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01.2008

Massachusetts Beverage Business

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IT'S BEER by a BUBBLE

Article By: MBB

AFTER A RATHER DISCOURAGING couple of years, beer has something to cheer about. The annual Gallup Poll recently reported that beer edged out wine as the adult beverage of choice in the US. The percentage of Americans who drink any type of alcohol is stable, though the poll shows that more Americans are regular drinkers than a decade ago. The 64 percent of Americans who say that they consume alcohol show a slight preference for beer (4O percent) over wine (34 percent) as their alcoholic beverage of choice, with liquor the favorite of 22 percent. Beer is the favored beverage among male drinkers and younger drinkers, while wine is the top choice among female drinkers and older drinkers. Beer has typically enjoyed an advantage over wine throughout the years, but that advantage narrowed recently, as a greater proportion of American drinkers say they drink wine most often and a lesser proportion say they drink beer. A 2OO5 poll showed the two were essentially tied, but beer has maintained a slight edge over wine in the past two polls. The percentage who rate liquor as their beverage of choice has been fairly stable over time. Because of the increase in regular drinking, the average number of weekly drinks Americans consume has increased significantly. According to the latest poll, the average drinker consumed 4.8 alcoholic beverages in the past week. Prior to 2OO1, the average number of weekly drinks had always been below four drinks, but has been above that mark since then. The rise in regular drinking has occurred at about the same time some scientists have argued that daily moderate drinking has health benefits. Most Americans are, however, in doubt of the claim of better health from drinking, as only 22 percent say drinking in moderation is good for one's health. Twenty-five percent take the opposite view and believe that moderate drinking is detrimental to one's health, while the greatest percentage, 49 percent, believes it makes no difference. Those who drink daily are somewhat more likely to believe in the healh benefits of regular, moderate drinking. Thirty-three percent of daily drinkers believe it is good for one's health, 55 percent say it makes no difference, and only 1O percent believe it is bad for one's health. But whatever the reason, health or pure pleasure, beer has got to be happy that it's still the beverage of choice.

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