Menus Subscribe Search
beer-wine

Americans Now Love Wine as Much as Beer

• August 05, 2013 • 10:14 AM

(PHOTO: CHRISTIAN DRAGHICI/SHUTTERSTOCK)

Over the past five years, wine has made massive gains in the hearts of Americans.

Sommelier versus cicerone, pinot grigio versus pale ale—the American rivalry between wine and beer is at its peak. A recent Gallup poll reveals the love for either beverage is practically equal: 36 percent of those polled stated beer was their most frequent alcohol of choice, while 35 percent claimed wine.

The survey, the annual Consumption Habits poll, demonstrates the increasing preference for wine among U.S. citizens. Beer has long been the historical favorite; in 1992, 47 percent of Americans preferred beer, while 27 percent chose wine. In 2008, beer still held an obvious advantage, claiming 41 percent of the vote while 22 percent went to wine. The five-year jump to equal affection levels is matched by a similar surge in production: as of 2012, there were 2,126 American breweries—the most since 1887. Additionally, 6,672 wineries spread across the country—2,000 more than in 2007.

Championed by hip-hop artists like Kendrick Lamar and Nicki Minaj, moscato has served as a “gateway wine” to a new generation of wine drinkers.

Youth in particular are drinking more wine than ever before. From 1992 to 1994, 71 percent of adults under the age of 30 said they drank beer most often, while only 14 percent chose wine. Today, those numbers are vastly different: 41 percent prefer beer, and 24 percent prefer wine. The cause behind wine’s increasing popularity with young adults isn’t totally clear, but the increasing trendiness of blends like moscato may play a role. As NPR reports, the number of moscato brands have doubled in the past three years, and the wine is experiencing an unprecedented amount of attention. Championed by hip-hop artists like Kendrick Lamar and Nicki Minaj, moscato has served as a “gateway wine” to a new generation of wine drinkers.

In a global sense, beer is still winning the numbers game. According to a 2011 working paper by the American Association of Wine Economists, the global volume of beer in the 1960s was twice that of wine. As of 2005, beer consumption (153 billion liters) was six times that of wine (24 billion liters). In financial sums, beer is vastly ahead; the authors state that the beer industry accounts for an estimated 130 billion U.S. dollars, while the wine industry brings in around 65 billion.

The increase in beer production is in part due to its growing popularity in China. As of 2011, China, with its enormous population, consumed 20 percent of all beer in the world and replaced the U.S. as the largest beer market. Huge beer conglomerates like Anheuser-Busch InBev have made a push in their marketing to the Chinese audience, in addition to acquiring breweries within the nation. While beer is still the favorite, wine consumption has also increased among the Chinese: in 2010, they overtook the U.K. as the world’s fifth-largest market and consumed 156 million cases in 2011.

Sarah Sloat
Sarah Sloat is an editorial fellow with Pacific Standard. She was previously selected as an intern for the Sara Miller McCune Endowed Internship and Public Service Program and has studied abroad in both Argentina and the U.K. Sarah has recently graduated from the University of California-Santa Barbara with a degree in Global and International Studies. Follow her on Twitter @sarahshmee.

More From Sarah Sloat

A weekly roundup of the best of Pacific Standard and PSmag.com, delivered straight to your inbox.

Recent Posts

July 22 • 6:00 AM

Label Me Confused

How the words on a bag of food create more questions than answers.


July 22 • 5:07 AM

Doubly Victimized: The Shocking Prevalence of Violence Against Homeless Women

An especially vulnerable population is surveyed by researchers.


July 22 • 4:00 AM

New Evidence That Blacks Are Aging Faster Than Whites

A large study finds American blacks are, biologically, three years older than their white chronological counterparts.



July 21 • 4:00 PM

Do You Have to Learn How to Get High?

All drugs are socially constructed.


July 21 • 2:14 PM

The New Weapon Against Disease-Spreading Insects Is Big Data

Computer models that pinpoint the likely locations of mosquitoes and tsetse flies are helping officials target vector control efforts.


July 21 • 2:00 PM

Why Are Obstetricians Among the Top Billers for Group Psychotherapy in Illinois?

