Young and middle-aged US drinkers prefer spirits

12th August, 2019 by Nicola Carruthers

A survey of adult American consumers has found that 29% of imbibers prefer spirits, led by young and middle-aged drinkers.

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Spirits and wine have almost tied for the second most-consumed drink among US adults

According to a new poll from analyst Gallup, beer was the overall favourite beverage among adult Americans, while spirits and wine almost tied for second spot, with 29% and 30% of the vote respectively.

The findings are from Gallup’s 1-12 July Consumption Habits survey and are based on telephone interviews with US adults, aged 18 years and older.

In 2017, 26% named spirits as their preferred drink, but this dropped to 19% in 2018. Gallup said that the “broad trend is one of increased preference for liquor” despite the decline last year.

The average percentage of imbibers choosing spirits has climbed from 19% in the 1990s to 21% in the early 2000s. In the past five years, the average percentage hit 23%.

Increased preference for spirits has occurred primarily among young and middle-aged adults, the poll noted. There is “little movement” for those aged 50 and above.

A higher percentage of women drinkers this year chose spirits over beer, but Gallup said it will continue to obverse later readings to see if the change is meaningful.

The group also said that recent health trends, including the “recent popularly of low-carbohydrate diets”, has led some consumers to move towards spirits.

Adults under the age of 55 are most likely to prefer beer as well as spirits, while consumers aged 55 and over are most likely to prefer wine.

Gallup noted that the 30% for wine is “on the low end of the range seen over the past two decades, with between almost 30% and 35% most years” claiming to favour wine.

Around seven in 10 consumers said their most recent drink was within the past week, while 30% said they last drank over a week ago.

The number of Americans who drink alcohol has remained steady over the past 20 years at just under two-thirds, while 34% claimed to be a “total abstainer.”

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