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Alcoholic Beverage Drinking Occasions - US - September 2019

Covered in this report

This report provides a view of how alcoholic beverages compete for purchase and consumption occasions. Its goal is to examine who drinks which alcoholic beverages on what occasions and for which reasons.


"While the majority (85%) of US adults age 22+ drink alcohol, one in five drinkers has reduced their consumption in the past year, continuing a trend in moderation that stunts performance. Dollar sales of alcohol are projected to reach $250 billion in 2019. While this is an 18% growth from 2014, the annual rate of growth is leveling off. Leading reasons for reducing consumption include health and a desire to spend less money, both of which are obstacles that can be addressed. An increasing consumer open-mindedness and willingness to try a range of alcohol types suggests that there is some good news for the industry."
- Beth Bloom, Associate Director - Food & Drink

This report looks at the following areas:

  • One in five drinkers has reduced their consumption in the past year
  • Health concerns, cost trigger attrition
  • Young drinkers are particularly mercurial

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Table of contents

  1. Overview

    • What you need to know
      • Definition
      • Executive Summary

        • Top takeaways
          • The issues
            • One in five drinkers has reduced their consumption in the past year
              • Figure 1: Change in alcohol consumption, July 2019
            • Health concerns, cost trigger attrition
              • Figure 2: Reasons for drinking less in the past year, July 2019
            • Young drinkers are particularly mercurial
              • Figure 3: Change in alcohol consumption, by age, July 2019
            • The opportunities
              • Drinkers are not limited to one or two favorites
                • Figure 4: Repertoire of alcohol consumption – Net: any frequency, July 2019
              • Focus on BFY ingredients and formulation to stem flight
                • Give consumers reason to drink
                  • Figure 5: Reasons for drinking more in the past year, July 2019
              • The Market – What You Need to Know

                • Dollar sales of alcohol slow
                  • Beer maintains market dominance, but spirits overtake wine
                    • On-premise makes slight dollar sales gains on off-premise
                      • Growth in non-alcoholic offerings give consumers alcohol alternatives
                      • Market Size

                        • Dollar sales of alcohol slow
                          • Figure 6: Total US sales of alcoholic beverages, at current prices, 2014-19 (est)
                          • Figure 7: Total US sales of alcoholic beverages, at current prices, 2014-19 (est)
                          • Figure 8: Total US sales of alcoholic beverages, at inflation-adjusted prices, 2014-19 (est)
                      • Market Breakdown

                        • Beer maintains market dominance, spirits overtake wine
                          • Figure 9: Share of US sales of alcoholic beverages, by type of alcoholic beverage, 2014-19 (est)
                        • On-premise makes slight dollar sales gains on off-premise
                          • Figure 10: Share of US sales of alcoholic beverages, by location of consumption, at current prices, 2014-19 (est)
                        • Convenience and selection drive channel preference
                        • Market Perspective

                          • Growth in non-alcoholic offerings give consumers alternatives
                            • A quarter of cannabis users have decreased alcohol consumption
                              • Figure 11: Cannabis statements, July 2019
                              • Figure 12: Reasons for using marijuana/cannabis, July 2019
                          • Market Factors

                            • Economic instability could impact nonessential categories
                              • Figure 13: Consumer Sentiment Index, January 2007-July 2019
                            • People are stressed
                              • Figure 14: Health concerns, November 2018
                            • Increased in-home entertaining challenges (on-premise) sales
                            • Key Players – What You Need to Know

                              • Ethical claims soar, premium and limited-edition options decline
                                • Tropical/refreshing flavors lead, warm flavors fade
                                  • Legacy brands suffer from perceived lack of innovation
                                    • Emerging alcohol categories expand options, inspire trial
                                    • What’s Working?

                                      • Cans make their move
                                        • Figure 15: Share of alcohol launches, by leading pack type, 2014-19*
                                      • Ethical claims soar
                                        • Figure 16: Share of alcohol launches, by leading claim, 2014-19*
                                      • Tropical/refreshing flavors continue to lead
                                        • Figure 17: Share of alcohol launches, by leading flavors, 2014-19*
                                      • Hard seltzers deliver on health
                                      • What’s Struggling?

