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Spirits overtake wine as second most-popular drink

Nearly a third of American consumers choose spirits as their alcoholic drink of choice, surpassing wine for the first time in 30 years, according to a new poll.

American whiskey
Younger US adults tend to consume spirits and beer over wine

The Consumption Habits poll by Gallup, which surveyed US adults from 3-27 July, revealed that 31% of drinkers select spirits, while 29% favour wine. Beer remains the top alcoholic drink of choice in the States with 37% of consumers.

Between 2011 and 2013, wine was the second most-popular drink, essentially tying with beer. However, wine has now fallen below 30% for the first time since 1996.

In the past, spirits has lagged behind beer and wine with 20% identifying it as their drink of choice in most years from 1992 to 2018. However, in recent years, closer to 30% preferred spirits, putting it on par with wine.

The 31% of drinkers who currently choose spirits as their favourite alcoholic drink is the highest on record by one percentage point.

Gallup found that younger drinkers (aged 18-34) prefer beer and spirits, while adults aged 55 and over favour beer and wine.

In addition, the poll revealed that 62% of Americans drink alcohol, which is in line with Gallup’s 63% average dating back to 1939. Gallup has tracked US alcohol consumption for more than eight decades.

Higher readings, peaking at 71%, were recorded between 1974 and 1981.

Middle-aged adults, those with higher incomes, university-educated consumers and those who attend church less than once a week are all associated with higher drinking rates than their counterparts, Gallup said.

Nearly a quarter (24%) of non-drinkers said they do not consume alcohol because they have no desire or do not want to.

Gallup concluded that Americans’ drinking habits are relatively steady, with more than three in five saying they consume alcohol and about one in five drinkers admitting to overindulging sometimes.

For the first time spirits took the lead revenue share of alcohol sales in the States in 2022, the Distilled Spirits Council of the US revealed in February.

US drinkers choose spirits over wine
A chart of US drinkers’ preferred alcoholic beverage from 1993-2023 (Image courtesy: Gallup)

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