Beer And Wine Drinkers Are Now Neck And Neck

A Gallup poll released this week shows that the 20-point gap between the two, first noted in 1992, has now closed. Meanwhile, the number of hard liquor drinkers has remained more or less steady.

What's the Latest Development?

Results of a Gallup poll released Thursday showed that while 36 percent of Americans polled named beer as their alcoholic drink of choice, a nearly equal number -- 35 percent -- chose wine. The numbers represent the closing of a gap that revealed itself in 1992, when beer drinkers outnumbered wine drinkers by 20 percentage points. During the same 20-year period, the number of participants who chose hard liquor has remained fairly steady, and is currently at 23 percent, up only two points from 1992.

What's the Big Idea?

Several reasons are given for the increase in wine drinkers. Earlier this year, Wine Business reported that consumers tend to drink more wine at both special and casual occasions. Also, Millennials and Americans over 50 are consuming more wine, while 30-to-49-year-olds are drinking slightly less. Both wineries and breweries have grown significantly in number in the last few decades, providing many more choices on both sides. Despite the closing of the drink gap, Gallup predicts that beer won't lose much more ground: "[It] still ranks as the preferred beverage among young adults and is tied with wine among minorities."

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