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The following appeared as part of an article in a trade magazine for breweries.
ďMagic Hat Brewery recently released the results of a survey of visitors to its
tasting room last year. Magic Hat reports that the majority of visitors asked to taste
its low-calorie beers. To boost sales, other small breweries should brew low-calorie
beers as well.Ē
Discuss how well reasoned . . . etc.
In this article small breweries are urged to brew low-calorie beers in order to boost sales. In support of this recommendation the
author cites a survey conducted at Magic Hat Brewery revealing that a majority of visitors to its tasting room asked to taste its lowcalorie
beers. Presumably, the authorís line of reasoning is that since the survey conducted at Magic Hat shows a high level of interest
in low-calorie beers, other breweries would be wise to brew low-calorie beers as well. The authorís argument is problematic for several
To begin with, the validity of the survey conducted at Magic Hat Brewery is doubtful. Lacking information about the number of visitors
surveyed and the number of respondents, it is impossible to assess the results. For example, if 100 visitors were surveyed but only 20
responded, the majority who asked to taste low-calorie beers could be as few as 11 of the 100 visitors. Obviously, such result would
provide little evidence for the authorís recommendation. Because the author offers no evidence that would rule out interpretations such
as this, the survey results as stated are insufficient to support the recommendation.
Next, even if the results of the survey accurately reflect a high level of interest in low-calorie beers among Magic Hatís visitors, this
may not be true for other breweries. While the survey is suggestive of a widespread interest in low-calorie beers, it is insufficient to
establish this general claim because there is no reason to believe that Magic Hat Brewery is representative of other small breweries.
For example, if Magic Hat specialized in low-calorie beers, the results of the survey would be highly questionable when applied to small
breweries in general. Once again, because the author offers no evidence that would rule out interpretations such as this, the survey
results as stated are insufficient to support the recommendation.
Finally, since the authorís recommendation is aimed at boosting breweriesí sales, it must be shown that visitor interest in tasting lowcalorie
beers resulted in sales of these beers. No evidence is offered in the argument to support this crucial connection. Thus the
authorís recommendation cannot be taken seriously.
In conclusion, the survey conducted at Magic Hat Brewery offers little support for the authorís recommendation. To strengthen the
conclusion the author would have to provide detailed information about the survey that demonstrates its validity. Moreover, it would be
necessary to show that Magic Hat Brewery was representative of other small breweries and that visitor interest in tasting low-calorie
beers resulted in sales of these beers.