There’s no denying that a crisp beer pairs perfectly with football tailgating, and new data from BeerBoard shows the increased strength of that partnership.

Draft beer consumption was up by 21 percent this year during the National Football League (NFL)’s opening week, according to a Sept. 12 report. Nationwide, football fans gulped more draft brews from Thursday to Sunday of this year compared to 2021, marking an upward trend since the start of the pandemic.

BeerBoard provides data and analytic services for retailers, brewers, and distributors in the beer industry, according to its website. In this report, the company specifically measured nationwide on-premise data from Sept. 8-11.

Light lager Michelob Ultra was a standout in draft pours last week, grabbing an 11.3 percent share of orders in restaurants, bars, and other on-premise locations. During the kickoff game on Thursday in Buffalo, N.Y., the city’s most popular beer was also Michelob Ultra (12.4 percent share). Los Angeles drinkers especially enjoyed Modelo Especial; the Mexican beer captured an 11 percent share in the West Coast city.

While pours of beer on tap are up from last year, it seems that draft beer consumption by volume hasn’t yet reached pre-pandemic levels. The 2022 numbers are still down by 17 percent when compared to 2019. Still, beer brands are experiencing a second straight year of steady growth in this category, with Texas, Florida, and California leading as the states with the highest beer consumption by volume.

If opening week is any indication, football fans can expect drafts to be flowing throughout the 2022 season. Cheers!

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