer comes in handy on many occasions. It pairs nicely with the big game on a bigger flatscreen TV. It swigs beautifully out of a plastic SOLO cup at the poolside with girlfriends. Perhaps most importantly, an ice-cold trashy beer can be the ultimate triumph after completing a difficult DIY house project that was growing long in the tooth.
But people are particular about which of economical brews they reach for—not just any will do. So which trashy beers are hogging all the space in American mini-fridges, and where?
To find out which trashy beers are chilling in coolers across the country, we turned to online search interest. We started with a list of 36 popular beers and recorded Google Trends search interest over the last 12 months for each of the 50 U.S. states and the District of Columbia. We determined clear winners for which beer each state searched for the most, the most popular beer overall, and how many states the most popular beers won in. Read on to see what we found!
The Most Popular Trashy Beer in Every State
Out of 36 original brews, 26 were the most popular in at least one state. Westerners have a thing for the color-changing mountains on Coors Light cans, as the beer is the most popular in California, Utah, and Nevada. Keystone—a beer that also originates from Coors Brewing Company—came out on top in Colorado, Oklahoma, and Oregon.
Keystone’s low-calorie cousin, Keystone Light, is a conspiracy-riddled brew that soothed parched throats in Idaho and Nebraska. Some say Keystone Light cans are simply dented and rebranded Coors cans that the brewing giant sells on the cheap. Others believe them to be miss-brewed batches of Coors that don’t meet proper specs.
But the most promising theory is that it all comes from the same batch, with the top-half filling Coors cans and the bottom-half earning the Keystone moniker. As the legend goes, being closer to the yeast bed during fermentation lends the cheaper beer its bolder flavor. But no one really knows, except the stalwart guardians of Coors’ marketing secrets.
Easterners have more of a taste for rivaling, low-cal refreshment Natural “Natty” Light. This trashy brewski was gulped most by residents of Maine, Virginia, North Carolina, South Carolina, and Georgia. Catering toward the younger crowd, Natty Light offers cheap but trendy suds, seltzer, and swag that will make you stand out at any backyard barbecue.
The Most Popular Trashy Beers Overall
When it comes to America’s favorite trashy beer, there is only one real winner—the Anheuser-Busch (A-B) mega brewery and conglomerate. Natural Light, one of the parent company’s flagship brands, flooded the map as the trashy beer of choice in 10 states. Its dominance was countrywide with states like Connecticut, South Dakota, and Utah all breathing sighs of satisfaction after the first sip.
Michelob Ultra, another brew under the A-B umbrella, was favored by seven states that swear by stocking it in their fridges for a sweltering summer afternoon. Even Bud Light, which tied Coors Light for third place with four states, is a brand under the A-B family.
On the other end of the spectrum, Keystone Light, Miller Lite, and Stroh’s all scored just two states each. With Stroh’s having local ties to Detroit, it was easy for Michiganites to back the beer. That local pride must have spilled over into Ohio, the only other state to favor the beer.
Using Google Trends search data, we uncovered some fascinating trends about beer-drinking in America. People seem to be going with what they know, sticking to big brands like Natural Light, Michelob Ultra, and Bud Light—all affordable, refreshing beverages for a hot summer afternoon.
With a global pandemic still simmering down, it’s no surprise that drinking has gone up over the past year. But stay-at-home orders haven’t increased American thirst alone. More and more Americans are also putting more effort into their hobbies, home decor, and DIY renovations.
If you have a project milling around your head and don’t know where to start, peruse our in-depth project resources and tool reviews to get it done right in less time and with less effort than ever before. And don’t worry, you can still toss back your favorite trashy cold one after all of your “hard” work.