Gallup’s Alcohol Consumption Survey: A look behind the numbers

Gallup, the pollsters who have studied human nature for the past 75 years, has released their annual results surrounding alcohol consumption in the U.S. 

There are innumerable factors that go into the advance or decline in these numbers, as anything from the economy to a concerted effort towards healthy living will greatly influence the variability year over year.  Considering the stagnation of the economy, one would expect things to remain flat; however that is where we receive our curveball.

Due to an exceedingly long period of near double-digit unemployment and no reprieve in sight for the immediate future, it looks as if the morose state of things has worn out our wills.  This is reflected in the 3% jump in alcohol consumption year-over-year according to the poll, with 67% of those questioned admitting to be consumers.  This represents the highest level since 1984. 

Now I said earlier that this was a curveball; however it is more like a lagging indicator of the severity of the situation.  If we look back on periods of steep increases in alcohol consumption, we will find a common theme of wars and financial/economic crisis acting as the galvanizing factor behind increased consumption.  To put it plainly, with increased stress levels comes the need to dull the nerves, enter alcohol.  The graph below provides visual and numeric support to this opinion.

With an influx of people drinking more, what effect does this have on wine consumption?

The results are nothing if not predictable, in terms of wine consumption.  If you look at the chart above, during times of economic hardship, there is typically a decrease or flattening in wine consumption vs. beer and alcohol. This latest poll marked a 2% drop in comparative wine consumption after a year of 3% gain. 

Once we see a marked decrease in unemployment and stronger consumer confidence over a couple consecutive quarters, the ground lost to beer and alcohol will likely be restored.  It will likely be only then that renewed interest in the finer things  in life (anything perceived to be excess) will provide wine lovers with more fruitful opportunities to spread the gospel of Bacchus.

On that note, I am curious, has the economic situation influence what and how much alcohol you have been consuming?  Please take a moment to share your thoughts below…

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1 Comment

Filed under Venting

One response to “Gallup’s Alcohol Consumption Survey: A look behind the numbers

  1. Interesting report! I’d expect alcohol sales to INCREASE during tough economic times as a means of self medicating through the stress. ;)

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