A Nation of Drinkers, But Not of Heavy Drinkers takes

It’s enough to drive a liquor marketer to drink. The population is full of people who sometimes consume alcoholic beverages, but many of them will neglect to toss one back for days or even weeks on end. In a new Gallup survey, 64 percent of adults said they “have occasion to use alcoholic beverages such as liquor, wine or beer.” That’s on a par with the figures Gallup has seen in polls on this topic during the past two decades. Asked when they had their most recent such refreshment, 26 percent of the self-identified drinkers put it within the past 24 hours. Another 32 percent said they’d last wet their whistles one day to one week ago. But that leaves 42 percent who’d gone bone dry for at least a week. Even among those who’d had something to drink in the previous week, average intake was less than one drink per day (5.6 for the week). Despite the epidemic of moderation detected by the survey, 26 percent of the poll’s drinkers answered “yes” to the query, “Do you sometimes drink more alcoholic beverages than you think you should?” And 16 percent have made a “really serious effort to stop drinking.” Men are just a bit more likely than women to say they drink (67 percent to 61 percent), but twice as likely to feel they sometimes drink too much (22 percent to 11 percent). Beer is the favorite among men (cited by 62 percent); wine is tops among women (47 percent). Beer is the drink of choice for young adults, with 50 percent of 18-29-year-olds saying they drink it most often. Among those over age 50, wine is the leader (46 percent).The Image Bank