Underage drinkers prefer liquor

by industry

Liquor is the beverage of choice for underage drinkers, according to a study conducted by the Center for Disease Control and Prevention (CDC).  The study of public school students in grades 9-12 was conducted in 2005 across four states, Arkansas, Nebraska, New Mexico, and Wyoming.  Current alcohol use was defined as one drink in the past 30 days, and binge drinking was defined as five or more drinks in one day within the past 30 days.  The study also compared results from a 1990 survey.

Liquor was determined to be the beverage of choice, averaging about 40% of the respondents.  Beer followed a distant second, while wine barely registered.  The prevalence of binge drinking ranged from 28.6% in New Mexico to 32.0% in Wyoming.  Wyoming also listed the highest reported current use at 45.4%.  Both drinking and binge drinking were up from the 1990 study.

Bottles are easier to sneak than kegs

There are many contributing factors to this.  The age range sampled typically drinks for the alcoholic affect, not the flavor of the beverage.  A recent Gallop poll showed that people 18-49 years old prefer beer over other beverages.  Spirits are usually mixed with other drinks such as soda or fruit juice, which might make it easier for younger people to drink.  It’s also easier to sneak out a bottle of rum from mom and dad’s liquor cabinet than a case of beer.  Wine is usually comes in a 750 ml bottle and at a significantly lower alcohol content, which would explain why it is listed at the bottom of choice beverages.

Excessive alcohol drinking contributes to an estimated 4,500 deaths of under aged drinkers in the USA every year.  The CDC conducted the study because the “data are important because numerous evidence-based strategies for reducing underage drinking rates are beverage-specific, including increasing alcohol excise taxes and increasing restrictions on the distribution and sale of alcoholic beverages.”

The report cited that the study did have some limitations.  The sample size was not representative of larger states, the questionnaire was subject to recall since the answers were self-reported, and it only accounts for public school students.

Don’t miss anything

New articles are out regularly and new videos come out every week. Make sure you subscribe!

Credits and Links

  • none



DJ Spiess

DJ Spiess

Beer buddy

I live in Denver, Colorado. This blog is everything about beer, wine, cider, mead and other spirits.
I am a avid homebrewer and winemaker. I’ve been making my own beer and wine for many years. I started making beer when I was in college (mostly because the drinking age in the United States is 21). My first few beers were horrible. The beers are much better now, and I often supply my neighborhood with free beer! It is a great hobby!