The Geography of Beer

pp 201-209


Offline Brews and Online Views: Exploring the Geography of Beer Tweets

  • Matthew ZookAffiliated withDepartment of Geography, University of Kentucky
  • , Ate PoorthuisAffiliated withDepartment of Geography, University of Kentucky Email author 

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This chapter analyzes the distribution of geocoded social media data (also referred to as a cyberscape) that references “beer” and related terms. Drawing upon an ongoing research project that archives every geocoded tweet in the world, this chapter explores differences in the frequency and geographic distribution of the everyday commentary made by Twitter users about beer. While the sheer volume of activity, close to a million geocoded beer tweets in 2012, is notable in its own right, it is only when comparisons between subsets of the data are made that the most intriguing spatial patterns emerge. In order to showcase these patterns of differences within online social media, this chapter compares beer tweets to twitter commentary on other topics, i.e., contrasting the geography of wine and beer tweets as well as examining differences within the online conversations about beer, i.e., how do references to light beers or regional “cheap” beers vary over space. These geographical differences (e.g., where are the hot spots for “beer” vs. “wine” or “Bud Light” versus “Coors Light”) illuminates how the commentary and views expressed online, reflect offline practices and preferences. In short, the visualization of “beer space” produced by mapping tweets represents the complex intertwining of offline preferences for specific brews which are expressed via an online practice of presenting ones views.