Are Untappd Users More Likely to Check In 'Cool' Beer?

A recently posted top ten from the beer rating app comes with an interesting takeaway.

Photo: Alexander Spatari/Getty Images

Love it or hate it, Untappd has emerged as probably the most important player in the battle of beer rating platforms. Though it certainly wasn't the first place where beer lovers could review brews with their peers, Untappd's focus on mobile gave them a leg up on its more established brethren like BeerAdvocate and RateBeer—the latter of which lost much of its beer connoisseur credibility when it took a significant investment from beer giant Anheuser Busch InBev. Untappd boasts that its app has been downloaded over 7 million times, and though plenty of breweries lament drinkers ability to make knee-jerk reactions based on crowdsourced opinions in the palm of their hands (that's the "hate it"), the fact that the app has become a valuable source of data is undeniable.

Hammering home that point, in honor of National American Beer Day on Saturday, Untappd took to Twitter to unveil its list of "the top 10 American craft breweries based on check-ins" so far in 2018. For those unfamiliar with the app, a "check-in" is a single beer that a user says they are drinking or drank that gets added to your list of activity. So the numbers below represent the number of beers logged into the app from each brewery…

What's most interesting about this list—and reveals a lot about the Untappd community—is the mix in size of these breweries. For instance, looking at 2017 data from the Brewers Association, Founders, Stone, and Sierra Nevada rank 15th, 18th, and 10th when it comes to production in the U.S. (That's looking at all breweries since the Brewers Association doesn't consider Founders a craft brewery.) But then you reach Tree House Brewing which isn't ranked in the top 50 at all—producing under 30,000 barrels last year. If you keep heading down the list, Dogfish is America's 22nd largest brewer, Boston Beer (makers of Sam Adams) is 9th, New Belgium is 11th, and Bell's is 16th. Then we hit Trillium Brewing—another relatively small Massachusetts brewery that produced even less than Tree House in 2017.

What do these two Massachusetts brewers have in common? Though their production and distribution are limited, their beers are highly coveted. Therefore, Untappd's list comes with an interesting takeaway: Though we see an obvious correlation between a brewery's size and the number of check-ins its beers receive, apparently users also have a proclivity towards checking-in more "showy" beers from acclaimed breweries. Granted, that could be because Untappd's user base is more likely to find and drink these beers, but it also probably demonstrates that users are more likely to check-in beers that—let's be honest about it—make them look cool.

Regardless of the reasons, this seemingly innocuous-on-first-glance top ten is actually quite revealing: Just how people tend to avoid Instagramming themselves doing boring things, it would seem that more exciting beers are also more likely to get the Untappd check-in treatment. Here's a toast to looking your coolest!

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