Three in 10 Americans Drink Alcohol at Least Once a Week

Beer, domestic wine, vodka the top three choices

NEW YORK -- Three in 10 Americans, 21 and older (29%) say they drink alcohol at least once a week, including 5% who drink daily and 10% who drink several times a week, according to the results of a Harris Poll of 2,379 adults surveyed online between March 7 and 14, 2011, by Harris Interactive.

One in five Americans 21 or older (20%) say they drink alcohol at least once a month and 15% drink it several times a year. One in five Americans (22%) say they never drink alcohol. Men are more frequent drinkers than women are as almost two in five men (38%) say they drink at least [image-nocss] once a week compared to 21% of women.

Among those who imbibe at least several times a year, beer is the top choice. Almost two-thirds of drinkers (63%) say they personally drink beer when they drink while more than half (54%) drink domestic wine. Two in five (41%) drink vodka while one-third (34%) drink rum. Just under three in 10 drink tequila (28%) and foreign wine (28%) while one in five (20%) drink various types of whiskies such as Irish or Canadian. Further down the list of preferred alcoholic beverages are champagne (17%), cordials and liqueurs (17%), bourbon (15%), gin (14%), scotch (11%), cognac (8%) and brandy/Armagnac (7%).

Men and women have different drinking preferences. Men are more likely to drink beer (75% vs. 50%), bourbon (23% vs. 6%) and scotch (17% vs. 4%). Women, however, are more likely to drink domestic wine (63% vs. 45%), champagne (23% vs. 13%) and foreign wine (31% vs. 26%).

While people may drink multiple types of alcohol, when asked which one type they drink most often, beer still comes out on top. One-third of those who drink at least several times a year (34%) say they drink beer most often while just under one-quarter (22%) drink domestic wine most often. One in 10 (12%) drink vodka most often while 6% drink rum and 5% drink foreign wine. All other alcohol is below 5%.

Depending on their age, drinkers have a type of alcohol they drink most often. For Echo Boomers (ages 21 to 34) and Gen Xers (ages 35 to 46) beer is the clear beverage of choice. For Echo Boomers beer is over domestic wine 37% to 20% and for Gen Xers it is an even larger difference-41% to 14%. For Baby Boomers (ages 47 to 65), it is a little more narrow as 33% drink beer most often and 22% drink domestic wine most often. Matures (ages 66 and older) flip the order as domestic wine is the drink of choice over beer, 36% to 22%.

The types of alcohol people drink has held pretty consistent over the past two years with beer, wine and vodka clearly remaining the top three choices. This is probably a testament to alcoholic trends coming and going but certain tried and true choices staying.