What The Beer You Drink Says About Your Politics

What beer you drink may say something about your political beliefs, according to one new study:

Beer has a long and storied place in American presidential history and politics.

George Washington famously brewed it. James Madison purportedly sought to create a cabinet-level Secretary of Beer. And Franklin Delano Roosevelthelped make it legal to produce and sell (again) by championing legislation repealing Prohibition. Upon signing the bill, he reportedly said, “I think this would be a good time for a beer.”

As you may have heard, our current president likes his beer, too. Earlier this month, the ObamaWhite House released two official recipes of its own in a blog post entitled “Ale to the Chief.”

Of course, this savvy election-year move was not the first time Obama has played the “beer card.” In 2009, he famously hosted a “Beer Summit” at the White House to help quell racial tensions.

Beer is also a staple on the presidential campaign trail, with candidates often visiting pubs to show they understand the common man. Similarly, pollsters sometimes ask the question, “Who would you rather have a beer with?” to gauge which candidate has the likeability edge.

Dos Equis is not the first – and won’t be the last – brand to find itself in a political pickle. From Chick-fil-A to Susan G. Komen to the pizza owner who recently hugged the president, the fallout depends on media coverage, the brand’s response, and the political values of its customers.

Last week, beer poured into presidential politics in an unprecedented way when the beverage’s most famous personality – the Most Interesting Man in the World – hosted an Obama fundraiser. You’ve likely seen him in ads for Mexican beer Dos Equis. His real name is Jonathan Goldsmith.

Some Dos Equis fans were not happy about the fundraiser and expressed their displeasure on the beer’s Facebook page, according to Ad Age.

“Mr. Goldsmith’s opinions and views are strictly his own, and do not represent those of Dos Equis,” said Heineken USA, which imports Dos Equis, in a statement seeking to head off political blow-back.

Clearly, the Most Interesting Man in the World, who “once had an awkward moment, just to see how it feels,” has created an awkward moment for the brewing company.


As the bubble chart shows, Dos Equis is a bipartisan brew – Republicans and Democrats both like to drink it. So Mr. Goldsmith’s public foray into the 2012 race could alienate a large share of Dos Equis fans.

Ironically, this is in contrast to its corporate sister Heineken, which as it turns out is the most Democratic beer of all. On the other hand, Republicans love their Coors Light and favor Sam Adams, which is brewed just a few miles away from Romney campaign headquarters and whose namesake was an original tea partier.

Here’s the chart referred to:

The only question I have is, when will someone do a similar chart for the hard liquors? I am willing to volunteer myself as a survey participant. For science, of course.

FILED UNDER: US Politics, , , ,
Doug Mataconis
About Doug Mataconis
Doug Mataconis held a B.A. in Political Science from Rutgers University and J.D. from George Mason University School of Law. He joined the staff of OTB in May 2010 and contributed a staggering 16,483 posts before his retirement in January 2020. He passed far too young in July 2021.


  1. Ben says:

    What is the partisan breakdown for people who drink good beer? 90% of the beers on that chart are swill.

  2. CB says:

    no room for the microbrew people? or is it just assumed that were all hippies?

  3. michael reynolds says:

    I’m with Doug: real men drink liquor. If it isn’t brown and doesn’t burn it’s a chick drink.

  4. Franklin says:

    Not much palatable stuff on the chart, but I guess it has many fairly pegged as a high-turnout independent.

  5. Franklin says:

    me, not many. Geez I gotta start previewing my posts.

  6. rodney dill says:

    @Ben: Amen

  7. PogueMahone says:

    Well, it’s got this Guinness drinker pegged – center left, high turnout.


  8. grumpy realist says:

    Hmm, I see Guiness up there. Where’s the rest of the stouts? And why the preponderance of light beers over on the Republican side? Aren’t people who drink light beers considered wimps among those of the masculine persuasion?

    (I fall in the category of those who think a beer isn’t drinkable unless it’s something you can chew.)

  9. Mikey says:

    @michael reynolds: I lived in Germany for seven years and got a taste for good beer. There are relatively few real German beers that could be called “a chick drink.”

    Then again, I probably drink more Scotch these days than beer. Lagavulin 16, anyone?

  10. I’m guessing Dogfish Head and Sly Fox are too small market to show up on a chart like this.

  11. john personna says:

    Given a choice between those beers and only those, I’d go with the Guinness, and actually that might be a good spot for me politically. Draft Guinness and a cheeseburger.

    Of course the best way to prepare for that burger and beer is to hike out of the Sierras (example) to find one.

  12. Tsar Nicholas says:

    A putative “beer chart” that doesn’t include Anchor Steam, Sierra Nevada, Red Hook, Red Tail nor Anchor Porter, is not worth the paper on which it’s written. Frankly I believe whomever put that together should be shot.

    In any event, not only do I want to see companion charts for hard liquors I want to see them for wine and drugs. And by “drugs” I don’t mean of the Rx variety. For hard liquors I suspect the highest turnout Democrat skews would include gin and vodka and that the highest turnout Republican skews would include bourbon and whiskey. For wine I think whites generally would skew Democrats and reds generally Republican. The cheap wines, e.g., Mad Dog, Thunderbird, Nightrain, would skew Democrat. On the drug front I think the skews would be axiomatic.

  13. Mark says:

    I’m another Guinness drinker they have pegged. Nailed it.

  14. C. Clavin says:

    I looked and looked, but couldn’t find the bubble for “A Lot”.

