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Americans Are Drinking More Booze And Less Milk And Juice

Maybe it's the economy, or the current state of politics, or the recent boy band resurgence - but for whatever reason, Americans are putting down the milk and picking up the wine glass

Maybe it’s the economy, or the current state of politics, or our recent boy band resurgence—but for whatever reason, Americans are putting down the milk and picking up the wine glass. Consumption of milk, soda and juice has dropped since 2001, while consumption of alcohol has increased. Market Watch broke down our libationary habits. Milk, for instance, might be suffering from its rising price point:

Americans drink 30% less of the white stuff than they did in 1975, the Wall Street Journal reported last month — a shift that makes it clear how quickly tastes can change from one generation to the next. Children, traditionally a big market for dairy, account for a smaller percentage of the population than they used to. Plus, milk has become increasingly expensive.

Bottled water, tea and powdered drinks are down, too. Powdered drinks might have lost their appeal recently:

Powdered protein shakes, Instant Breakfast, chocolate mixes for children and powdered ice teas are losig their fizz, says Adam Rogers, senior researcher at the Beverage Information Group, a trade organization in Norwalk, Conn. “I believe they are out of fashion because of the increase in ready-to-drink and/or single-serve options,” he says.

And when it comes to alcohol, it’s a mixed bag. We’re drinking more wine and distilled spirits, but less beer. Market Watch says:

A new wave of advertising followed the end of the industry’s self-imposed television-advertising ban in 1996, analyst say. Americans have developed a taste for a wider variety of spirits, rather than just the mainstream bottles. And shows like HBO’s “Sex and the City” helped rekindle the cocktail culture.

Increased competition from other alcoholic beverages, like fine wines, vodka, cocktails and whiskey, have nipped at beer’s popularity. High unemployment rates among core beer drinkers and a weak U.S. economy overall have also contributed to the decline in beer drinking over the past decade, Rogers says. While light beers are among the hardest hit, craft and imported beers appear to be bucking that trend, he says. Americans “increasingly opt for craft beers, rather than mainstream beers over the last decade,” says Mullarkey.

Perhaps our booze has just gotten better. Or perhaps we’re just getting older. Whatever your drink of choice, bottoms up.

More from Smithsonian.com:

Energy Drinks: Wassup With Supplements?
Drink Up – Binge Drinking College Students are Happier Than Their Sober Peers

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About Rose Eveleth
Rose Eveleth

Rose Eveleth is a writer for Smart News and a producer/designer/ science writer/ animator based in Brooklyn. Her work has appeared in the New York Times, Scientific American, Story Collider, TED-Ed and OnEarth.

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