Victoria talks beer culture

Bianca Montes By Bianca Montes

July 24, 2013 at 2:24 a.m.

Whether you're calling it beer or cerveza, we're drinking it, especially in Texas.

The Beer Institute released a 2012 state-by-state analysis about America's drinking habits - and Good ol' Texas ranked ninth in consumption.

According to the data, more than 19.8 million 31-gallon barrels of beer were shipped to Texas, making the per capita consumption a little more than 34.4 gallons per person.

The data was broken down by looking at the total population of people 21 years old and older - of course.

Some drink a little more, some drink a little less and some don't drink at all. You do the math.

That's right, Victoria; we're talking about beer.

There's no doubt about it. When it comes to beer distribution in Victoria, light beers - such as Miller, Coors and Bud Light - are the top sellers, said Barry Hartman with Hartman Distributing Company in Victoria.

"Texans love their beer from the standpoint that they don't just want to sip it," he said.

Light beers tend to have fewer calories and a lower alcohol content than the craft and dark beers, so "you don't have to worry about getting drunk fast," Hartman said.

Eric Macek said he tends to switch which light beer he drinks, but he does not experiment with other types.

He said there are few people in Victoria who drink the other types of beer, but it's a hype thing.

"People like dark lager for the image," he said. "It's not about the taste."

Although the light beers are the most popular in the area, Oscar Sicola, senior buyer for Spec's Wine, Spirits and Finer Foods, said he's beginning to see a trend with craft beers in Victoria.

"Texans are very loyal to home brews," he said.

Shiner is a good example of that. According to Spec's sales, the Shiner brand is the No. 1 selling craft beer in Texas.

A new trend in drinking is also becoming obvious based off younger drinkers in Victoria.

Sterling Lynch is a huge fan of dark beers and refers to the lights as "piss beer."

Lynch said he never really liked beer until he began to experiment with bocks.

"I say, if you can't drink a beer warm," he said, "It's not worth drinking."

Brandon Bancuch is a fan of IPAs but finds it hard to go out in Victoria and get a good beer.

"Victoria (bars) don't have a good selection," he said.

Bancuch said he enjoys the beers with a hoppier flavor.

As for his mother, she likes her Michelob Ultra.

"It tastes really good, and it's low in calories," Kathy Bancuch said.

But, when she likes to party, Dos Equis is her brand.

For a long time Corona was the No. 1 Mexican import in Victoria, but Sicola said Dos Equis has taken over.

Dos Equis is the second most sold beer at Spec's.

Hartman said while it might not look like it based off of sales, Victorians like to try new flavors when it comes to drinking.

In 2012, wine sales beat out liquor sales with 35 percent of people saying wine is their alcoholic beverage of choice.

Cider ales have become a good alternative for beer sellers, Sicola said.

"No one would have thought the cider category would have gotten as big as it has," he said.

Angry Orchard is the No. 4 seller at Spec's in Victoria.

Lynch said he is not impressed with the trends and does not think it will last - at least not in Victoria.

"Give them five years, and they'll all be drinking Miller, Budweiser and Coors," he said.



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