August 11, 2010

Alcoholic Cyberscapes

Although it has been several months now, the most popular finding of the Floatingsheep Collective has continued to be our discovery of the Beer Belly of America. So now we all know that the upper Midwest of the United States likes to drink, but what else can we learn about the cyberscapes of alcohol production and consumption around the world?

Using the tried-and-true Floatingsheep method of comparing references to various keywords within the Google Maps database, we've mapped references to six different alcoholic keywords. Although the keywords range from the broadest categories of alcohol (e.g., beer and wine) to particular types of of alcohol (e.g., bourbon, vodka and whiskey) and all the way to the brand name (e.g., Guinness), they give a rough approximation of who is drinking what and where.

Seeing that most of the world is divided over their preferences of beer and wine is not necessarily surprising (although this could be owed to the absence of a generic term like "liquor"). Neither are many of the particular concentrations of references surprising: wine dominates on the east and west coasts of the United States, as well as in Spain, France and Italy, while references to beer outnumber all others in the midwestern US and Germany. The lack of references to beer in England and Ireland is, however, a bit worrisome.
Although references to Guinness and vodka are hardly visible, noticeable clusters of whiskey drinking are evident in both Scotland and Poland, as well as parts of Sweden. References to bourbon are most evident in Floatingsheep's North American headquarters of Kentucky, where 95% of the world's bourbon is supposedly produced in one form or fashion.
References to "bourbon" in France and New Orleans, Louisiana are, of course, not related directly to the beverage. Instead, they likely refer to the House of Bourbon which unfortunately was not a bar, and Bourbon Street, which does indeed possess quite a few of the things. Likewise, the clustering of red in Kansas indicates the Bourbon County of that state, which is a poor impostor of Bourbon County, Kentucky, for which the beverage is named. Hilariously enough, Bourbon County, Kansas remained a dry county until 1992. A poor impostor, indeed.

1 comment:

  1. ...instances of references to beer may not be related to instances of drinking beer. Some folks may be having a pint while they mull the whole thing over.
    Pat in Sonoma County, CA


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