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Chicagoans Drink Double The Miller Beer & Whisky Than Rest Of U.S.: Study

There are no breakdowns of Malört or Old Style, though

In a sea of big beer, Revolution Brewing managed to crack the top three of Chicago beer orders.
Ashok Selvam is the editor of Eater Chicago and a native Chicagoan armed with more than two decades of award-winning journalism. Now covering the world of restaurants and food, his nut graphs are super nutty.

Chicagoans drink a lot of whisky, vodka, and Miller beer—much more so than other parts of the country—according to a study released last week from BevSpot. The study, which tracks restaurant, bar, nightclub, and hotel booze orders in 2016, shows that Chicagoans order more than double the amount of Jack Daniel’s and Miller beer when compared to national averages.

BevSpot is the Boston-based company that’s developed web-based software so clients can manage their alcohol inventories. The study’s data is from their Chicago users, which include about 100 bars, according to Stephen Ngo, BevSpot’s operations analyst.

MillerCoors products dominate beer sales in Chicago. The study actually separates Miller and Coors, though they’re part of the same company. Miller topped the list of most-ordered beers with 8.2 percent of Chicago’s orders. Nationally, Miller’s share is less than 4 percent. Coors ranked second in Chicago with 4.4 percent of orders. Big beer dominated the top seven, but Revolution Brewing has been making a dent. The Logan Square brewery ranked No. 3 with 3.5 percent of Chicago orders. Wrigley favorite Old Style isn’t listed, but Corona is with a 3.2 percent share, a tick below the national average.

Dive bars have been vanishing in Chicago, as so-called “bro-holes” continue to emerge. Many of these bars target a post-college crowd, the ones who chastise craft beer as peach pumpkin ale drinkers, as shown in an infamous Budweiser Super Bowl ad.

BevSpot doesn’t collect a lot of data from dive bars, Ngo wrote via email. But he points out that MillerCoors isn’t as popular in Boston, which is home to a similar bro crowd.

“I think Miller's regional dominance has more to do with its roots in Milwaukee: every brewer has to do well locally before it can expand nationally, and this means that Miller ought to have a bigger market share in Wisconsin and its neighboring states,” Ngo added. “This is especially true now that the brand has the marketing resources of a large conglomerate.”

For those wondering, BevSpot did break out Goose Island Brewing Co. from their parent, the makers of Budweiser. Goose ranked No. 10 in Chicago, Ngo said.


As far as hard liquor, whisky represents 28 percent of Chicago orders, while vodka took up 25 percent. That’s very much in step with national trends, according to BevSpot. It’s still not as high as New York, as whisky accounts for 34 percent of orders, according to BevSpot.

However, Chicago orders more rum than the rest of the country, perhaps in part to tiki bars like Lost Lake in Logan Square and Three Dots and a Dash in River North. Rum orders are at 14 percent, which is third in Chicago. Nationally, that number is 6 percent. In New York, rum orders are at 4 percent.

Tequila and mezcal follow rum at 13 percent, as bars like Mezcaleria Las Flores and Quiote heat up in Logan Square. That’s in line with NY’s 14 percent. Sadly, there’s no breakout for Malört, which is likely filed under that “other” category at 5 percent.


Check out the rest of the study for breakdowns on what liquor brands BevSpot users order, and more.