Alcohol Drinkers Show Uptick in Preference for Liquor

July 31, 2017

This article is included in these additional categories:

CPG & FMCG | Demographics & Audiences | Industries | Men | Women

Some 62% of American adults report drinking alcohol, down from 65% last year but well within the 55-71% range observed over the past 70-odd years, reveals Gallup in new survey results. Among alcohol drinkers, beer remains the beverage of choice, as it has since 2005, with 40% saying it’s what they drink most often.

Interestingly, though, this year’s data shows an uptick in the proportion of alcohol drinkers who say they drink liquor most regularly. In fact, the 26% reporting doing so is the highest figure on record, at least going back as far as 1992. (It has otherwise generally stood in the 21-23% range since the turn of the century.)

That puts liquor very close to wine (30%) in terms of drinkers’ preferences. Gallup points to data from the Distilled Spirits Council of the United States (DISCUS), which earlier this year reported that the distilled spirits sector in 2016 registered its 7th consecutive year of market share increases relative to beer. DISCUS estimates that retail sales of distilled spirits in the US reached almost $78 billion last year.

Meanwhile, there continues to be a strong gender gap in preferred alcohol type. Some 62% of male drinkers drink beer most regularly, compared to 19% of female drinkers. By contrast, 50% of women report a preference for wine, versus 11% of male drinkers.

In other results from the report:

  • Some 38% of American adults totally abstain from drinking alcohol, and that figure has remained below 40% since 1997;
  • Among those who drink alcoholic beverages, 37% reported doing so within the past 24 hours, compared to 32% who last drank between a day and a week ago and 31% who did so more than a week ago; and
  • Of those who drank within the past week, a slight majority (51%) consumed 1-7 drinks.

About the Data: The Gallup data is based on telephone interviews conducted July 5-9, 2017, with a random sample of 1,021 adults, aged 18 and older, living in all 50 U.S. states and the District of Columbia. For results based on the total sample of national adults, the margin of sampling error is ±4 percentage points at the 95% confidence level. All reported margins of sampling error include computed design effects for weighting.


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