                                        • Warm flavors see downward trend
                                          • Figure 18: Share of alcohol launches, by leading flavors, 2014-19*
                                        • Less than a third of drinkers think large brands represent better quality
                                          • Legacy brands seen as less of innovative
                                            • Craft brands seen as smaller and more specialized
                                            • What to Watch

                                              • A focus on BFY ingredients and formulation to stem flight
                                                • Emerging alcohol categories expand options, inspire trial
                                                  • Low(er) alcohol options introduce sessionability to a range of categories
                                                  • The Consumer – What You Need to Know

                                                    • US adults are open to a wider range of alcohol types
                                                      • Consumers continue to indicate alcohol reduction habits
                                                        • Drinkers are primarily doing so to relax
                                                          • Consumers are becoming less rigid about category definitions
                                                            • Flavor and occasion drive drink choice
                                                            • Alcohol Consumption

                                                                • 85% of adults drink alcohol
                                                                  • Figure 19: Alcohol consumption – Net: any frequency, July 2019
                                                                • Beer enjoys most frequent consumption
                                                                  • Figure 20: Alcohol consumption – Net: any frequency, July 2019
                                                                • Drinkers are not limited to one or two favorites
                                                                  • Figure 21: Repertoire of alcohol consumption – Net: any frequency, July 2019
                                                                • Men and women are equally likely to drink alcohol
                                                                  • Figure 22: Share of alcohol consumption, by gender, July 2019
                                                                • RTDs resonate with youngest drinkers
                                                                  • Figure 23: Share of alcohol consumption, by age, July 2019
                                                              • Reasons for Drinking Alcohol

                                                                • Relaxation is the main reason for drinking
                                                                  • Figure 24: Reasons for drinking alcohol, July 2019
                                                                • Engaging the youngest drinkers will require proper positioning
                                                                  • Figure 25: Reasons for drinking alcohol, by age, July 2019
                                                                • Proving value won’t necessarily require bells and whistles
                                                                  • Figure 26: Reasons for drinking alcohol, by income, July 2019
                                                              • Change in Alcohol Consumption

                                                                  • One in five drinkers has reduced their consumption in the past year
                                                                      • Figure 27: Change in alcohol consumption, July 2019
                                                                    • Alcohol consumption habits of men are more volatile
                                                                      • Figure 28: Change in alcohol consumption, by gender, July 2019
                                                                    • Young drinkers are particularly mercurial
                                                                      • Figure 29: Change in alcohol consumption, by age, July 2019
                                                                  • Reasons for Drinking Less Alcohol

                                                                    • Health improvement and cost savings drive alcohol reduction
                                                                      • Figure 30: Reasons for drinking less in the past year, July 2019
                                                                    • Men may need help with moderation; women with calorie reduction
                                                                      • Figure 31: Reasons for drinking less in the past year, by gender, July 2019
                                                                    • Older drinkers look to improve health; younger drinkers practicality
                                                                      • Figure 32: Reasons for drinking less in the past year, by age, July 2019
                                                                  • Reasons for Drinking More Alcohol

                                                                    • Give consumers reason to drink
                                                                      • Figure 33: Budweiser | “Moon Landing Happy Hour,” July 2019
                                                                      • Figure 34: Reasons for drinking more in the past year, July 2019
                                                                    • Men more easily enticed by attributes
                                                                      • Figure 35: Reasons for drinking more in the past year, by gender, July 2019
                                                                  • Alcohol Occasions

                                                                    • Spirits and RTDs need the most help in expanding occasions
                                                                      • Beer shows range
                                                                        • Wine has a strong association with food pairing
                                                                          • Spirits lend to special occasions
                                                                            • Figure 36: “The Official Beer of Being Done Wearing a Bra”, July 2019
                                                                          • RTDs aim to shed their also drink status by inspiring switching
                                                                            • Figure 37: Truly Hard Seltzer :15 "BBQ", August 2019
                                                                            • Figure 38: Truly Hard Seltzer :15 "Candle", August 2019
                                                                            • Figure 39: Correspondence Analysis – Symmetrical map – Occasions, July 2019
                                                                            • Figure 40: Occasion, July 2019
                                                                          • Drinkers limit drinking to weekends to avoid work interference
                                                                            • Promoting the meal occasion can also inspire trial
                                                                              • Drinking at home is more comfortable
                                                                                • Hosting scenarios: dinner party
                                                                                  • Consumers offer variety when hosting
                                                                                    • …not concerned with food pairing
                                                                                      • Hosting scenarios: barbecue
                                                                                        • Emphasis on variety extends from formal to casual events
                                                                                        • Drink Choice Drivers

