So who are the big beery twitterers?

Beer-drinking twitterbirdJamie Oliver, the thick-tongued TV chef and hugely successful restaurant entrepreneur (and son of an Essex pub landlord), has 3.3 million followers on Twitter. Which is, you’ll not be shocked to hear, about 2,600 times more Twitter followers than I have. Indeed, it’s quite possibly more followers, my very rough survey suggests, than all the tweeters about beer in the world, (including brewers, bloggers, beer writers, pubs and bars and ordinary drinkers who tweet occasionally about the drink), have  together, in one big overlapping and multiple-counted pile.

But how many “regular” beer tweeters are there? And how many followers do the most popular ones have? Here’s my entirely unscientific and probably definitely unreliable take on the beery tweeting scene.

In addition, there’s a poll for you to fill in, just to try to get an idea of the overlap between people who read beer blogs (or at least, people who read this beer blog) and people who follow tweets about beer on Twitter.

One of the great things about Twitter is that by using lists, you can set up and manage your own Twitter communities: I have 15 or 16 different lists, covering my personal interest groups, such as tweeters from and about the West London suburb where I live, tweeters about language and science and history, friends on Twitter, tweeters about the media and journalism, tweeters about politics, and so on, which makes keeping up with what is going on in those “virtual villages” much easier.

beer-speaking twitterbirdMy personal Twitter list of “beery people”, which doesn’t include brewers, has 45 names in it, mostly from the UK, though perhaps six or seven of those are pubs I like to keep up with. I think I follow most of the regular British beery tweeters, but let’s say I’ve only managed to capture half of them: that would suggest some 70 regular UK tweeters about beer. That would certainly fit with the estimated number of regular UK beer bloggers.

I don’t particularly follow brewers on Twitter, but a quick survey suggests more than 80 per cent of London’s 40-plus brewers tweet, which, if repeated across the country, means some 800 “brewery tweeters”. Instinctively I feel that can’t be true, simply because of the small number of brewers’ tweets I see retweeted on my timeline, but if anyone has any proper figures, I’d be interested to see them. I’d also love to know how many pubs run regularly-used Twitter accounts: judging by the few pubs I know who are tweeting around where I live, I’d guess fewer than one in ten, but that would still mean several thousand tweeting pubs. Again, I’d love to see a proper survey.

However, a quick scrabble in the Twitter undergrowth suggests that most of those pubs have only a few hundred followers each, max, well short of even the average number of followers of UK beer tweeters (of all sorts) that I track, which comes in at almost exactly 6,000.

I cannot stress enough that the tables which follow are very probably pretty worthless, because I surveyed fewer than 150 Twitter accounts to formulate them, accounts culled from my own lists and those of about four or five other compilers, and it’s pretty much guaranteed that I have missed out people and organisations who ought to be represented here. That’s why the tables are headed “Ten top tweeters” and not “Top ten tweeters”.

Twitter bottle topThat said, and errors and omissions excepted, who’s the top UK beer tweeter, according to Zythophile Polling, your wet digit in the Twitter wind? No huge surprise: it appears to be the official Camra account, with just over 26,000 followers (meaning just over one in six Camra members follow the organisation’s Twitter feed: draw what conclusions you like from that.) Most of these tables, interestingly, you’ll note, demonstrate a monopoly/duopoly distribution, with one or two names a long way out in front of the rest. The next name in the UK top beer tweeter list, and the top UK beer writer/blogger tweeter in terms of Twitter followers, has fewer than half the followers that Camra does. However, I’m personally not surprised to discover it’s Melissa Cole, who is Ms Connected in the world of British beer: if you’re on LinkedIn and you have a connection in any way with the UK beer scene, I’ll almost guarantee Melissa is the person who shares most contacts with you. She is more than 15 hundred followers ahead of the man in second place, Pete Brown, four thousand followers ahead of the third-placed UK beer writer/twitterer, Marverine Cole, alias Beer Beauty, and has twice as many Twitter followers as the people in fourth to seventh place.

The UK brewers table I’m definitely cautious about, because I’m sure I’m missing some important names, but again the number one – Adnams – is well ahead of the field. But you’ll have spotted that only four of my top ten are “old-established” brewers, that numbers two to six are all relatively new start-ups (even Meantime is only 13 years old), that the king of publicity, James Watt of BrewDog, is number two, and that Kernel, the highly regarded railway arch enterprise that only began in 2009, is number five.

I stuck in five beer retailers just for comparison: I fear the fact that four are London-based outlets is an artefact of my own bias as a person living in the capital, so don’t read a lot into it, but it’s interesting that the Real Ale shop in Twickenham is doing really pretty well, that three of the others are leaders of the “new wave London cask-and-craft-keg pub” revolution, and that Wetherspoon’s only manages an average of 16 Twitter followers per pub, which is pretty bloody poor.

