The Beer Continuum

Posted on by David Stubbs


The Beer Continuum is a concept I thought up a while back in University. I had noticed an odd pattern happening whenever a group of people go out drinking - something of a self perpetuating pattern.

At the beginning of the night, a group of people will mostly get a drink at the same time, however due to different drinking speeds, various drink sizes and possible chugging bets, people consume the drinks at a variable rate. Once someone is fished their drink they have to ask themselves a very important question.

      Should I get another drink now or wait until my mates are done?

In this context the subjects are British, but I digress. My hypothesis hinges on that question, and it is the point where the Beer Continuum takes effect. As everyone finishes their respective drinks, they will all internally ask this question.

In a completely non-scientific study, it turns out that roughly 70% of people will separate from the group to quench their thirst for another alcoholic beverage as opposed to waiting for the slower members of the group. I'll illustrate the phenomenon with a more concrete example

  1. Subject A just finished their drink, Subject B's drink is still half full
  2. Subject A decides to gets another drink instead of waiting
  3. Subject B finishes their drink, Subject A's is only half done their drink
  4. Subject B opts to get another drink instead of waiting

Supporting visualization!


And thus a pattern is born to imbibe more alcohol. Great news for bars, and fascinating for me.