Beer continues to be Americans’ preferred alcoholic drink, although wine remains a close second, with liquor favored by 22%. In fact, Americans’ drinking habits held steady in the past year, with 66% saying they consume alcohol, and drinkers consuming just over four alcoholic drinks per week, on average.
The findings are from Gallup’s annual Consumption Habits poll. Although 66% of Americans say they “have occasion to drink alcoholic beverages such as liquor, wine or beer,” a third of these say they had no drinks in the seven days prior to the survey. This leaves roughly four in 10 Americans (44%) who appear to be regular drinkers, consuming at least one alcoholic beverage in the past week.
While only 12% of drinkers report consuming eight or more drinks in the past week–averaging more than one per day–Gallup found 22% of drinkers saying they sometimes drink too much. This is up from 17% last year, but similar to the percentages in most other years over the past decade. Prior to 2001, the proportion tended to be higher.
Drinking habits vary considerably by gender, race and age. While roughly equal proportions of men and women say they ever have occasion to drink, men tend to drink more. Specifically, men who drink report consuming 6.2 drinks, on average, in the past week, compared with the 2.2 drinks consumed by women. Also, nearly three in 10 male drinkers admit they sometimes consume more alcohol than they think they should, vs. 14% of female drinkers.
The slight majority of male drinkers, 55%, say they most often drink beer, followed by liquor and wine at 21% and 20%, respectively. Female drinkers have an equally strong preference for wine, with 52% saying they most often drink wine and just over 20% favoring either liquor or beer.
Beer is the beverage of choice among both 18- to 34-year-olds and those aged 35 to 54, while adults aged 55 and older lean more toward wine. Midwest drinkers show the greatest preference for beer, while those in the East are the most likely to drink wine, as Gallup has found in prior years. (CSP Daily News: www.cspnet.com)