Drink a Beer was released in November 2013 as the third single from Luke Bryan's fourth studio album,
Crash My Party. Bryan has described "Drink a Beer" as "the coolest sad song ever" and,
despite not having a hand in writing it, connects with the story after having lost both of
his siblings. He dedicated his performance of the song at the CMA Awards on November 6, 2013
to his late siblings Chris and Kelly.
The song is a country ballad about the unexpected loss of someone close. It tells the story of
a character who honors the recent passing of a loved one by watching the sunset on the edge of
a pier and drinking a beer, which they normally would have done together.
"Drink a Beer" takes a relatively unique approach to the theme of loss by addressing the "very raw, real emotion"
that immediately follows the loss of a loved one rather than focusing on how a person copes in the long term
or plans to move on and rebuild.
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."