New Report Explores U.S. Consumer Drinking Preferences

The tech company Morning Consult has released a study that looks into the drinking habits of modern U.S. consumers. The survey was conducted among 2,201 U.S. adults from July 17-18, 2018.

Key takeaways include signs that Americans now prefer cocktails and liquor over beer. Nearly 4 in 10 (39%) respondents said that cocktails and straight liquor are their favorite alcoholic drinks, compared to 33% who say beer and 25% who say wine.

This is in line with reports that the beer category, including craft, has recently seen slowed growth.


This trend is more so with younger LDA-age consumers. Millennials (50%) preferred cocktails and liquor, compared to just 35% of boomers who answered the same.

Still, people are drinking a lot of beer. On a weekly basis, over a quarter of survey-takers (26%) drank beer, 17% drank wine and 15% drank liquor.


In terms of dollars spent, 81% of respondents spent less than $10 on a six-pack, compared to 19% who spend $10+.

With liquor, the results were the opposite: 18% spent less than $25 on a bottle of liquor, compared to 82% who spent $25+. Premiumization is in.

With wine, not as much: 79% spent less than $15 on a bottle, while just 21% spent $15+.

When asked what words on the label most attracted them to a beer or wine, respondents most looked for “refreshing.” After that for beer they most looked for “easy drinking” and “locally made.” On wine labels they looked for “fruity,” “drinkable” and “elegant.”

The most popular styles of beer were lagers (45%), amber (41%) and ales (41%). In wine it was chardonnays (57%), merlots and zinfandels (56%). With liquor it was vodka (62%) and tequila (55%).


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