                                                                                            • Drinkers are up for grabs...
                                                                                              • Figure 41: Alcohol statements – Options – Net: any agree, July 2019
                                                                                            • ...especially when away from home
                                                                                              • Flavor and occasion drive drink choice
                                                                                                • Figure 42: Alcohol statements – Choice – Net: any agree, July 2019
                                                                                              • Younger drinkers are especially ripe for influence
                                                                                                • Figure 43: Alcohol statements – Options – Net: any agree, by age, July 2019
                                                                                              • Price has a stronger impact on younger drinkers
                                                                                                • Figure 44: Alcohol statements – Choice – Net: any agree, by age, July 2019
                                                                                            • Role of Health

                                                                                              • Interest in health driven by (but not limited to) health seekers
                                                                                                • Figure 45: Alcohol statements – Health – Net: any agree, July 2019
                                                                                              • The most frequent drinkers are the most health conscious
                                                                                                • Figure 46: Alcohol statements – Health – Net: any agree, by consumption frequency, July 2019
                                                                                              • Younger drinkers are more health aware, open to no-alcohol versions
                                                                                                • Figure 47: Alcohol statements – Health – Net: any agree, by age, July 2019
                                                                                            • Perceptions of Alcohol Types

                                                                                              • Alcohol lanes are fading
                                                                                                • Figure 48: Correspondence Analysis – Symmetrical map – Perceptions, July 2019
                                                                                                • Figure 49: Perceptions, July 2019
                                                                                              • Wine’s ties with food strengthen
                                                                                                • Figure 50: Wine perceptions, August 2017 and July 2019
                                                                                              • Beer is the most versatile drink type
                                                                                                • Figure 51: Beer perceptions, August 2017 and July 2019
                                                                                              • Cocktails are challenged by high sugar perception
                                                                                                • Figure 52: Cocktails/mixed drinks perceptions, August 2017 and July 2019
                                                                                              • RTDs improve on most measures, still struggle with sugar
                                                                                                • Figure 53: Cocktails/mixed drinks perceptions, August 2017 and July 2019
                                                                                              • Cannabis seen as good for unwinding, struggles on other measures
                                                                                              • Brand Impact

                                                                                                • As alcohol types democratize, brands can claim occasions
                                                                                                  • Figure 54: Alcohol statements – Brand – Net: any agree, July 2019
                                                                                                • The most frequent drinkers are more brand conscious
                                                                                                  • Figure 55: Alcohol statements – Brand – Net: any agree, by consumption frequency, July 2019
                                                                                                • Men are more image-conscious drinkers
                                                                                                  • Figure 56: Alcohol statements – Brand – Net: any agree, by gender, July 2019
                                                                                                • Hispanics are more brand aware
                                                                                                  • Figure 57: Alcohol statements – Brand – Net: any agree, by Hispanic origin, July 2019
                                                                                                • Youngest crop of drinkers less likely to tie personal identity with brand
                                                                                                  • Figure 58: Alcohol statements – Brand – Net: any agree, by age, July 2019
                                                                                              • Appendix – Data Sources and Abbreviations

                                                                                                • Data sources
                                                                                                  • Sales data
                                                                                                    • Consumer survey data
                                                                                                      • Consumer qualitative research
                                                                                                        • Correspondence analysis methodology
                                                                                                          • Abbreviations and terms
                                                                                                            • Abbreviations
                                                                                                            • Appendix – The Market

                                                                                                                • Figure 59: Total US sales of beer, at current prices, 2014-19 (est)
                                                                                                                • Figure 60: Total US sales of beer, at inflation-adjusted prices, 2014-19 (est)
                                                                                                                • Figure 61: Total US sales of wine, at current prices, 2014-19 (est)
                                                                                                                • Figure 62: Total US sales of wine, at inflation-adjusted prices, 2014-19 (est)
                                                                                                                • Figure 63: Total US sales of distilled spirits, at current prices, 2014-19 (est)
                                                                                                                • Figure 64: Total US sales of distilled spirits, at inflation-adjusted prices, 2014-19 (est)

                                                                                                            Alcoholic Beverage Drinking Occasions - US - September 2019

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