What Your Taste in Beer Says About You

How Choice of Brew Relates to Personality, Politics and Purchases

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YORK, Pa. (AdAge.com) -- The beer you drink says a lot about you -- even before you've had a few too many.

Your choice of beer can be as telling about your personality as what kind of clothing you wear or the car that you drive. And if you don't drink suds at all, or change brands depending on your mood -- well, that says something too.

The concept of beer-as-window-to-the-soul comes from Mindset Media, the market researcher specializing in psychographics. The company started out with a theory that with so many opinions and brand loyalty around beer, the choice people make must be connected to personality. Mindset interviewed more than 2,600 people online in August and September and found specific personalities and mind-sets "popped" for more than half a dozen branded beer choices.

"I was surprised at how much we did find out," said Mindset Media Director-Research John Durant, who also admitted that he "doesn't just like beer, I love beer."

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He and his team found generic differences as well. For instance, people who prefer domestic beers over craft beers or imports are generally middle of the road in their politics. They're not nearly as conservative as people who don't drink beer at all, but not as liberal as people who prefer more exotic beer.

People who drink a broad portfolio of beers are different than one-brand drinkers as well. Those "indifferent" beer drinkers are more open-minded and emotional people who enjoy a variety of life experiences. Mr. Durant pointed out that they might be the types of people who would identify with a marketing campaign like that of Dos Equis: "I don't always drink beer, but when I do, I prefer Dos Equis."

And that is the point of the research, of course -- it's not just all fun and drinking games, but it comes with marketing lessons, Mr. Durant said. For instance, there are a lot of Bud Light drinkers in general, but there is a big difference between the ones who also drink only other domestic beers such as Coors Light and Miller Light, and ones who also prefer craft and import beers. Domestic Bud drinkers are more impulsive and less compliant to authority, while Bud Light and import drinkers are outgoing extroverts who tend to be perfectionists.

Mindset Media walked Ad Age through some specific brand findings.

BUDWEISER

True to form, Bud drinkers are sensible, grounded and practical. They are the polar opposite of daydreamers and don't easily get carried away. These beer drinkers also don't like authority—can anyone say union?—and are emotionally steady people who live in the here and now. However, what may be a bit surprising is that people who prefer Bud can also be very spontaneous and tend not to do much advance planning.

Budweiser drinkers are 42% more likely to drive a truck than the average person, 68% more likely to choose a credit card with flexible payment terms and 42% more likely to use breath-freshening strips every day.

BUD LIGHT

Are Bud Light drinkers just Bud guzzlers on a diet? Not a chance. Bud Light personalities actually skew quite different from their more-caloric sibling. Keep in mind, this was the beer choice for President Barack Obama during his so-called "Beer Summit" this summer when he invited police officer James Crowley and Harvard professor Henry Gates over to the White House for a beer and a make-up chat. (The cop chose Blue Moon and the professor selected Red Stripe.)

Bud Light drinkers profile as lacking in carefulness. They are grounded like their Bud brethren, but respect authority. Bud Lighters can also have frat boy-like personalities, particularly when it comes to personal risk-taking. In regard to others, these good-time guys and gals are accepting of most everyone and generally easy to get along with.

Bud Light drinkers are also 48% more likely than the average person to play the lottery every day and 34% more likely to never buy organic products.

MICHELOB ULTRA

Have you seen the 2008 TV spot that's still on about the hip, handsome young male executive dashing out of a meeting to put on running gear? He meets up with an equally fetching athletically garbed woman for an inner-city run before both magically change into trendy threads and hit a fabulously decorated rooftop-bar party with even more young and beautiful friends—all drinking Michelob Ultra, of course. Every personality trait Mindset Media came up with appears there.

Michelob Ultra drinkers rate high in superiority; that is, they think highly of themselves and can be a little bit conceited. They care what other people think about them and want to appear perfect. They also tend to be take-charge types with strong opinions, and can even be confrontational. Michelob Ultra drinkers are 43% more likely than the average person to consider sustainability a priority, and 34% more likely to buy life insurance.

CORONA

"Where's the party?" is probably an oft-asked question by Corona and Corona Light drinkers. They are busy and energetic people who are also extremely extroverted. They're people persons who seek out the company of others whether in a group or just one-to-one. Corona drinkers do more and see more people in one day than most people see in a week. But the life-of-the-party Corona drinkers also have an altruistic side; they care deeply about other people and see themselves as giving and warm.

Corona drinkers are 91% more likely than average to buy recycled products and 38% more likely to own three or more flat-screen TVs.

HEINEKEN

There's a slang term that could sum up Heineken drinkers: posers. These self-assured people believe they are exceptional, get low scores on modesty and high scores on self-esteem. They love their brand badges—a role the distinctive green glass bottle may play—and in fact, this group is attracted to luxury products in general. They are also energetic and dynamic and enjoy being both the center of attention and in the middle of the action.

People who choose Heineken as their favorite beer are 58% more likely to have American Express cards, 45% more likely to be early adopters of new mobile phones, and 29% more likely to drive sports cars.

BLUE MOON

The personality traits of people who prefer Blue Moon, a Belgian style wheat beer, tracked similarly to the same type of people who prefer craft beers—which means Blue Moon drinkers probably don't know it's a Molson Coors Brewing Co. family product made in Colorado.

Blue Moonies are socially liberal and usually quite willing to go against convention. They really hate moral authorities, and believe children should be exposed to moral dilemmas and allowed to come to their own conclusions. They can also be sarcastic and snide in order to get a point across.

People who drink Blue Moon beer are 105% more likely than the average person to drive hybrid cars, 77% more likely to own Apple Mac laptops, 65% more likely to purchase five pairs or more of sneakers every year, and 32% more likely to not be registered voters.

CRAFT BEERS

These specialty made beers get lumped into one category both because there are fewer fans (and thus less statistically significant data) of them, but also because the personalities of one type fairly well describe another. This group is more likely to spend time thinking about beer rather than work. They are more open-minded than most people, seek out interesting and varied experiences and are intellectually curious. Craft-beer drinkers also skew as having a lower sense of responsibility—they don't stress about missed deadlines and tend to be happy-go-lucky about life.

Craft-beer lovers are 153% more likely to always buy organic, 52% more likely to be fans of the show "The Office" and 36% more likely to be the ones to choose the movie they are going to see at the theater.

ABSTAINERS

It probably doesn't take a psychographic profile to discover that those people who refuse to drink beer at all don't like to loosen up very much. They are socially conservative and see many issues as black and white. Teetotalers honor tradition and authority and prefer a less-hectic social life.

People who turn down beer are 50% more likely to call themselves Republican, and are 30% more likely to never buy organic products.

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