American drinking habits have undergone a major shift in the last decade. Data from the Beverage Information Grooup indicate two strong trends are (1) a a substitution of soft drinks by healthier alternatives like bottled water; and (2) a move away from beer consumption to wine/spirits. Throughout the 1990s, soft drinks made up nearly a third of the typical Americans’ liquid diet. But in the last ten years soda consumption has been cut by 16%. Whilst bottled water consumption has grown by 50% and energy drink consumption has doubled.
Older women in particular have led the increase in wine consumption which has increased steadily over the decade. It is thought that the broader economy has affected beer sales with middle-class brands suffering most while high-end beer sales flourish. Branded beers have lost market share to craft beers, as young lower-middle-class men been most effected by the economic recession. Craft beer sales grew 15% last year, but the volume of branded beer has declined in every year since the downturn. Light beers are still the most popular in the country. Less beer volume has been consumed overall.
The pattern for spirits is similar. Bourbon and whisky sales had tripled among super-premium brands in the 2000s, despite outright decline in cheaper spirits.