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​The beer that Americans buzz about the most

A time-honored tradition on St. Patrick's Day is lifting up a pint in celebration, no matter what your nationality or background. There's one beer that Americans talk about more than any other -- and it's not Irish.

The beer brand that Americans say they hear most about is Samuel Adams, which earned the highest "buzz score" of 13.4 from YouGov BrandIndex, which tracks brand perception for consumer products like beer and cars. The score is based on the number of people over the age of 21 saying they've heard something about the beer, whether that's positive or negative, in recent months.

That doesn't mean that Sam Adams is America's best loved beer, but it does signify that American drinkers are aware of the brand and might just reach for one in the cooler. Large beer companies like Samuel Adams' Boston Beer Company (SAM) and Anheuser Busch InBev (BUD) have the advantage of large advertising budgets, which help create buzz about their brews. Craft beers, on the other hand, might not have the same marketing muscle, but they make up for it in devoted (and often local) fan bases.

So how did the Irish beer most familiar to Americans score on the BrandIndex's survey? Guinness cracked the top 10, coming in at No. 9 with 6.9 buzz score.

The survey polled about 36,000 adults during the past 16 months.

Craft breweries, in the meantime, are taking up a greater share of the pie, but many are small and regional, which makes it more difficult for them to show up in a national poll. There are more than 3,400 craft brewers in the U.S., with only 135 of them considered "regional" craft brewers. The remainder are either microbreweries or brewpubs, according to the Brewers Association.

Nevertheless, the craft beer segment is enjoying the type of growth that the big brewers can only dream about. Sales of craft beer jumped almost 17 percent in 2014, while mass market beers have struggled to retain drinkers.

One of the beers to suffer a big plunge in perception is Dos Equis, the Mexican beer that earlier this month said it would retire the current actor portraying The Most Interesting Man in the World. Played by Jonathan Goldsmith for nine years, the character is now featured in an ad showing him lifting off on a one-way trip to Mars.

The brand plans to replace him with a younger character as America's millennial generation hits its drinking-age stride. Many in this generation prefer craft beer, which adds to the challenges of mass-market brands such as Dos Equis in reaching the group.

Below are the top beer brands as ranked by their buzz scores, according to BrandIndex.

1. Samuel Adams 13.4

2. Budweiser 11.4

3. Redd's Apple Ale 9.5

4. Bud Light 9.1

5. Heineken 8

6. Corona 8

7. Stella Artois 7.9

8. Dos Equis 7.1

9. Guinness 6.9

10. Blue Moon 6.9

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