Florida, Craft Beer and Presidential Politics

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We’re nearing the end of election season, a time of year when we get to vote for president of the United States, members of Congress, governors, and, in some states, even dog catchers. Our elected officials on the state and federal levels are important to brewers and can greatly impact their day-to-day lives.

It’s always a divisive time of year, but if there is one thing Democrats, Republicans, and independents can likely agree upon, it’s that this election cycle has been like no other. Luckily, in these unusual times, we can all be comforted by the one thing that hasn’t changed: the importance of Florida. Every four years without fail, we turn to Florida to see who our next president will be. If you don’t believe me, here is a list of who Florida’s electoral votes went to in the last five presidential elections.

Presidential Candidates Who Won Florida

  • 1996: Bill Clinton
  • 2000: George W. Bush
  • 2004: George W. Bush
  • 2008: Barack Obama
  • 2012: Barack Obama

Florida’s vote matters. With this in mind, I thought it would be fun to learn a little more about the state and its growing craft brewing scene prior to the election. BA chief economist Bart “Doc” Watson kindly provided this interactive map of all the breweries in Florida coded with the political affiliation of their representative in Congress. Red dots are breweries in Republican districts and blue dots are breweries in Democratic districts. Note: The color of the dot does NOT indicate a brewery’s political leaning.

Zoom in on the map to get a better idea of where breweries are located.

Here’s what I learned:

  • In 2012, there were 57 craft breweries in Florida.
  • Today, Florida has 166 craft breweries, 53 of which are located in Democratic Congressional districts and 113 of which are located in Republican Congressional districts.
  • After the 2012 election, there were 10 Democratic representatives and 17 Republican representatives in Congress, and one senator from each political party. This scenario remained the same after the 2014 election.
  • The 2 Congressional Districts with the most breweries in Florida are the 14th and 4th, represented by a Democrat and Republican respectively.
  • Democrats from Florida represent an average of 4.8 breweries each.
  • Republicans from Florida represent an average of 6.2 breweries each.

I admit, I slightly hoped that there was a secret code I could use find about Florida’s breweries that would help me predict how they are going to vote in the 2016 Presidential election.

Unfortunately, there isn’t (or I didn’t find it). Based on their presidential votes and their representation in Congress, it is safe to say that voters in Florida are comfortable splitting their ticket and voting for candidates with different party affiliations no matter what type of election it is. Location of breweries in Florida does support my belief that craft beer is bipartisan and I can conclusively say that no matter their political leanings, Floridians have three times the number of craft breweries to choose from during this election than they did in 2012. A fact that is good for their economy, jobs and overall mood!

In fact, the number of breweries in the United States has almost doubled since the last presidential election. That gives us plenty of options to celebrate our right to vote on November 8!