Americans' Favorite Adult Beverage Is …

(Image credit: Shutterstock/Deborah Kolb)

Beer! More Americans say they prefer a pint over a glass of vino or a cocktail, according to a new Gallup poll.

This year, 41 percent of U.S. drinking adults said they typically choose beer; 31 percent choose wine, and 23 percent choose liquor. The results came from Gallup's Consumption Habits survey, and the data is based on telephone interviews with 1,013 randomly selected U.S. adults ages 18 or older.

This is the strongest showing for beer in the United States since the drink's popularity tumbled in 2005, though it still has a long way to go to climb back up to its heyday in the '90s when almost half of Americans said they preferred it, Gallup noted. [Raise Your Glass: 10 Intoxicating Beer Facts]

However, when the data is broken up by gender, wine is still the top choice for women (46 percent), while beer is the top choice for men (57 percent). Wine also tops beer for older adults, with 38 percent of people ages 55 and older reporting they usually choose wine, and 32 percent reporting they usually choose beer. The rest said they prefer a cocktail.

For a drink that's been around since about 10,000 B.C., beer seems to have found traction among the younger generation of U.S. drinkers. Almost half (48 percent) of those between the ages of 18 and 34 who drink alcohol say they prefer a beer.

Meanwhile, beer has taken on new flavors in its modern incarnation. Microbreweries selling beers made with increasingly exotic ingredients like avocado and milk chocolate have sprouted up all over the country in recent years. The growth of craft beer culture is measurable: While 11.5 million barrels of local beer were brewed in 2011, that number jumped to 15 million barrels in 2013, and the sale of craft beer increased 20 percent in the past year, according to the Brewer's Association.  

Thirty-six percent of U.S. adults identify themselves as complete abstainers from alcohol, but almost two-thirds of adult Americans say they "have occasion to use alcoholic beverages," the new Gallup poll showed. This is consistent with the national average of 63 percent since Gallup started keeping track of alcohol drinking in 1939. This year, over a quarter of Americans reported having an alcoholic drink in the past 24 hours, and 67 percent reported having one in the past week. The U.S. ranks fairly low among the countries that drink the most. In fact, in Russia, beer was considered food, not alcohol, up until the beginning of 2013.

The poll results suggest that about four out of 10 Americans drink alcoholic beverages regularly, and on average, they consume about four drinks per week. Cheers. 

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Kelly Dickerson
Staff Writer
Kelly Dickerson is a staff writer for Live Science and She regularly writes about physics, astronomy and environmental issues, as well as general science topics. Kelly is working on a Master of Arts degree at the City University of New York Graduate School of Journalism, and has a Bachelor of Science degree and Bachelor of Arts degree from Berry College. Kelly was a competitive swimmer for 13 years, and dabbles in skimboarding and long-distance running.