And The Survey Says …

Beer still reigns King in the world of adult beverages!!!

Over the past few years, wine and spirits have been stealing beer market share. But the long time champion is making a steady come back. For the first time since 2002, beer’s lead over wine & spirits has returned to double digits. According the Gallop’s recent annual Consumption Habits survey, 42% of U.S. drinkers declared beer their beverage of choice, up from 40% last year.

The popularity of beer still does not compare to its heyday during the 1990s — when nearly half of Americans cited beer as their preferred alcohol beverage.

Major preferential differences can be seen in age group polls. In the age segment of 18 to 29 year-old drinkers, preference for spirits and wine continues to gain on beer — which is still preferred by 45% of those polled in that age group.

In contrast, wine is the preferred beverage of older drinkers, and has been since the early 1990s. Drinkers aged 50 and older have also had stable preferences in recent years.

Despite the previous two findings, overall preference for beer has experienced a signifcant increase in the last year. This is largely due in part to the Americans between the ages of 30 and 49. In combined data from the 2004 and 2005 Consumption surveys, drinkers between 30 and 49 were about as likely to prefer wine as beer. Now, drinkers in this age bracket have shifted back to beer, with an average of 47% in the combined 2007-2008 data saying they most often drink beer.

As for the number of drinks that adults consumed last year, beer declined to 56% from 60%, while wine and spirits grew to 14% and 30%, respectively. Yet, even with declined consumption, beer continues to represent the largest segment in the alcohol beverage category in volume and dollar sales.

This year’s consumption poll also finds:

  • Sixty-two percent of Americans say they drink alcohol, a percentage that has varied little in the last 10 years.
  • The average drinker reports having consumed 3.8 alcoholic drinks in the past week. This is the first time the average has dropped below 4 drinks since 2001. It had been as high as 5.1 in 2003.
  • Continuing a recent trend, Gallup finds a higher proportion of drinkers claiming to have had an alcoholic beverage in the last 24 hours. Exactly 36% of Americans have reported drinking alcohol in the last 24 hours in each of the last four Gallup consumption polls. This compares to an average of 30% from 2000-2004.
  • “Daily drinking” is more common among Americans of higher socioeconomic status. Over the past four years, an average of 42% of college graduates report having had a drink in the last 24 hours, compared with 32% of those who have not graduated from college.
  • Similarly, 41% of drinkers with incomes of $75,000 or greater say they have had a drink in the past 24 hours, compared with 36% of middle-income respondents (those with household incomes between $30,000 and $74,999) and just 23% of those residing in lower-income households (with incomes of less than $30,000).
  • Men are more likely than women to have had a drink during the previous day, 43% to 28%.
  • Older drinkers are more likely than younger drinkers to have consumed alcohol in the previous 24 hours — 39% of those aged 50 and older say they drank in the last 24 hours, compared with 35% of those aged 30 to 49 and just 28% of those below 30.

Source: Gallop

About The Beer Wench

Ashley is a self-proclaimed craft beer evangelist & social media maven on a mission to advance the craft beer industry through education, inspiration and advocacy. She is currently the “Director of Awesomeness” at Bison Brewing in Berkeley, CA — where her responsibilities include everything from marketing, sales, PR, social media & events. Ashley is also a freelance consultant and professional speaker on the subjects of social media, beer mixology, food & beverage pairings. She is the founder of & as well as a regular contributor to

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