Brewbound Podcast Episode 30: NBWA Chief Economist Lester Jones Explains ‘Cognitive Beer Dissonance’

NBWA chief economist Lester Jones has a theory: The beer industry is suffering from cognitive dissonance.

“Cognitive dissonance, in psychology, is this mental discomfort that everyone experiences when they have … contradictory beliefs and facts that send them into a state of confusion,” he told the Brewbound Podcast.

Despite the ongoing narratives that beer sales are slumping and millennial consumers are cutting their alcohol consumption, there isn’t enough data that paints an accurate picture of the current landscape to say definitively that those phenomena are actually occurring, Jones said.

To make his point, Jones argued that the growing popularity of hard seltzer, hard kombucha, and other non-traditional products could be part of the reason why sales of standard beer are declining.

However, that doesn’t mean that millennial consumers are wreaking havoc on the alcohol industry.

“They will find brands that they like; they will become brand loyal consumers,” he said of millennial drinkers. “They will change the face of the beer industry and 10 years from now we will look back on millennials and say – you know what, they actually behave like everyone else did.”

In episode 30 of the Brewbound Podcast, Jones explains how the NBWA’s monthly “Beer Purchaser’s Index” can help predict future industry trends, and how beer professionals can use it to make more informed decisions. He also explains his “cognitive beer dissonance” theory and gives us all a reason to believe that the industry is actually pretty healthy.

Listen to episode 30 of the Brewbound Podcast above, as well as on iTunes, Google Play, Stitcher, Spotify, and Soundcloud. New episodes of the Brewbound Podcast, which is co-hosted by Chris Furnari and Justin Kendall, are published every Thursday.

Episode 31, featuring Revolution Brewing chief commercial officer Donn Bichsel, will be released on Thursday, April 11.

For questions, comments or suggestions, please email

Show Notes:

0:00 – 20:25: Furnari and Kendall introduce episode 30, discuss a recent encounter with baseball legend Wade Boggs and discuss the latest news

20:25 – 54:00 Furnari and Kendall interview Lester Jones

54:00 – 1:07: Furnari and Kendall share their takeaways from the interview + segments

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The Brewbound Podcast features interviews with beer industry executives and entrepreneurs, along with highlights and commentary from the weekly news. New episodes every Thursday.