Friday, September 2, 2016

The rise of IPA ABV?

Are beers, specifically IPAs-the default craft beer, getting stronger? The rise of the IPAs included for a while a rise of IBUs and while that has calmed down with the influx of juicy beers I've had the feeling that ABV was also ticking up along the way. Session beers, including Session IPAs have had some popularity and I crunched my data to see if my assumptions held true. Now the Dow/S&P is not the market and my drinking does not represent a measured sample of the beer industry, but let's see what it looks like anyhow.

y = -0.0025x + 6.654
R² = 0.0093

Bam. ABV is not rising and with a regression slope of -0.0025x is in a bit of a decline over the last four years. This is an ever so slight decline and is reflected in the fairly constant average ABV per year. What is interesting in this data is the increase in variance and low R². The yearly standard deviation has increased from 0.5 in 2012 to 1.2 in 2016.

Just the numbers

Year Count MIN MAX AVG STDEV
2012 21 5.5 7.5 6.5 0.5
2013 20 6.0 8.0 6.7 0.6
2014 18 4.5 8.1 6.6 0.8
2015 36 4.3 8.0 6.6 0.9
2016 16 4.0 8.0 6.1 1.2

Why the greater variance? I see it as fewer beers taking the middle ground for an IPA, around 6.5 ABV, and more trying to differentiate with either flirting in the DIPA range or dropping down to a session level. Either way this is good to see more variety, even within just the IPA range, and not just a race to make a stronger beer.