Do happier people binge drink more often? When comparing teens and adults, who drinks more soda? Recent surveys and studies reveal all—and the findings may be surprising.
Here are a few takeaways from recent surveys, academic reports, and consumer news, all concerning who is drinking what lately:
Beer is still the alcoholic beverage of choice. Wine sales may have crept up in recent years, with vino beating out liquor sales by wide margins lately. But according to the most recent Gallup poll, beer remains America’s preferred alcoholic beverage. Among drinkers, 39% say beer is the alcoholic beverage they drink most often, compared to 35% for wine and 22% for hard liquor. Beer was also the top choice last year, with a slightly smaller edge of 36% for beer vs. 35% for wine.
Overall, the imbibing of Americans has edged up slightly, with 66% of adults saying they occasionally drink alcohol, and drinkers indulging in an average of 4.2 alcoholic beverages per week—up from 64% and 4.1, respectively, last year.
Binge drinking correlates with happiness. We’ve all heard about the dangers of binge drinking, usually defined as having five or more alcoholic drinks in a row. A fairly typical release from the Oregon Health Authority notes that binge drinking puts young people at high risk of “pregnancy or sexually transmitted diseases,” and “death or injury,” among other dangers.
Parents concerned about binge drinking by their children may want to hide the results of a new study by the American Sociological Association concerning college students hitting the bottle. It found that “students from higher status groups (i.e., wealthy, male, white, heterosexual, and Greek affiliated undergraduates) were consistently happier with their college social experience than their peers from lower status groups (i.e., less wealthy; female; non-white; Lesbian, Gay, Bisexual, Transgender, and Questioning (LGBTQ); and non-Greek affiliated undergraduates),” and that the “higher status groups” were much more likely than others to engage in binge drinking. What’s more, members of the “lower status groups” who were binge drinkers were happier than those who rarely or never binged. “Among all groups, we found that binge drinking and social satisfaction were strongly connected,” the study’s author said.
Presumably, the surveys weren’t conducted while these students were miserably hung over.
Cruise passengers like to drink—without restraint. Carnival Cruises is the latest line to offer a true “booze cruise,” extending a new $50-per-day all-you-can-drink “My Awesome Bar Program” package on the Carnival Victory. For that price, passengers can enjoy all of the beer, wine (by the glass), and cocktails normally priced at $10 and lower on board the ship that they please. USA Today noted that Carnival is following in the footsteps—or wake, I suppose—of all-you-can-drink deals already offered by Royal Caribbean and Celebrity cruise lines.
“Craft beer” has been defined. In mid-August, Merriam-Webster updated its Collegiate Dictionary and included “craft beer” for the first time. (It’s a “a specialty beer produced in limited quantities,” if you were wondering.) Despite its now obviously mainstream status, and despite the fact that craft beer sales rose 15% last year, these specialty brews still only account for about 5% of beers sold in the U.S.
Adults drink more soda than kids. Last summer, a CDC study revealed that one-quarter of American high school students drink soda every day. This summer, the results of a Gallup poll indicate that nearly half of all Americans (48%) ages 18 and up have at least one soda daily.
Nonwhites and millennials drink soda most often. The Gallup poll shows some interesting demographic breakdowns in terms of who hits the caffeinated, carbonated beverages hardest. Whites are far more likely than nonwhites to drink coffee every day (69% vs. 45%), while more nonwhites than whites (53% vs. 45%) drink soda daily. Meanwhile, more than half of young adults ages 18 to 34 (56%) drink soda every day, compared to 46% of those 35 to 54, and 42% of those 55 and older.