Choice, convenience, prices and happy people.
Those, in a nutshell, are the reasons Indiana has reached the top of a new list of the best small towns in America — for beer lovers.
The website creditdonkey.com has published its ranking of American places to take a stroll — not a long one, mind you — for a cold one with friends.
The ranking of the best small cities for beer lovers was published Wednesday.
Creditdonkey holds the Indiana University of Pennsylvania campus among the factors leading to Indiana’s No. 1 national ranking — if anything, for providing a clientele for the beer businesses.
And the neighborhood taverns are plenty — one per 3,703 people in the area, according to the survey. That comparatively low ratio of watering holes to the thirsty means competition, and lower prices.
Low alcohol taxes help keep those prices down, and the beer tax rate, measured at 0.08 by the website, makes quenching the thirst less of a burden on the beer aficionados’ pocket.
When you chart out those oases of malted beverage, the survey makers found them close to home. Almost everyone’s homes, actually, with Indiana earning a stellar 98 “walk score” as a measure of convenience for patrons of the pubs.
“Walk Score, a company that promotes and rates ‘walkable’ neighborhoods, ranks the accessibility of a city’s entertainment venues, restaurants, and, yes, bars by foot,” according to creditdonkey.com. “Typically, the higher the Walk Score, the better the city’s public transportation and overall health of residents. A low Walk Score reflects the likelihood beer drinkers would have to drive to get to their favorite bar after a night out.”
Credit Donkey added the unemployment rate to the mix, but not in a “drown your sorrows” way of thinking. Here, the 7.1 percent unemployment rate is a happy factor. “Low unemployment rates result in better attitudes and mental health outcomes,” the survey people explained on the website.
Finally, the researchers tapped Indiana’s traditional top attraction as a factor in making the area a great place to tap a keg: It’s Jimmy Stewart’s hometown.
“Rumor has it that Jimmy loved beer and would have weekly beer and steak parties. We like to think Stewart would have approved of his hometown topping this list.”
Three Pennsylvania towns placed in the Small Town top 10 on the creditdonkey.com site: Meadville ranked fourth on the list, and Sunbury placed 10th.
Michigan had two entries; others are towns in New York, Washington, Texas, California and Wisconsin.