Beer and Wine Battle for Top Spot in Adult Beverage Market

Beer has increased its edge over wine as the favorite adult beverage for U.S. consumers. And the overall consumption of these beverages has increased in the past year. These shifts in the market give advertisers plenty of reason to develop new campaigns for the upcoming holiday season.

In the past 12 months, the number of consumers who enjoyed adult beverages increased 2%, rising from 64% to 66%. The average number of drinks per week also rose, from 4.1 to 4.2. On average, whites have 4.5 drinks a week while non-​whites have 3.3 servings.

Marketers seeking to reach the largest demographic group of drinkers should aim their advertising at white men. For the 18–49 year-​old group of white men, weekly drinking averages 6.3 servings. But after age 50, the drinking rate slows to 5.8 servings a week. Beer is the clear favorite for 62% of all men between the ages of 18 and 49 and for 43% of men over age 50. Women still prefer wine with 45% of those between the ages of 18–49 choosing that beverage. For women over age 50, wine is favored by 59%.

The spirits market appears to consistently hold onto about 20% of the market and this is true both by gender and by age group. However, there’s a noticeable difference by geographic region. In the East, only 12% of adults prefer spirits. The South is the top market for wine while beer has the top spot in the Midwest. Overall, 39% of consumers say beer is their beverage of choice while for 35%, wine remains tops.

To tempt consumers to try new beverages, marketers should roll out their most creative messaging in November and December which is when consumption and sales of these products rise significantly.

[Source: Majority in U.S. Drink Alcohol, Averaging Four Drinks a Week. Gallup​.com. 17 Aug. 2012. Web. 27 Aug. 2012] 
Kathy Crosett
Kathy is the Vice President of Research for SalesFuel. She holds a Masters in Business Administration from the University of Vermont and oversees a staff of researchers, writers and content providers for SalesFuel. Previously, she was co-​owner of several small businesses in the health care services sector.