    “…Sam Adams, which is brewed just a few miles away from Romney campaign headquarters and whose namesake was an original tea partier…”

    – Samuel Adams is rolling over in his grave for even being associated with the Old White Bigots that make up todays sham of a Tea Party.
    – The news peg for this is that it is National Drink Beer Day. Cheers.
    – Which reminds me…that show I was on is 30 years old this week.

  15. ptfe says:

    @C. Clavin: “The news peg for this is that it is National Drink Beer Day. Cheers.”

    Sounds like it’s time to RDWHAHB.

  16. bookdragon says:

    Well, since I prefer Guinness, it has me pretty much pegged. (Does that mean I’m not a ‘chick’ since I’d rather drink stagnant water than *shudder* lite beer?)

    I am curious why Yeungling isn’t on the chart. When I can’t get Guinness, their Black&Tan is decent substitute.

  17. Ben says:


    Because Yuengling isn’t available in 80% (at least) of the country?

  18. bookdragon says:


    Really? It’s the country’s oldest operating brewery and one of the largest producers (by volume) in the country.

    If it’s only available in 20% of the country, that 20% must drink a LOT.

    Seriously, it deserves a place – if for no other reason than that Obama says its one of his favorites and once a sent a case to the Canadian PM.

  19. Ben says:


    It’s 2.5 millon barrels a year, which is actually more than I expected. That’s about the same volume as Sam Adams. It’s nowhere near the 300 million barrels a year that Bud churns out, of course.

  20. gVOR08 says:

    @grumpy realist: I remember articles from years ago, back when it was new, about light beer. The brewers invented light beer (by throwing ice cubes in their already weak lager according to one German brewmaster) to appeal to women and men watching their weight. It turned into one of those classic marketing triumphs that succeeded for reasons completely counter to the plan. The real market turned out ot be bubbas who could drink half again as many before falling down. Bubbas, of course, tend to run Republican.

  21. C. Clavin says:

    “…Bubbas, of course, tend to run Republican…”

    And Bumbles bounce.

  22. bookdragon says:


    Yes, but I wouldn’t necessarily classify Bud as beer…

  23. grumpy realist says:

    @Mikey: Nah, McCallan 25 year. Or Laphroiag. (Wish I didn’t have boyfriends who introduced me to single Southern malts. Expensive hobby!)

  24. grumpy realist says:

    @bookdragon: Reminds me of the old Canadian joke: why is US beer like making love in a canoe?

    Ans: because they’re both f**king close to water….

  25. bookdragon says:

    @grumpy realist:

    Macallan 25 year…excuse me while I drool… I do love single malts and that is among the best.

    And, yes, I was thinking of that joke, although I think river water probably tastes better than Bud Lite.

  26. Mikey says:

    @grumpy realist: If you like Laphroiag, you’ll probably like Lagavulin.

    I haven’t tried the Macallan 25, but I have some 15 at home, and also the Cask Strength. Awesome stuff.

  27. Tano says:

    Some things should be exempt from politicization.

  28. ernieyeball says:

    If it isn’t brown and doesn’t burn…


  29. OzarkHillbilly says:


    Lagavulin 16, anyone?

    Where do you wanna meet?

  30. OzarkHillbilly says:


    If you like Laphroiag, you’ll probably like Lagavulin.

    I loves me some peaty stuff.

  31. grumpy realist says:

    @OzarkHillbilly: I’ve found Oban is pretty good as well. And if you want an absolutely fantastic sake, get a friend to pick up a bottle of Kubota while visiting Japan (I don’t think it’s sold in the US.) One of those sakes that is so smooth you don’t realize how much you’ve drunk until you try to get up from the bar stool and discover your legs don’t work.

    Anyone else with a recommended scotch? Or other interesting firewater?

    Doug, if you ever want to have a OTB meetup at a good scotch bar, you might get quite a few of us…

  32. Mr. Replica says:

    I like Sam Adams, along with all their seasonal beer. I would not call myself a high-turnout republican voter tho…

    I grew up on Yeungling almost exclusively, living in PA all my life it’s pretty much just as common as any other major beer.
    Recently however, I switched to Bud Light, as both Bud Light and Yeungling are the same price per bottle at the bar I frequent. The difference is Bud Light comes in 16oz bottles, while Yeungling comes in 12oz.
    Considering I go to the bar to get drunk, while not really caring what I drink to get to that point, I choose quantity over quality.

  33. @OzarkHillbilly:

    Lately I’ve been finding I enjoy Irish Whiskey better than Scotch

  34. matt says:

    I’m apparently a high turn out Republican which is funny because I haven’t voted Republican on the national stage since the 90s,…

  35. Peterh says:

    I’m strictly a Stella guy in bars, which puts me exactly where I should be on the chart….at home, I stock Asahi, Bitburger, Oranjeboom and sometimes Tecate…..all full flavor, but easy on ya while working around the house on warm days…evenings, I’m a red wino….

  36. rodney dill says:

    @OzarkHillbilly: Lagavulin is good, a little too smokey for me most of the time. I’d prefer Glenfiddich 18. Though I have taken up sipping Knob Creek bourbon as of late.

  37. Mikey says:

    @rodney dill: I’m much more a Scotch guy than bourbon, but I was introduced to a tasty bourbon recently by the guy who manages a local liquor store. It’s called Eagle Rare, worth a try if you haven’t already.

  38. bookdragon says:

    @grumpy realist: Other interesting fire water: Mount Gay Sugar Cane Brandy

    Drink unmixed or with a bit of orange slice. Every time I sip it, I feel like I’m back in Barbados on my second honeymoon.

  39. al-Ameda says:

    No microbrews – on the basis of that chart I’m an Independent, which I’m not.

  40. bill says:

    i know who the guys that drink white zin will vote for!