The Big Apple is often seen as a modern-day Mecca when it comes to trends in the hospitality industry.

With this in mind, it comes to no surprise that the craft beer movement that has impacted the landscape throughout the country would already be felt here. New York City even plays host to a number of highly reputable breweries such as Brooklyn Brewery, Evil Twin, and Sixpoint. With countless world-class beer programs within the city, you would think that the ecosystem of beer in New York City would be as vibrant as its inhabitants.

Our data might say otherwise.

As a follow-up to our look at the top-selling liquor brands in NYC, we decided to aggregate the ordering data of our user base in the New York City metro area, which features dozens of bars. We took a hard look at their ordering habits when it pertains to beer and you’ll find a comprehensive look at the current beer landscape in the city that never sleeps.

The following material aggregates a year’s worth of ordering data ending in March 2017 from BevSpot users in the New York metropolitan area, as defined by the U.S. Census Bureau. All figures represent percentages of orders in dollar terms.


Here are the top ten beer brands in the New York City area, ranked alongside the divergence between their local and national share of orders among BevSpot bars. Some brands that didn’t quite make the list but ranked highly include Coors, Bronx, and Weihenstephaner. Read on for a breakdown of each brand’s performance.

10. Sixpoint

(2.2% of NYC beer orders, 0.2% of non-NYC beer orders)

Right off the gate, we get one of our local NYC breweries highlighted. Getting their start in the Red Hook district back in 2004, Sixpoint features a fairly wide-range portfolio of beers, but are most well-known for their four year-round offerings: Sweet Action (a blonde ale), Bengali (an IPA), Crisp (a pilsner), and Resin (an Imperial IPA).

This could be a marker for the proliferation of the craft beer movement in New York City.

9. Bud Light

(2.8% of NYC beer orders, 7.8% of non-NYC beer orders)

The king is still hanging in there. The top-ordered beer within our user base in 2016 is demonstrative of the sheer power of the bigger beer brands. Bud Light might not hold as much sway over the denizens of the Big Apple as it does elsewhere, but the fact that it’s still able to crack the top ten here is still notable.

8. Blue Moon

(2.8% of NYC beer orders, 1.7% of non-NYC beer orders)

This boost in the performance of Blue Moon is quite interesting. As a Belgian-style witbier brewed under the MillerCoors umbrella, the brand has been a controversial one in the beer world. Under fire for its big brand roots, many in the beer world saw Blue Moon as one only wearing the mask of craft. Apparently, it’s difficult to underestimate the power of effective marketing.

7. Heineken

(2.9% of NYC beer orders, 1.0% of non-NYC beer orders)

The increased performance of Heineken is also another head-scratcher. The Dutch pale lager isn’t even brewed domestically, let alone locally. One explanation could be the marketing power of the brand to create an air of high regard when it comes to the beer’s quality and reputation. Its history might also play a part as it’s among the oldest brands to make its way to the States.

6. Lagunitas

(3.0% of NYC beer orders, 1.8% of non-NYC beer orders)

Lagunitas might not be a local beer brand for NYC. It’s actually based on the opposite side of the country in California. It’s also not really considered a craft beer brand anymore as the company was acquired by Heineken. However, its reputation as one of the premier craft beer brands when the movement was exploding across the country can point to its continued success.

5. Miller

(3.1% of NYC beer orders, 5.2% of non-NYC beer orders)

As demonstrated with Bud Light before, the big beer brands still hold a lot of sway. With Miller, it looks like our NYC users have a definitive preference for that vs. its competition at Budweiser.

4. Corona

(3.9% of NYC beer orders, 4.1% of non-NYC beer orders)

The performance of Mexico’s pale lager known as Corona is intriguing for two reasons. Firstly, it very closely matches its performance outside of New York City. It’s the only beer in our top ten that comes even close to its national performance actually. Secondly, as a bigger beer brand, it holds up in New York City where Miller and Bud Light had significant drops.

3. Guinness

(4.2% of NYC beer orders. 2.6% of non-NYC beer orders)

The inflation of Guinness in New York City is actually something we’ve covered before. As stated there, the increased Irish population within this northeastern city points to the reason for the higher performance of the world-famous dry stout.

2. Stella Artois

(6.3% of NYC beer orders, 2.9% of non-NYC beer Orders)

This international pilsner came out of nowhere for us. Its performance is perplexing for a number of reasons. As a subsidiary of Anheuser-Busch, it’s not a small brewery. It’s also not a domestic brand. However, these reasons might also point to an explanation for its success. New York City denizens might just prefer the quality of this Belgian beer and the fact that it’s not hard to find makes it easy to order a lot of it.

1. Brooklyn

(6.6% OF NYC BEER ORDERS, 0.4% OF NON-NYC BEER ORDERS)

The leading performer in New York City is probably the biggest pointer to the continued success of the craft beer movement in this metropolis. Despite the bulk of their output being currently brewed upstate in Utica, many consider this a local favorite as it got its start within the city back in 1988. Its nontraditional marketing techniques also point to the power of locality.

Last Call

So, does the craft beer movement still live within the Empire City or has it faded out? With our results, there could be arguments for either conclusion. However, the safest thing that could be said is that the power of the movement has certainly shifted the landscape of beer for the foreseeable future, even in the trendiest of environments. No longer do the big beer brands hold complete sway, but they also haven’t disappeared completely.

Did anything stick out to you in our results that we didn’t cover? Let us know in the comments section below.

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