Songfacts®: You can leave comments about the song at the bottom of the page.
Bryan recorded this mournful eulogy for a friend or relative who died too young with the help of Chris Stapleton (who co-wrote the tune with Jim Beavers) on harmony vocals. "Having Chris Stapleton sing background on it, that's like heaven. That's like me being in a foot race with Usain Bolt [Olympic Gold-winning sprinter] or something," says Luke. "Having Chris Stapleton sing, he's the best singer on the planet to me. So, for him to come in and lend his backgrounds on it takes this song even yet to a higher level with just how powerful he is as a singer and an artist."
Bryan debuted the reflective song at the 2013 Country Radio Seminar in Nashville on February 27, 2013.
Luke Bryan described this to Radio.com
as the coolest sad song that he's ever recorded: "I just thought it was an amazingly written song, he said. " It was something that everybody can connect with because so many people out there have lost somebody. And their connection with them was, they used to have a beer in a bar with them, or have a beer anywhere with them. Drinking a beer with a friend is a huge connection, and that song bridges all those emotions together. Like I said, it's one of the coolest sad songs I've ever heard."
Co-songwriter Jim Beavers recalled the writing of the song to Roughstock
: "Chris (Stapleton) and I had been writing a lot together, and were in a good groove, creatively," he said. "We had the chorus for 'Drink a Beer,' but for some reason didn't really know what it was about. We just knew we liked the way it sounded. There was a heaviness to the melody and imagery of that guy on the pier by himself. I remember we tried a lot of dead-end scenarios of why the guy went out there but none of them ever felt right. Thankfully, we finally settled on the notion that the guy went out there to be alone and contemplate the bad news he'd gotten about losing someone close to him. All of a sudden the chorus and melody made perfect sense to us."
"I distinctly remember the lightning bolt moment when we figures out the singer went to the pier to drink a beer because that's what he and his loved one used to do together," Beavers continued. "To me, that is the point of the song. I've heard and read some people wondering why the guy in the song thinks simply drinking beer is the appropriate response to the news he got that day. I guess they aren't listening to the lyrics in the bridge where the singer reveals that this pier is where he used to come with his lost love one. That felt real to us as writers. The song isn't about the weeks, months and years of missing someone; its about that terrible moment when you get terrible news. What do you do? What can you do? The answer is there is nothing you can do but try to absorb the shock."
"Chris and I decided the song didn't need a full studio demo," added Beavers. "Chris is one of the greatest singers on the planet, so a simple guitar/vocal is all we did for the song ... just me and Chris playing guitar with him singing in one take. When you have a song that is emotional lyrically that's often all it wants. It had been around town for at least a year or so when I got word that Luke's producer, Jeff Stevens, heard it and really liked it. By that time I was beginning to wonder if anyone else thought the song was as cool as I did. Thankfully Mike Whelan and Dale Dodson at my publishing company, Sony, played it for him. Jeff is a great songwriter himself so it takes something special to get his attention. He loved the song, and more importantly, believed Luke would love the song as well. And he was right ... Luke did love it, enough to record it."
Bryan has had to deal with the loss of both his brother Chris in 1997 and sister Kelly in 2007, so the song really hit home with him. According to Beavers, the singer told him that, "he hopes other people would connect to it like he did and maybe find a little healing because of it."
The music video is a simple and heartfelt tribute to Bryan's fallen brother and sister. The clip is made up of the footage and performance from the singer's 2013 CMA Awards performance, where he raised a beer in memory to his late siblings.
This was Bryan's sixth #1 on the Country chart, and the fourth 21st century chart-topper with the word "beer" in its title. The previous ones were:
2003 - Toby Keith and Willie Nelson's "Beer For My Horses
2007 - Kenny Chesney's "Beer in Mexico."
2010 - Billy Currington's "Pretty Good at Drinkin' Beer
Bryan discussed performing the song on his That's My Kind of Night Tour: "I've had tons of people walk up and say, 'Gosh, I used to go fish with my Dad, and we would drink a beer, and my dad's passed away. And I drink a beer when I'm fishing, I think about my Dad.' There's tons of those stories," he said.
"It's really special to be on stage and look out in the crowd…and you can tell when somebody's really, really affected by it emotionally, and they're thinking about a lost loved one and stuff, and I think that's special for me to have in my show," Bryan added. "Obviously, my show has a lot of big fun moments where everybody's kind of letting their hair down and dancing and having a great time, but it's nice to have that real, real surreal moment in my show too."
"We played a real big indoor arena that had about 24,000 people in it, and a lot of 'em had their cell phones lit up during 'Drink a Beer.' It was a real magical kind of deal," he continued. "It was very powerful, and it's an emotional ride for me every night to perform it, and I love having that aspect to my show too where I can just sit down and be real raw and real emotional with a song for the fans."
Mike Love of The Beach Boys
The lead singer/lyricist of The Beach Boys talks about coming up with the words for "Good Vibrations," "Fun, Fun, Fun," "Kokomo" and other classic songs.
Jesus Christ Superstar: Ted Neeley Tells the Inside Story
Expect to see protests even in today's society, as Jesus Christ Superstar
, the film, marks its 40th anniversary with a worldwide theater tour. Here, we take a walk down film location lane with Ted Neeley, or "Christ," if you prefer.
Into the vaults for this talk with Bolton from the '80s when he was a focused on writing songs for other artists.