Choosing a favorite drink is like choosing a favorite child: For some, it simply can’t be done. However, according to a recently published Gallup poll, which asked Americans what they most often drank between 2001 and 2019, it’s clear that America has a golden child: Among liquor, beer, and wine, U.S. drinkers consistently chose beer as their favorite alcoholic beverage (with the exception of 2005, when wine surpassed beer). Wine was a close second every other year, with spirits coming in last for the entire 19-year period.
Although beer proves to be the consistent first choice for Americans so far this century, it shows signs of slowing. Beer dropped from its high of 46 percent in 2001 to 38 percent in 2019. Wine remains steady, with 31 percent at the beginning of the survey, and 30 percent in 2019. Spirits, the least-selected category among U.S. drinkers throughout the entire period, shows the most growth, however: 18 percent of respondents chose liquor in 2001, compared to 29 percent in 2019.
Also worth noting is the omission (and previously, nonexistence) of the hard seltzer category, which is classified as a subcategory of beer by some market research companies. Alcoholic seltzer has been evolving and exponentially growing in the past several years. (After VinePair asked for clarification on Twitter, the American Association of Wine Economists, which posted the poll on Twitter on Sept. 23, confirmed that hard seltzer was not included in the beer category for this poll.) Had hard seltzer been included, whether as its own category or within the beer category, the results of the poll would surely look different between 2013, when then-boutique Spiked Seltzer — now Anheuser-Busch’s BON V!V — debuted on the market, and now.
View VinePair’s chart below to see Americans’ drinking preferences so far in the 21st century.