With quite a few sought out stouts in the portfolio, Founders Brewing started the #StoutSeason campaign back in 2012 to mark the time when these beers were available. More generally, though, stouts and other dark beers have been seen as cold weather beverages meant to warm you up...or at least make you not care if you are cold. I've always heard people say that stouts are for cold weather, but have always been curious about how true this is (from a behavior standpoint at least) and, more importanlty, just when is stout season, exactly?!
I've long been an advocate of the "summer stout," more to be contrary than anything. But am I the weirdo? Or is stout as a winter-only beverage an urban legend deserving of a good old-fashioned Snopes.com-style debunking?
In the spirit of a recent article I wrote, "Why Is Pumpkin Beer Released in August," I went back to Google Trends to check out what the reality of the situation is. To make up for year-over-year growth of craft beer, I normalized the data on a June-May year. I also removed a few irrelevant months from the graph that I published here, but only to make the image easier to publish and maintain readability. This "missing data" was taken into account when I actually went over the seasonality.
And, well...the results were fairly obvious. Stout Season starts fairly sharply in November and lasts through March, with a sharp drop-off in April. Seeing as people think of stout as a cold weather beverage, it seems that this belief really does influence behavior and interest in a pretty serious way! For five months of the year interest is piqued, while for the remaining seven months, it's quite low. Oddly enough, if you look back at "Why Is Pumpkin Beer Released in August," you'll see that Stout Season picks up right where Pumpkin Beer Season leaves off. Either way, October shows interest in stouts begin to rise before it spikes in November. In an attempt at hipsterdom, I'm going to enjoy some this month (October)...before they're popular again.