Californians drinking less beer, more wine, spirits

Published: Tuesday, Mar. 19, 2013 - 1:43 pm
Last Modified: Thursday, May. 8, 2014 - 1:42 pm

California adults now drink, on average, less than a gallon of ethanol from beer each year. They're making up for it by drinking more wine and distilled spirits.

California beer consumption per adult fell 12 percent from 1998 to 2010, according to the latest federal statistics.

Over that same period California wine consumption per adult grew by 22 percent, while distilled spirits consumption grew by 16 percent.

Beer remains the most popular alcoholic beverage, with California adults drinking an average of 0.97 gallons of ethanol from beer a year, compared to three-quarters of a gallon of spirits and half a gallon of wine. Beer is about 4.4% ethanol, so California adults drink, on average, about 22 gallons a year.

California alcohol consumption decreased slightly during the recession but has trended upward slightly overall in the last decade. Consumption remains well below levels from the 1980s and 1990s. (About 40 percent of California adults rarely or never drink alcohol.)

This chart shows average gallons of ethanol from alcohol consumed per California resident over the age of 14 each year since 1991.

Source: National Institute on Alcohol Abuse and Alcoholism, based on alcohol sales volume. Updated at 1:14 on 3/20 to clarify that the figures shown represent gallons of ethanol consumed by type of alcoholic beverage.

Read more articles by Phillip Reese

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