The Most Popular Cheap Beers By State

Budweiser won big, but microbreweries held their own on the list.

People get testy about their cheap regional beers. I once dated a Texan who drove 16 hours to his hometown with the sole goal of transporting three cases of Lone Star back up north. (With good reason—Lone Star is an excellent cheap beer.) Now, the recently published TOP Data Beer Report translates America's sudsy passions into map form, releasing a list of America's favorite beers by state.

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You can see the full map here, but I'll go ahead and spoil the big surprise: Budweiser was ranked the most popular beer in 23 U.S. States. Bud Light also won big, ranking first in Washington, Vermont, Pennsylvania, North Carolina, and Connecticut. Heineken, Stella, and Miller Lite also managed to score some major love, each cracking individual states' top five lists multiple times.

What are the most popular regional beers?

Interestingly enough, the list was also full of regional beers that managed to beat out Big Bud. For example, Denver Beer Co. took the top spot in Colorado, while Goose Island won Illinois. (I've got a 12-pack of Goose Island 312 in my fridge as we speak.) Narragansett took Rhode Island, Lone Star took Texas (no surprise there), and Spotted Cow ranked number one in Wisconsin. This might be Goose Island erasure, but I think Spotted Cow may be the best cheap beer in the nation. There, I said it! Revoke my Chicago residential parking pass if you must.

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We can glean a few takeaways from this map. First, regional breweries get a lot of well-deserved love from the communities they represent. Second, America's interest in light and low-ABV beer options remains strong, given the show of support for both Bud and Miller Lite. Finally, Americans leaned heavily into hoppy comforts during the height of the pandemic, with an average 8.9% increase in alcohol consumption over the last year. With beers like these, who needs friends? Wait—that's not how that phrase goes.

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