July brings the publication of Gallup's annual survey into American drinking habits. And as the French site Winealley.com pointed out (in French), the big question was whether hard times would turn people to drink. Or away from it - for want of dollars with which to buy the bottles. In fact, Gallup's research suggests that 64% of Americans drink alcohol at least occasionally - a figure that is in line with the 62-66% figures recorded over the last decade.
Drinkers are actually knocking back an average of 4.8 alcoholic beverages per week, slightly more than in 2008 but, again, in line with recent findings. This figure reflects the 14% of the survey participants who admitted having drunk eight drinks in the previous week, and the 65% who had limited themselves to just one.
The wine industry will rejoice in the news that their product was the favourite drink of 34% of the respondents - up from 31% in 2008 - compared with 40% who voted for spirits - down from 42% - and the 21% who chose beer - a drop from 23%. Closer analysis, however, reveals that, while wine has seen its popularity rise from 29% in 1992, it had already attained its current figure in late 1999 and in mid 2005 actually hit 39% - overtaking spirits for the one and only time in the survey's history.