There are also some more comparison tables: a list of what I believe to be the UK’s top (amateur) food twitterers, which shows that the country’s beer twitterers are all some way behind: a list of top wine twitterers, which shows that Janice Robinson hammers everybody, even Oz Clarke, but all top wine twitterers do better than beer ones; and a couple of lists from the United States, which once again undoubtedly miss out loads of people who should be in them.

Bottle beer twitter birdThe US has five times more people living in it that the UK, so of course its figures are going to be bigger than the UK’s, but New Belgium Brewing’s Twitter following is still impressive: three times as many as Brooklyn Brewery. In case you wonder where Samuel Adams is, it only has 24,000 followers: not much more than Adnams … It’s also interesting that Beer Advocate is so massively bigger than anybody else: scale its number of Twitter followers down to a UK-sized population and it would still have more than 76,000 followers. I’m not sure why it does so very much better than Ratebeer: personally, if I’m ever after information, I find Ratebeer, considerably more useful than Beer Advocado. I’m also puzzled why US beer bloggers/beer writers apparently  do so poorly when it comes to getting Twitter followers: Melissa Cole and Pete Brown have more Twitter followers than Garrett Oliver? Apparently so.

There we are, anyway: please fill in the survey on your personal beery Twitter use, put all the errors and omissions you can find in the comments, and if you want to try to lift my abysmal Twitter following up from its current pathetic 1,250, my Twitter handle is  @zythophiliac – many thanks!

Ten top UK beery tweeters
Name Twitter handle No of followers
Camra @CAMRA_Official 26,112
Melissa Cole @MelissaCole 11,297
Pete Brown @PeteBrownBeer 9,796
Real Ale Reviews @realalereviews 9,267
Marverine Cole @BeerBeauty 7,152
Aletalk @aletalk 6,693
Jeff Evans @insidebeer 5,473
Mark Dredge @markdredge 5,425
Roger Protz @RogerProtzBeer 5,328
Fancyapint? @iFancyaPint 5,207
Ten top UK (& Ireland) beer writer/tweeters
Name Twitter handle No of followers
Melissa Cole @MelissaCole 11,297
Pete Brown @PeteBrownBeer 9,796
Marverine Cole @BeerBeauty 7,152
Jeff Evans @insidebeer 5,473
Mark Dredge @markdredge 5,425
Roger Protz @RogerProtzBeer 5,328
Zak Avery @ZakAvery 5,079
The Beer Nut @thebeernut 4,238
Andy Mogg @BeerReviewsAndy 4,114
The Gunmakers @thegunmakers 3,580
Ten top UK brewer/tweeters
Name Twitter handle No of followers
Adnams @adnams 20,536
James Watt @BrewDogJames 16,108
Dark Star Brewery @Darkstarbrewco 13,546
Thornbridge Brewery @thornbridge 11,279
Kernel Brewery @kernelbrewery 10,023
Meantime Brewing @MeantimeBrewing 9,972
St Austell Brewery @tribute_ale 9,699
Wells Bombardier @Bombardier_beer 9,569
Camden Town Brewery @CamdenBrewery 9,186
Brains @brainsbrewery 8,502
Bristol Beer Factory @BrisBeerFactory 7,730
Top UK food twitterers
Name Twitter handle No of followers
Niamh Shields @eatlikeagirl 25,719
Kerstin Rodgers @MsMarmitelover 14,739
Helen Graves @FoodStories 15,352
Chris Pople @chrispople 14,111
Signe Johansen @scandilicious 13,131
Top wine twitterers
Name Twitter handle No of followers
Jancis Robinson @jancisrobinson 183,695
Robert M Parker @robertmparker jr 45,104
Eric Asimov (NYT) @EricAsimov 44,278
Oz Clarke @ozclarke 27,364
Tim Atkin @timatkin 22,267
James Suckling @JamesSuckling 19,920
Fiona Beckett @winematcher 18,109
Ten top US brewer/tweeters
Name Twitter handle No of followers
New Belgium Brewing @newbelgium 161,103
Dogfish Head Brewery @dogfish beer 125,780
Stone Brewing @StoneBrewingCo 84,544
Sierra Nevada Beer @sierranevada 61,557
Brooklyn Brewery @brooklynbrewery 55,791
Flying Dog Brewery @flyingdog 50,118
Deschutes Brewery @deschutesbeer 45,278
Rogue Ales @rogueales 42,137
Harpoon Brewery @harpoon_brewery 36,321
Oskar Blues Brewery @oskarblues 33,096
Ten top US beery tweeters
Name Twitter handle No of followers
Beer Advocate @beeradvocate 382,947
All About Beer magazine @allaboutbeer 37,740
Beer Connoisseur magazine @BeerConnoisseur 31,792
Charlie Papazian @CharliePapazian 22,126
Ratebeer @ratebeer 22,102
Beer Magazine @BeerMagazine 17,667
Beer Mapping Project @beermapping 13,037
Garrett Oliver @garrettoliver 8,958
Peter Kennedy @simplybeer 7,837
Jay Brooks @Brookston 6,088

0 thoughts on “So who are the big beery twitterers?

