While Bourdieu spoke of taste in much broader cultural terms, we can use his description of taste for the American beer drinker. What is a consumer’s relationship to the flavor of their beer? If we take the American Light Lager as an example, it is comparatively speaking a relatively mild and tasteless beverage. Low in alcohol, bitterness, malt flavors, and filtered strongly to remove any trace of sediment; the light lager is exemplified by the most popular beers in America, Bud Light and Coors Light. Both brands accounted for over 8.2 billion dollars in sales for the American beer market in 2013, far outnumbering all craft brewers when put together. Budweiser, the standard American lager, accounts for over 2.1 billion dollars; and only in 2014 did all craft beer production finally outpace Budweiser production. There exists a duality to beer popularity in America, the vulgar consumers, according to Bourdieu, consume without knowledge or background of the product, nor care for the actual flavor of the product. They do not exist within the habitus for beer, whereas consumers with distinction will engage in discriminating consumption, asking the questions of “who, what, where, when, why, and how” their beer was made. What is dubbed craft brewed beer attracts consumers with far greater clarity of language, structure, and understanding of beer culture.
Eric Ortega, “The Golden State of Brewing; California’s Economic and Cultural Influence in the American Brewing Industry” (Master’s thesis, California State University, Fullerton, 2015), 10.