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How Much Does The Average American Drink? Answered (2022)

Last Updated on August 31, 2022 by Lydia Martin

Approximately 95,000 alcohol consumers in the United States die from alcohol-related issues and accidents, making it among the country’s leading preventable causes of death. 

With 85.6% of the adult population claiming that they drank alcohol once in their life, how much does the average American drink? 

Average Alcohol Consumption Among Americans

How Much Does The Average American Drink

Americans’ average alcohol consumption amounts to 494 drinks per year, 9.5 drinks per week, and 1.35 drinks per day [1].

Surveys conducted among the United States residents show an increased alcohol consumption due to the COVID-19 pandemic. 

Although most American consumers drink from more than one alcohol category, some stick to only one alcoholic drink of their choice.

With 39% of adult consumers preferring beer over wine or spirits, it remains the most popular alcoholic beverage.

Per Capita Consumption

Per Capita Consumption

Americans Average Alcohol Consumption

Daily

  • The daily consumption of at least 30% of American adults amounts to 1.35 drinks or less per day.
  • According to Aaron White, a senior advisor to the director of the National Institute on Alcohol Abuse and Alcoholism (NIAAA), the number could reach 1.94 drinks per day.
  • By contrast, 10% of American drinkers take a little more than ten drinks per day. This percentage is equivalent to 24 million adults [2].

Weekly

Weekly

  • American drinkers consumed an average of 9.5 drinks per week.
  • It is more than the weekly alcohol intake suggested by the NIAAA for women who should not exceed seven drinks per week.
  • But according to White, the numbers could reach up to 13.6 drinks per week when adjusting for drinkers over 18 years old.
  • On the other hand, the top 10% of American consumers could reach 74 drinks per week.

Annually

  • American drinkers consumed up to 494 drinks per year, but it could reach up to 705 drinks.
  • The overall annual analysis of per capita alcohol consumption indicated a 0.8% increase from 2018 with 2.36 gallons to 2019 with 2.38 gallons.
  • Although there is a decrease in sixteen States and no changes in the two States, records have shown an increase in thirty-two States.

Read: Total Percentage of Americans That Drink Alcohol

Per Alcohol Type

Per Alcohol Type

Wine

  • 31% of alcohol consumers only choose wine as their alcoholic beverage.
  • It includes women from 55 years old and older, which also contributes to rising statistics of alcohol consumption.
  • The year 2018 has 900 million gallons of wine consumed by US residents.
  • According to the report published by Silicon Valley Bank State of the Wine Industry, there is a 3.6% increase in the sales of 750mL wine bottles from 2020 to 2021.

Spirits

Spirits

  • Next to beer and wine, 27% of alcohol consumers drank spirits, including a high percentage of men from 18 to 34 years old.
  • The recorded liquor consumption among US residents amounted to 570 million gallons in 2018.
  • The top five liquor categories for 2021 were tequila and mezcal, cordials, brandy and cognac, American whiskey, and vodka.
  • There is also a significant growth in spirits, ranging from $30 to $99.

Per Gender

Men

Men

  • Overall, there is a higher percentage of drinking men (63%) than women (57%) in the United States.
  • Males tend to drink around 19 liters of alcoholic beverages per year, with beer as their preferred drink over wine or liquor.
  • Researchers also found that men are most likely to drink nearly three times more than women. However, 28% of men reportedly abstained from drinking.

Women

  • Surveys have shown the increasing number of women who consumed alcohol in the past decade.
  • The average alcohol consumption for women amounts to 6.7 liters per year, with the majority preferring wine instead of beer and spirits.
  • About 90% of women consumers claimed to have seven drinks or less per week, while 38% abstained for the last twelve months.

How Much Should You Drink In A Day?

How Much Should You Drink In A Day?

Men should drink two shots or less of distilled spirit in a day, while women should only have one shot or less.

This moderate drinking can help you avoid alcohol-related accidents and many other serious health problems.

Prolonged excessive alcohol consumption can lead to stroke, heart disease, liver cancer, and high blood pressure. 

Maintaining a small and regular amount of alcohol intake is also important. Sudden change in the drinking pattern may also lead to negative health issues.

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FAQs

How many drinks per week is considered an alcoholic?

It is considered alcoholic for men who take more than fifteen drinks and women who take more than eight drinks per week. A drink has different definitions based on the type of alcoholic beverage.

The suggested drink for distilled spirits such as whiskey and brandy is 1.5 ounces, 12 ounces for beer, and 5 ounces for wine.

Is drinking every night bad?

No, drinking every night is not necessarily bad. But, you have to limit your daily alcohol intake and not exceed four drinks for men and three for women.

Excessive or binge drinking will lead to alcohol tolerance, alcohol-related accidents, and some serious problems with your health in the long run.

Is there a difference between a heavy drinker and an alcoholic?

Yes, there are a few differences between a heavy drinker and an alcoholic. Heavy drinkers can stop without withdrawal and are not physically dependent on alcohol. 

On the other hand, an alcoholic has already built a tolerance to alcohol, making them physically crave more drinks.

They also have a hard time controlling their urges, causing them emotional and physical distress if they don’t get to drink alcohol.

In Summary

So, how much does the average American drink? An average American consumes one to two shots of an alcoholic beverage daily.

The majority of these alcohol consumers are men, and they prefer beer more than wine or liquor. 

However, an increasing number of women have consumed alcohol in the past few years, with wine as their most preferred drink.

References:

  1. https://www.usatoday.com/story/news/nation-now/2017/12/28/how-many-alcoholic-drinks-too-many-per-week/822604001/
  2. https://www.washingtonpost.com/news/wonk/wp/2014/09/25/think-you-drink-a-lot-this-chart-will-tell-you/

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