Thursday, January 12, 2012

Following Up From Yesterday - America's Changing Booze Consumption, Visualized

It's like the good people at Good read my mind. Just one day after I post about the unintended positive public health benefits that accrue from making wine cheaper, they post the following infographic, showing how Americans' taste for different kinds of booze has been evolving over time:

Click on the image above to view the HUGE version.

So, what does Good's infographic teach us?

Since the mid 1990's, beer consumption (as a percentage of total alcohol consumption) has been trending downward, while consumption of both wine and spirits has been increasing. (Note: as a data person, I'd say you can safely ignore the apparent spike in wine consumption and drop in beer consumption in 2005 - it's far more likely that this result came about as a result of some kind of kinkiness in the data, not in an actual surge and subsequent crash of wine consumption.)

What I find most surprising is that liquor consumption has actually been growing even faster than wine consumption (again, as a percentage of total alcohol consumption) - and the growth of both wine and liquor consumption has come at the expense of beer consumption.

The demographic breakdowns are more predictable - men prefer beer and women prefer wine; young people drink the most liquor; the Midwest prefers beer; and college grads like their vino.

But, the long-term trend suggests that wine consumption is up and will continue rising, and this could, rather unintentionally, end up giving the US a not insignificant public health dividend.

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