Are you particular about your beer? Loyal to a specific lager? Convinced your fave brand of beer is better than the other bottles or cans crowding the cooler? Many of us are. But do you think you could pick your preferred beer out of a lineup?
No problem, right? Don’t be so sure. A recent study showed that, in blind taste tests, consumers actually have a hard time telling apart different brands of European pale lager, the most-commonly consumed style of beer around the world.
In a working paper for the American Association of Wine Economists published this month, authors Johan Almenberg, Anna Dreber and Robin Goldstein gave 138 adult beer drinkers, volunteers ages 21 to 70, three unlabeled samples of lager. Two of the lagers were the same product and one was different. The volunteers were asked to say which beer was not like the others. The test was repeated three times, so that each of three different European pale lagers widely available in the United States – Heineken (Netherlands), Stella Artois (Belgium) and Czechvar (Czech Republic) — could be the “singleton” beer with a shot at standing out between identical “twins.”
And? People couldn’t tell the difference.
“Our results suggest that when tasting blind, beer drinkers are unable to distinguish between different European lager brands,” the researchers concluded.
Your lager brand loyalty, then, may have little to do with the taste (or look or smell) of the beer itself, but rather to how that beer is marketed. Yep, you probably just like the look of the label or bottle, or you relate to the brand identity some marketing genius has come up with, perhaps with someone just like you in mind.
Humbling, no? But, hey, cheer up. How ’bout a beer?
Watch Guy tour Kid Rock’s brewery and taste test the American Light Lager by clicking the play button below.