Wine Gains Momentum as Americans' Favorite Adult Beverage – Part 1 of 4
Lydia Saad – July 19, 2005
Special analysis shows different shifts in drinking preferences by age
For the first time in Gallup's measurement of Americans' drinking preferences, there is a statistical tie between wine and beer as the alcoholic beverage adult drinkers say they drink most often. As recently as last year, beer edged out wine as Americans' standard drink. Today, 39% of drinkers in the United States say they drink wine most often, while 36% say they usually drink beer. This is according to Gallup's annual Consumption Habits poll, conducted July 7-10, 2005.
Overall, 63% of Americans say they drink alcohol, which is consistent with the rate of drinking recorded for most of the six decades Gallup has asked this question. The major exception is the period from 1976 through 1981, when 69%-71% said they drank alcohol.
Most of the latest change in Americans' preference for type of drink is seen in the percentage naming wine, up six points from 33% in 2004. This is the first significant shift in wine preferences recorded in the last eight years.
When Gallup asked Americans about their drinking preferences in 1992, beer was the runaway leader, with 47% naming it; just 27% named wine. Liquor has consistently ranked third, with between 18% and 24% naming it as their preferred drink.
Given the overall trends, one might assume that beer drinkers have merely switched over to wine. But a close review of the data suggests a more complicated pattern of changes in alcohol consumption since 1992. With one demographic group, beer drinking is giving way to liquor, while among another, beer is losing ground to wine; with still another, the preference for liquor is declining while wine is gaining.
The net result is a decrease in the percentage of drinkers naming beer as their standard drink (from 47% in 1992 to 36% today) and a commensurate increase in wine drinkers (from 27% to 39%), with no change in those preferring liquor (21%).
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