It may seem as if America is becoming a nation of wine sippers — and it’s true that many of those who prefer wine today were more likely to opt for other kinds of alcoholic beverages a decade ago. But don’t worry, beer drinkers, because there are still more of you than there are of them.
Almost four out of 10 — 38 percent — of alcohol consumers over age 21 in the United States said beer was their beverage of choice, whereas 31 percent prefer wine and 28 percent like spirits/liquor most of all, according to a recent Harris Poll survey of 1,540 adults.
Beer fans are especially loyal, too, the study found: Fully 73 percent of those over age 31 who prefer beer today said it was their favorite alcoholic beverage 10 years ago as well. Meanwhile, 63 percent of those over age 31 who prefer spirits said it was also their top choice a decade ago.
Conversely, a fair number of wine drinkers are relatively new converts. Only 44 percent of wine lovers ages 31 and up said they also preferred wine a decade ago, contending that they would have been more inclined then to opt for liquor/spirits (26 percent) or beer (21 percent).
“For some, that ‘go to’ choice hasn’t changed a great deal, but for a significant percentage of those who favor wine today, they did prefer another beverage type 10 years ago,” Danny Brager, SVP of Nielsen’s Beverage Alcohol Practice, said in a survey release. “Both life stage changes over that period of time as these consumers have aged, as well as today’s younger generations being more open to wine, are likely driving those changes in preference.”
Preferences, too, differed by age, gender, locale and income, the survey found. While beer was popular among men, younger drinkers and Southerners, wine was preferred by women, drinkers over age 65 and those with annual incomes over $100,000.
The top choice for beer lovers was domestic non-craft beer (38 percent), followed by craft (29 percent) and imported (23 percent) beers.
Of the wine lovers, 38 percent prefer red, 32 percent white, and 19 percent rose or blush. Oh, and 10 percent prefer to get their kicks from Champagne or other sparkling wines.