Americans are drinking less... but spending more on fancy booze. We just can't win.

Americans are drinking less... but spending more on fancy booze. We just can't win.

PoliticsMay 08, 2015

Don't get us wrong, Americans are still drinking. Although they've drank less over the last 365 days than they have in previous years, they're still tossing back booze like it's a nutritional fad. According to a bunch of glorious researchers whose only job is to track alcohol sales: Americans lately have decreased their alcohol intake and instead have opted to up the quality by purchasing nicer, more luxurious spirits and beers. 

“When consumers do go out, they’re trading up to more expensive drinks,” says Peter Reidhead of the research firm GuestMetrics, which monitors drink sales at 6,000 bars and restaurants. Wines costing more than $10 a glass now make up 48 percent of the volume of wine sold, GuestMetrics data show. Craft beers make up 31 percent of all beer sales at bars and restaurants. Both categories saw their market share grow about 6.5 percent in the past year. Bartenders generally charge $6 for a craft beer, Reidhead says, versus about $4.25 for a domestic mainstream beer.

You don't have to tell us twice. We've seen our credit card bills after a night of missing happy hour and still believing we can drink the entire bar without a discount. As goes the growth in craft beers, so goes the growing trend in Americans venturing into other luxury products like high-end wine, spirits and CIDER. Fucking, cider. The same shit our celiac friends order and we hate. Nonetheless, why are Americans abandoning their drinking ways in exchange for higher prices? Because they fucking can. It's America after all. 

It’s not just about paying more in order, say, to show off to friends. “It’s more about variety, flavors, and opportunities to try something new,” says Kosmal. People frequently are hunting drink menus for “brands they’ve never heard of,” Reidhead says, even as they avoid familiar labels and well-known companies.

But money can't buy you class. Last year, the fastest growing spirit was Fireball Whiskey. Other chart toppers for 2014 were Bud Light Lime’s Mang-O-Rita, Straw-Ber-Rita, and Raz-Ber-Rita. See folks, America will never fully abondon its white trash ways. Never.