Take a moment to picture someone ripping a bitchin’ kegstand. In your mind’s eye, who’s chugging the suds? Is it:
A. A muscled-out frat bro in short shorts;
B. A shaggy-haired bass player at a house show, or;
C. A gorgeous mathematician who’s calculated the exact number of chugs per minute necessary to achieve a perfect buzz
If you answered “C,” you’re on the right side of history. If you answered “A” or “B,” I can’t blame you—if traditional media is to be believed, bros and hipsters dominate the beer scene. Well, folks, I think it’s time we corrected the record: Beer is for nerds, and it’s time they took it back.
Some context: over the weekend, UVA mathematician Ken Ono starred in a Super Bowl beer commercial for Miller 64, a light beer with 64 calories. The ad campaign arrived as Budweiser was about to launch Bud Light Next, a beer with 80 calories. In the ad, Ono explains that 64 is a smaller number than 80—meaning Miller 64 is the lightest option on the market. Ah, the wonders of mathematics.
Ono’s campaign, while admittedly very silly, got me thinking. In my many years of beer drinking, I’ve seen far more sudsed-up nerds than, say, beer-loving bros or hipsters. That may be because I surround myself with nerds, but hear me out. I mean, have you ever witnessed a college LAN party? Ever seen how quickly a Ren Faire attendee can glug a pint of ale out of a sheep’s horn? Ever lingered in an improv theater as the performers descend upon a case of High Life? Hell, ever attended GEEKS WHO DRINK?
Nobody loves beer like a nerd. This is historical fact. Take, for example, the original beer nerds—beer-brewing monks. What could be nerdier than a cloistered man manipulating yeast in a floor-length robe? Mage vibes, man. Mage vibes.
I’d also like to hoist home brewers into Beer Nerd Canon. To successfully brew beer outside of a commercial facility, you need to have mad math and science skills. Unsurprisingly, homebrewing surged during the pandemic as nerds scrambled to channel their passion for ratios into a hobby to pass the time.
Finally, I want to point out that nerds rock, despite the pejorative connotation of the term “nerd.” Nerds are smart, savvy, and passionate—all important qualities in a beer drinker.
Beer companies, take heed: Nerds are your target audience. Adjust your marketing with this in mind, or surrender your bottom line to the Demogorgon.