Illinois leads the country in group psychotherapy sessions in Medicare, and some top billers aren’t mental health specialists. The state’s Medicaid program has cracked down, but federal officials have not.



July 21 • 12:00 PM

What Makes You So Smart, MacArthur Genius?

Noah Davis talks to Yoky Matsuoka about youth tennis, wanting to be an airhead, and what it’s like to win a Genius Grant.


July 21 • 11:23 AM

People Are Clueless About Placebos

Doctors know that sometimes the best medicine is no medicine at all. But how do patients feel about getting duped into recovery?


July 21 • 10:00 AM

How Small-D Democratic Should Our Political Parties Be?

We need to decide how primaries should work in this country before they get completely out of hand and the voters are left out entirely.


July 21 • 8:00 AM

No, Walking on All 4 Limbs Is Not a Sign of Human ‘Devolution’

New quantitative analysis reveals that people with Uner Tan Syndrome don’t actually walk like primates at all.


July 21 • 6:00 AM

Sequenced in the U.S.A.: A Desperate Town Hands Over Its DNA

The new American economy in three tablespoons of blood, a Walmart gift card, and a former mill town’s DNA.


July 21 • 5:00 AM

Celebrating Independence: Scenes From 59 Days Around the World

While national identities are often used to separate people, a husband-and-wife Facebook photography project aims to build connections.


July 21 • 4:00 AM

Be a Better Person: Take a Walk in the Park

New research from France finds strangers are more helpful if they’ve just strolled through a natural environment.



July 18 • 4:00 PM

The Litany of Problems With the Pentagon’s Effort to Recover MIAs

A draft inspector general report found that the mission lacks basic metrics for how to do the job—and when to end it.


July 18 • 2:00 PM

Sure, the Jobs Are Back, but We Need a Lot More

We’re back to where we were before the 2008 recession, but there are now 12 million more people in the United States.


July 18 • 12:00 PM

What Are the Benefits of Government-Funded Research?

Congress wants to know.


July 18 • 10:31 AM

Why Didn’t California’s Handheld Phone Ban Reduce Motor Accidents?

Are handheld cell phones as dangerous as they have been made out to be?


July 18 • 10:00 AM

The Upside of Economic Downturns: Better Childhood Health

For children, the benefits of being born in tough times can outweigh the costs.


July 18 • 9:48 AM

What Tech Talent Shortage? Microsoft Trims 18,000 Employees From Payroll

Like manufacturing before it, the Innovation Economy has reached a turning point, with jobs moving to places where labor is cheaper.


July 18 • 8:00 AM

The Academic of Comic Books

Kim O’Connor talks to Hillary Chute about comics as objects of criticism, the role of female cartoonists, and the art world’s evolving relationship with the form.


July 18 • 6:00 AM

The Supreme Court’s ‘Hobby Lobby’ Ruling Isn’t a Women’s Health Issue

It’s a private health issue. And it affects us all.


July 18 • 4:00 AM

‘Don’t Worry, Be Happy’ Comes Easier to the Danes

New research finds the closer a nation is to the genetic make-up of Denmark, the happier its citizens are.


Follow us


Subscribe Now

The New Weapon Against Disease-Spreading Insects Is Big Data

Computer models that pinpoint the likely locations of mosquitoes and tsetse flies are helping officials target vector control efforts.

People Are Clueless About Placebos

Doctors know that sometimes the best medicine is no medicine at all. But how do patients feel about getting duped into recovery?

No, Walking on All 4 Limbs Is Not a Sign of Human ‘Devolution’

New quantitative analysis reveals that people with Uner Tan Syndrome don't actually walk like primates at all.

Why Didn’t California’s Handheld Phone Ban Reduce Motor Accidents?

Are handheld cell phones as dangerous as they have been made out to be?

The Upside of Economic Downturns: Better Childhood Health

For children, the benefits of being born in tough times can outweigh the costs.

The Big One

Today, the United States produces less than two percent of the clothing purchased by Americans. In 1990, it produced nearly 50 percent. July/August 2014

Copyright © 2014 by Pacific Standard and The Miller-McCune Center for Research, Media, and Public Policy. All Rights Reserved.