beer business

Thoughts on the Hottest 100 beers

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A few quick thoughts on today’s Hottest 100 Beers votes.

Distribution isn’t everything: The top three – Hop Hog, Pacific Ale and 4 Pines – are all beers with wide-ranging distribution. And that has led some people to suggest they get there because of that distro (beer in lot of shops + lot of people buying it = shitloads of votes).

It’s a theory I put forward last year in a rather curmudgeon-like post (which I can’t link to because I’m a bit tipsy and am writing this on my phone. So just search for it – called hottest 100 where to from here?. Least I think it was).

Anyway, that theory has a few big holes. Namely the fact there are other beers with equally good distro that aren’t in the top 10. Look at James Squire – that stuff is everywhere and yet it couldn’t get a beer any higher than the 40s.

Yeah, but they’re crap, you say. Well, Bridge Road’s lovely Beechworth Pale is in BWS these days, so why didn’t that distro help get it into the top three? (Though I reckon the BWS deal is why Beechworth is Ben Kraus’ highest-ranked beer).

So what’s happening? A question for which I will now suggest a theory.

The newbie effect: Obviously the top three are very good beers. But why they finish in the top three is because they always do.

Bear with me on this. A newcomer to good beer will surely look at a list like this to work out what they should be drinking. So they see Pacific Ale and Hop Hog up top and start to drink them

Then, because they are good beers, the newbie votes for them in their first hottest 100 vote. And the cycle continues… which makes for bad news for anyone finishing outside the top three.

The growth of GABS: This year there were six or seven beers that debuted at GABS and that figure will only increase in the coming years. That’s because it’s the biggest beer festival in the country and it attracts more than just beer geeks.

It will just keep getting bigger – especially given that it’s expanding into a Sydney festival this year. So that’s more potential voters. And, I reckon, more GABS beers in the hottest 100.

Show me the numbers: One thing that I – and a stack of other beer geeks – would love to see is the number of votes each beer in the Hottest 100 got. It’d be quite fascinating, but I also think it’s unlikely to happen.

That’s because I suspect some of the 100 beers – especially those at the back end – get in on what seems like a relatively small number of votes. Also, I reckon a bit of a voting gap would open up somewhere along the line as you track back from 1 to 100. Plus, it’s perhaps best we don’t know just how many more votes the top three get compared to anyone else.

Next year will be different: I was thinking today I should go up to the Local Taphouse in Sydney for next year’s Hottest 100 countdown. Seems like something any beer geek worth their salt should tick off their bucket list.

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