Beer Beats Out Wine as Americans’ Booze of Choice

Beer beat out wine as Americans’ favorite alcoholic beverage. (Roslan Rahman / AFP / Getty Images / August 20, 2012)

Written by Tiffany Hsu for

Score one for beer. The beverage is the favorite alcoholic drink among Americans, more popular than wine and liquor.

A new report from pollster Gallup found that 39% of U.S. drinkers prefer beer, while 35% favor wine. Less than a quarter list liquor as their top choice.

The majority of men go for beers, as do the biggest portion of drinkers under age 54 and those from the Midwest. But women, East Coast residents and older Americans all lean toward wine.

Though beer shipments slumped last year, much of the weakness has been in major brands and companies such as Anheuser-Busch and Heineken USA.

Craft varieties, however, have enjoyed double-digit gains amid the growth of beer gardens and a new consumer focus on premium options. In the last year, nearly one new brewery has opened each day – the sharpest spike since the end of Prohibition.

Overall, a majority of Americans drink alcohol – 66% told Gallup they have occasion to booze up, compared with 64% last year. In a typical week, 12% said they had at least eight drinks. On average, respondents had 4.2 drinks in a seven-day period.

Men tend to be the biggest floozies, downing 6.2 drinks a week on average compared with 2.2 drinks for women. Men younger than age 49 are the heaviest drinkers of all.

White drinkers consume the most alcohol – throwing back at least one more drink a week than their non-white counterparts.

An earlier study from real estate site Trulia found that the country’s biggest drinking regions are concentrated in the middle of the country. New Orleans as 8.6 bars for every 10,000 households, followed by Milwaukee and Omaha.

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