Maps That Divide the World Into “Wine” or “Beer” Countries Miss the Point

In response to an aggregated map by Financial Times that divided countries by “beer” or “wine,” Clive Irving writing for the The Daily Beast argues that maps of this nature tend to be reductive. With the rise in quality wine, beer and spirits, from China to the the U.S., along with a similar rise in new, curious drinkers, a country’s drinking habits do not fit nicely into one camp or another, but instead represent various points along an increasingly diverse spectrum. “Statistics,” he says, “can mask real cultural shifts. The map had no explanation of its methodology, but it was clearly based on total volumes of booze sold and consumed rather than on what might be happening to public tastes not reflected in those numbers.”

Spain, for example, is amongst the beer drinking countries. But while it’s true that in volume Spain does consume more beer than wine, the map fails to recognize the drastic changes in quality and reputation of Spain as a wine country.  “Thus beer and wine do not become antithetic choices that define either a nation or what kind of society it is,” writes Irving. “Tastes in both have a learning curve and the more there are distinctive varieties of each, the more discerning consumption becomes. [The Daily Beast] [Image: Flickr/Jakob Montrasio]