By: Nicole Capo
America has long been hailed as a land of beer drinkers but that image may soon change, if recent drinking trends continue.
According to a report by Gallup, long gone are the days when people came home from work and cracked open a cold one. Instead, they say, Americans are turning towards wine and liquor when it’s time to unwind.
In the last 20 years, beer consumption has dropped by 20%. In the alcohol department, wine has seen an 8% increase in popularity, while spirits saw a more modest increase of 2%. In general, though, it appears that Americans are gravitating towards making more health-conscious decisions — soft drink consumption is down, while tea has enjoyed a slight increase in consumption and bottled water drinking is at an all-time high.
So, why the change in drinking habits? It may be that we’ve actually become more concerned for our general well-being, and the health benefits tied to wine consumption have been consistently reported in recent years, and a glass of wine doesn’t pack on the pounds that a regular beer does. Also, wine — once considered inaccessible by Americans — has lately lost its swanky reputation, and cheap, quality wines are in greater supply in the new world than they once were. In fact, since the famous Judgment of Paris, it appears that California’s production of wine has taken on a serious increase.
According to author Field Maloney, who is currently writing a book exploring the cultural significance of wine, the “critter label phenomenon” has also contributed to Americans purchasing more wine. As Maloney explains, utilizing animals on labels — like wine maker Yellowtail does — makes a "huge impact in making wine seem more informal and approachable to Americans.”
That shouldn’t deter you from drinking less beer if that’s your thing, however, beer drinking in some states, like Vermont, is actually on the rise. And, with the recent growing interested in microbrews and craft beers, beer drinkers have the opportunity to be just as snobby as wine aficionados.
Luckily for us, there’s plenty of booze to go around. So, go ahead and have a drink. You know you’ve been thinking about it since you started reading this story.
[Pic via Flickr - Southern Foodways Alliance]