Although a number of brand owners have been reaching out to consumers to highlight ideal food and beverage pairings with their signature beverage offerings, research suggests that the time of year also can have an impact on what consumers want to drink.
According to The Harris Poll, when presented with a broad selection of adult beverage types, Americans of legal drinking age who drink several times a year or more clearly reach for different drinks on different occasions. Beer is the top choice as something they’re most likely to drink throughout the year, although table wine is the top choice for women and the older-than-65 set. Table wine gets the silver medal overall, though the second tier shows considerable variation by age and gender. For those aged 21-44, liquor, spirits and cocktails hold this position while wine is choice No. 2 for those 45 and older. Meanwhile, liquor/spirits/cocktails are the second-highest year-round pick for men, while beer holds this distinction among women.
However, when thoughts turn to upcoming yuletide festivities, it would appear that Cabernet, Chardonnay or other grapes might be a top choice for Americans, as table wine is the top beverage choice for Christmas.
Beer follows wine as the second choice for Christmas overall, though among women and those aged 65 and older, liquor, spirits and cocktails come in as the second choice to sip around the holidays. These preferences all echo those seen for Thanksgiving, while preferences shift considerably as one continues to review the holiday calendar throughout the year.
Bubbling in the New Year
When the ball begins to drop on Dec. 31, bubbles could be rising in flutes and coupe glasses around the country, as sparkling wine is the top selection for New Year's Eve. Liquor/spirits/cocktails are the second choice overall, though among women they share this position with table wine.
A different kind of bubbles on Super Bowl Sunday
On Super Bowl Sunday, these Americans turn from grapes to grains, as beer is the top selection across the age spectrum and for both men and women. Liquor/spirits/cocktails come in second, while flavored malt beverages are choice No. 3 overall; those aged 55 and older turn to table wine as their third choice.
Different top choices but a common runner-up when we celebrate the saints (Valentine and Patrick)
Wine, it would appear, is for lovers. That’s the top takeaway from table wine’s pole position come Valentine’s Day, with ages and genders in full agreement. As the calendar moves on to St. Patrick’s Day, it may not come as a surprise that beer takes first chair. However, these saints do have some common ground, as liquor, spirits and cocktails come in as the second-most popular drink on both their holidays.
Cinco de Mayo follows the good St. Patrick’s lead, with beer being the most popular drink, followed by liquor, spirits and cocktails. Come Mother’s Day, though, wine takes back the top spot and holds onto it through Easter.
Beer – the official adult beverage of summer?
Once grilling season kicks off though, beer seems to hang on as the top holiday selection until things cool off. It’s the No. 1 selection both overall and, more specifically, across age and gender lines for Memorial Day weekend, the Fourth of July and Labor Day weekend.
In fact, the entire roster of Top 5 selections is consistent across all three of these holidays, with liquor, spirits andcocktails coming in second and table wine in third. Although perhaps less well known, flavored malt beverages are the fourth-most common selection for these holidays, while hard cider comes in fifth.
This Harris Poll was conducted online, in English, within the United States between Aug. 20 and 22 among 1,951 adults aged 21 and older of whom 1,176 drink alcohol several times a year or more. Figures for age, sex, race/ethnicity, education, region and household income were weighted where necessary to bring them into line with their actual proportions in the population. Propensity score weighting also was used to adjust for respondents' propensity to be online. Full results, including data tables, are available here.