Did you know your personality defines what beer you drink?

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Beer and Personality 

Thinking about big things – like the creation of time, space, matter and gravity – does your head in. Question such as “if the universe is infinite in time and space, then what was there before it came into being?”. It does your head in. What’s needed is a good analogy.

To grasp what things were like before the big bang, you need to consider beer.

In the dark proto-void, formless and shapeless people could really only choose from two types of beer - the green-bottle global brands and brown-bottle bulk producers. In this dismal pre-universe existence debates raged about the differences between, say Speights and DB, or between Heineken and Steinlager, but in reality everything, everywhere was all exactly the same.

Until one day, everything wasn’t.

An explosion of craft brewers, like NZ’s famous Garage Project burst into the void, shouldering the slumbering beer brands to the edge. Curious and inventive souls pushed the boundaries of brewing, creating a new universe of tastes and styles. A famous beer theorist predicted the big bang with her now famous theorem:

E = yh2

Excitement = yeast x lots of good hops

That’s proper physics. 

Suddenly, beer drinkers are being dazzled by the new particle physics of brewing. A staggering array of flavours and beer names erupted upon the drinking public: IPAs, APAs, Sours, Lambics, Festbiers, Pilsners & Hazy’s. It’s as bad as quantum mechanics. 

(And as a reminder, beer is consistently the most consumed alcoholic beverage in the world. While we might drink lakes of wine, we consume oceans of beer. Beer has been, is now and will forever be a staple of human existence).  

With so much innovation and so many different beers the people are becoming confused.  

As scholars of human behaviour, we psychologists Winsborough will bring rigour and science to answer the question on everyone’s lips: does my personality predict what beer I will like? 

Science, bless it, has an answer, and it is yes. 

But before we reveal all, let’s get a few things straight about personality.  Did you know that we can classify every single person on the planet by their score on just five dimensions?  

It’s true.   

Humans, just like dogs or yeasts, are a species.  And species have particular characteristics around which individuals vary.  Just like height, or weight, we vary on whether we are: 

  1. Sociable and outgoing or introverted and shy. 
  2. Calm and at ease with ourselves or self-critical and worrying. 
  3. Organised and structured or unreliable and flexible. 
  4. Pragmatic and down-to-earth or dreamy and creative. 
  5. Warm, caring and pleasant or tough-minded, blunt and argumentative. 

Some of these traits predict beer preferences, according to research.  Which ones? 

Beer drinkers tend to be more outgoing, sensation seeking and rule bending than wine drinkers.  Just FYI, the nicer and more agreeable you are, the less likely you are to drink wine everyday.   

So, people who prefer beer are more likely to score high on the measures of  extroversion, emotional stability, and openness to new ideas.  And they are a little less conscientious and rule-abiding than wine, cider or spirit drinkers. 

That said, there are differences between people who prefer lighter, lager beers and those who like more bitter IPAs. The IPA drinkers tend to be much more curious, inventive and open to new ideas.  One of the researchers said: "These data suggest liking and intake of pale ales is positively related to sensation seeking and bitter taste perception." 

On the other hand, lager drinkers tend towards being outgoing and social, but less dreamy, and are more down-to earth and pragmatic. 


It looks a bit like this:

Beer – the “drink of the people” – is linked to greater satisfaction with life and resilience.  And it explains everything after the big bang. 


Betancur, I., Motoki, K., Spence, C. & Velasco C. (2020). Factors influencing the choice of beer: A review. Food Research International,137. 

Gustavsen, G.W. & Rickertsen, K. (2019). Personality Traits and Consumption of Wine and Beer. Journal of Wine Economics , Volume 14 , Issue 4 , November 2019 , pp. 392 – 399. 

Hakulinena,C., Elovainioa, M., Batty, G.D., Virtanenf, M., Kivimakic,M. & Jokela , M. (2015). Personality and alcohol consumption: Pooled analysis of 72,949 adults from eight cohort studies. Drug and Alcohol Dependence .151, 110–114.  

Higgins, M.J., Bakke, A. & Hayes, J.E. (2020) Personality traits and bitterness perception influence the liking and intake of pale ale style beers, Food Quality and Preference,86, ISSN 0950-3293. 

Jonason, P., Talbot, D. & Anderson, J. (2021). What People Drink and Where They Drink It Can Inform Us About Their Personality. Psihologijske Teme. 30. 115-123.  

McGregor, D., Murray, R.P., & Barnes, G. (2003). Personality differences between users of wine, beer and spirits in a community sample: the Winnipeg Health and Drinking Survey. Journal of studies on alcohol, 64 5, 634-40 .