  1. A few quick comments…

    I guess followers are proportional to twitter activity, garret doesn’t seem to tweet much on his account

    I have 586 uk brewer twitter accounts on my two lists and although some may be multiple accounts for the same brewery or home brewers yet to go pro it still represents 50% of UK brewers and there are probably others I don’t know about

    also @brewdog has significantly more followers than Adnams with 28, 259 people…though the tweets are usually just marketing guff

    1. Thank you, it’s good to know that within minutes of my posting, someone can pop up and say: “There’s a big one you missed.” But I don’t follow Brewdog myself, and its main Twitter account seems to get few enough retweets – or none that ever appear on MY timeline, anyway. That’s my excuse, and I throw myself on the court’s mercy …

  2. Cheers Martyn, very good of you to go through and put this together, I work very hard to make sure my social media following is scanned for naughty people at all times, which is part of what I think makes a good community. 🙂

  3. Your US / UK tables for beer writers aren’t comparable. The lumping of a brewer like Oliver with a pro writer like Jay and forums is not informative. My thought is that the UK discourse is unified and less populated leading to fewer larger hubs while NAm discussion is regional, schismistic and more personal – less professionalized. You need to follow many more people to get a sense of what is happening under the PR spin.

    1. I’m sure you’re right, Alan. It’s a strangely unremarked fact that the US finds room for – what – half a dozen regional craft beer newspapers/magazines, while the UK struggles to maintain one.

      1. I think CAMRA gathers most of that UK regional content and focus to itself. The US has a different structure to its discourse with BA and RB attracting most of that energy nationally leaving the regional papers and mags and blogs with the more focused segments of the marketplace of ideas.

  4. Number of followers for BeerAdvocate seems like a strange anomaly, especially considering it mostly re-tweet the ‘Bros’ own accounts informing us of what music they are listening to or what beer they happen to be drinking, and I can’t imagine that anyone cares. I don’t mean that as a dig. I tweet all sorts of things that most people don’t give a shit about, but I also don’t expect to get 380,000 followers, ever.

  5. Hi Martyn,

    So I looked at the list and my first thought was: Where is @beerinator (Jonathan Surrett)? Everybody should be following him, @Jeremy_Danner, and @jalaffler, particularly when they are tweeting with each other.

    Granted, you have @beermapping (his project) but you only get a tweet there every few months. That, unfortunately for my productivity, led to much more looking. I guarantee I didn’t find every tweeter with higher numbers, but first some breweries:

    Bells 47,899
    Magic Hat 47,232
    Victory 42,106
    Founders 41,205
    Boulevard 37,020

    Given the “Founders Surprise” I’d guess there are some more I didn’t think to look at.

    “Beery” people obviously is more difficult to define. So here are the contenders, and Alan can decide what categories they belong in or if they belong at all:

    @beerpulse 34,467
    @TheBeerWench (Ashley Routson) 22,519
    @CraftBeerdotcom 19,444
    @BeerBizDaily (Harry Schuhmacher) 14,993 13,973
    @LagunitasT (Tony Magee) 13,902
    @Cicerone_org (Ray Daniels) 13,287
    @Craftbeer 13,205

    This will surely be followed by a comment pointing out a number I missed . . .

    1. Just seeing that now but I do agree with that list, Stan. It’s really “trade” bloggers as opposed to “consumer” bloggers, too. Worth separating and recognizing both.

  6. May be worth mentioning @Goodbeergoodpubs (5,509 followers) for beer festival dates and the official Wetherspoons twitter @jdwtweet (13,801).

  7. Thanks, Wet Finger, you’ve (almost) made the point and purpose of Twitter intelligible. But what struck me was your throwaway stat: the USA only has FIVE times the UK population… Crikey, it’s crowded in here! No wonder someone is always jogging my drinking elbow.


  8. Great information and extremely interesting Topic. I’m new to the Twittering, having resisted for many years out of sheer old womanry, but now that I’m in deep, I’m glad to have information on who is retweeting what and when for why.


  9. Coming to this late… but I have a data-point to add. We make the effort to gather web/twitter links for all the breweries at our beer festivals (North Herts CAMRA). Looking at my list of 51 breweries for our fest next week I see that we have found Twitter accounts for 38 of them – so roughly 75%.

    Twitter network graphing/analysis of the UK beer scene could be an interesting project for some nerd with enough spare time 🙂 I’d love to do it myself, but time does not permit. It seems a very Twitter-ified community (and quite a close-knit one).

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