Americans adults love to drink. What they like to drink most might surprise you. Now, beer continues to be the alcoholic beverage U.S. drinkers say they drink most often; but, for the first time in Gallup trends, liquor essentially ties wine in second place.
The latest results are from Gallup’s July 1-12 Consumption Habits survey and are based on telephone interviews with U.S. national adults, aged 18 and older.
Some Interesting Numbers
Twenty-nine percent of drinkers name liquor as their preferred drink. That is up 19% from a year ago. Despite the lower percentage measured last year, the broad trend is one of increased preference for liquor. The average percentage preferring liquor has risen from 19% in the 1990s to 21% in the early 2000s to 23% over the past five years.
30% of drinkers now say they most often drink wine. That is on the low end of the range seen over the past two decades, with between 30% and 35% most years saying they prefer wine. However, wine drinking today is still more common than in the 1990s when just over a quarter of U.S. drinkers preferred it.
Preferred Spirit Varies by Gender, Age & Even Region
Drinkers’ increased preference for liquor has occurred primarily among young and middle-aged adults, with less movement among those 50 and older. Offsetting this trend, young adults have grown less partial to wine while middle-aged adults are less likely to say they prefer beer.
Adults under 55 are most likely to prefer beer as well as liquor, while adults over 55 are the most likely to prefer wine.
Residents of the East and Midwest are most partial to beer. While no particular region is particularly oriented to wine or liquor, the Midwest lags behind the other regions in preferring wine.
There is also a socio-economic component to alcohol preferences, with higher education and high-income Americans being above par in preferring wine. By contrast, lower education and lower-income Americans are the most partial to beer.
Drinking Rate Stays Steady at 65%
Despite the slight changes in the type of alcoholic beverages drinkers favor, the Americans who report drinking alcohol has held steady over the past 20 years at just under two-thirds. 65% of all U.S. adults, aged 18 and older, say they “have occasion to use alcoholic beverages such as liquor, wine or beer” while 34% describe themselves as a “total abstainer.”
The Bottom Line
Alcohol remains a popular beverage in the U.S., with nearly two in three Americans drinking it. However, Americans’ preferred type of alcoholic beverage has varied a bit over the years. This seems to reflect in industry trends as the rise of craft beers and more recently craft liquors occur. Health trends, such as the recent popularity of low carb diets (28% of Americans recently told Gallup they try to avoid carbohydrates) may also explain why some people have gravitated toward liquor. Unlike wine and beer, straight liquor is carb-free.
While beer is not as dominant as it was a quarter-century ago, it remains the most popular of the three types of alcohol, with men primarily responsible for keeping it in the top spot.
Roughly seven in 10 Americans who use alcohol say their most recent drink was within the past week; 30% say they last drank over a week ago.
What an interesting study. Here’s the good news! You can get liquor, wine or beer at The Dive Bar. We also have great pub grub, karaoke all week, live bands all month long, lot’s of cool and happy people, great vibes, stiff cocktails, and the best staff this side of the Mississippi. We hope to see you down here ASAP. We will save a stool for you.