Bars| Beer| Insights

The 7 Most Popular Beers in California Bars

By Stephen Ngo

Related: The Most Popular Beer & Liquor Brands of 2018

With a population larger than Canada’s and a GDP larger than Mexico’s, California is more than powerful enough to be its own country. After all, its economy is 50% larger than Texas’.

And since we’ve already looked at the most popular beer brands in the Lone Star State and for the United States as a whole, we’re long overdue for an examination of Californians’ favorite brews at the bar. And luckily for us, we’ve got users across the state: from the Bay Area and Lake Tahoe, to Fresno, Ventura, LA, Orange County, Palm Springs, and San Diego.

Here are the seven most popular beer brands among California BevSpot bars.

The following material aggregates alcoholic beverage distributor order data from dozens of California BevSpot bars and restaurants from January through August 2017. All figures represent percentages of orders in dollar terms.

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bevspot trends california beers

bevspot trends california beers 2017

bevspot trends california beers 2017

So, which Lost Coast products sell the best among BevSpot bars?

While the Indica IPA and 8 Ball Stout have the most ratings among Lost Coast beers on BeerAdvocate, the Tangerine Wheat is actually the most prolific in our data, accounting for over 40% of on-premise orders for the brand. The runners-up in popularity were the Great White witbier and the Indica IPA.

bevspot trends california beers 2017

bevspot trends california beers 2017

bevspot trends california beers 2017

bevspot trends california beers 2017

bevspot trends california beers 2017


At over 5.5% of beer orders in its home state, Ballast Point is five times as popular there as it is in the rest of the country. And though Ballast Point has dozens of beers listed on its website, just two products jointly account for over 70% of orders for the brand from BevSpot bars: Sculpin IPA (~40%) and Grapefruit Sculpin IPA (~30%).

The Landscape of Californian Beer

With an estimated population of over 39 million, California is over 40% larger than the second most-populous state (Texas, whose data we’ve examined before). In a region of this sheer size, to have any kind of significant market share is to have the distribution network and brand recognition of a medium or large-sized brand. Contrast this with what it means to be a market leader in New York City, Boston, or Chicago (where local brewers like Brooklyn, Harpoon, and Revolution often hold their own with mass market giants).

In this environment, it’s a commendable feat for California craft brewers like Lost Coast, Alpine, or Firestone (all within the top 20 California brands but with almost 0% of the on-premise beer market outside of the state) to achieve even regional popularity without the resources of a multinational company. How long it’ll be before they’re acquired is anyone’s guess.

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