You’re probably flying somewhere at sometime in the next year. Hopefully, you have your 2016 vacations all planned out with this. If you don’t, make sure you know what airlines will get you to your destination with the best beer selection available. One of the worst things you can possibly experience while flying is hailing the steward, asking for their best beer and being handed MegaBrew Lite. You are left crying, whilst sipping liquefied straw out of a green bottle, staring at a world and its craft taps zoom below you, so far far away.
Airlines changing their beer selections because of the crossover demographics of craft beer drinkers and airline passengers. According to Bart Watson, Chief Economist for the Brewers Association,
“If you look at the demographics of frequent fliers, they tend to look a little bit different then the general population,” pointed out Watson. “They’re much more likely to be employed, higher socioeconomic status and income, more likely to be married. When you look at the people who are drinking craft beer it’s very, very similar. High education, high socioeconomic status, high income, more likely to be employed. So I think it’s a natural fit for airlines.”
Basically, if you’re well off you can both drink craft beer and fly in the sky.
Travel Pulse has put together their own ranking of craft beer selection by airline. They tallied the number of beers each carried and found their respective Beer Advocate scoring:
#9 Spirit Airlines pours Bud Light, (48), Budweiser (58), Miller Lite (55) and Dos Equis (64). Average score: 56.25.
#8 American Airlines pours Samuel Adams Boston Lager (86), Budweiser (58), Bud Light (48), Dos Equis (64) and Heineken (67). Average score: 64.6.
#7 Southwest Airlines offers Bud Light (48), Miller Lite (55), Dos Equis (64) Fat Tire Amber Ale (82) and Leinenkugel’s Cranberry Ginger Shandy (77). Average score: 65.2.
#6 Frontier Airlines serves Fat Tire Amber Ale (82), Heineken (67) and Coors Light (51). Average score: 66.6.
#5 Virgin America serves Anchor Steam Lager (87), as well as Bud Light (48) and Heineken (67). Average score: 67.3.
#4 JetBlue is the only airline with a cider, Angry Orchard (43), Brooklyn Brewery Summer Ale (81), Bud Light (48), Harpoon UFO (82), Heineken (67) and Samuel Adams Boston Lager (86). Average score: 67.8.
#3 United Airlines serves Budweiser (58), Miller Lite (55), Goose IPA (83), Heineken, (67) and Samuel Adams Winter Lager (82). Average score: 69.
#2 Alaska Airlines serves Alaskan Amber (82), Alaskan Freeride APA (85), Kona Longboard (77), Bud Light (48) and Heineken (67). Average score: 71.8.
#1 Delta Air Lines offers Blue Moon Belgian White (78), Heineken (67), Miller Lite (55), Samuel Adams (86) and Sweetwater 420 Extra Pale Ale (82). Average score: 73.6.
Surprise, surprise, this list is NOT exhaustive, or complete! It doesn’t cover the fact that Delta Airlines has partnered with a wide range of craft breweries, including Ballast Point‘s famed Sulpin IPA. They’ve also started carrying seven different craft beer selections from various hub cities, including Blue Point Brewing, Brooklyn Brewing, Lagunitas Brewing, Newburyport Brewing, Sam Adams, Stone Brewing and Sweetwater.
Scandanavian Airlines (SAS) has partnered with Mikkeller, who has produced 4 exclusive beers for the airline, including a sour belgian, fermented in mango juice for business class travelers from Hong Kong. United Airlines and American haven’t joined the party yet. Neither offers craft beer to passengers.