New Study: Alcohol Consumption Remains Flat

A new study from the University of Texas provides further scientific evidence that alcohol advertising does not increase overall consumption.

The study, led by Dr. Gary Wilcox from the University of Texas at Austin, analyzed the relationship between annual alcohol advertising expenditures and per capita sales of beer, wine and spirits in the U.S. from 1971-2012. 

Over a 40-year span, the researchers found that per-capita alcohol consumption remained essentially constant, with changes occurring only between the three beverage alcohol categories – beer, wine and distilled spirits.  Conversely, during the same timeframe, alcohol advertising media expenditures increased almost 400%.

Researchers concluded that advertising is a means to gain market share and “proposals to restrict or curtail truthful, commercial messages about a legal product work against rational public policy.”  The researchers also underscored, “the outcomes of this study can be used to inform relevant public policy discussions regarding alcohol beverage advertising.”  

“This study further underscores decades of research showing that alcohol advertising does not cause consumption.  Rather, it drives brand choice among different types of alcohol products,” said Dr. Sam Zakhari, Senior Vice President of Science for the Distilled Spirits Council and a former Director at the National Institute of Alcohol Abuse and Alcoholism.  “To be effective, public policy prescriptions must be evidence-based.  Proposals to restrict or ban alcohol advertising are ineffective, misguided and unsupported by the scientific research.”


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