Study: Underage Drinkers Look to Small Number of Alcohol Brands

Jim Liebelt | Senior Writer, Editor and Researcher for the HomeWord Center for Youth and Family at Azusa Pacific University | Wednesday, February 13, 2013

Study: Underage Drinkers Look to Small Number of Alcohol Brands

Branding plays a much bigger role in the alcoholic beverages teens choose to drink than it does for adults, according to new research.

A study from Johns Hopkins University polled more than 1,000 underage drinkers between 13 and 20 about their alcohol consumption over the previous month, and found they favored a relatively small number of brands.

Leading the pack were Bud Light and Smirnoff Malt Beverages. About 28 percent of teens reported drinking Bud Light in the past month, and 17 percent had sipped Smirnoff Ice or one of the brand's other flavored malt drinks.

Budweiser and Smirnoff took the next highest spots as well: Nearly 15 percent of respondents had tried Budweiser beer, and nearly 13 percent reached for Smirnoff vodka. Coors Light, Jack Daniel's Bourbons, Corona Extra, Mike's, Captain Morgan Rums and Absolut Vodkas rounded out the rest of the top 10 brands.

It is significant that young drinkers reach for such a concentrated group of brands, study authors said. Eighteen alcohol brands account for 50 percent of the market share among underage drinkers, but 33 brands dominate half the market for drinkers of all ages.

"For the first time, we know what brands of alcoholic beverages underage youth in the U.S. are drinking," study author David Jernigan, Ph.D., director of the Center on Alcohol Marketing and Youth at Johns Hopkins, said in a release. "Importantly, this report paves the way for subsequent studies to explore the association between exposure to alcohol advertising and marketing efforts and drinking behavior in young people."

Source: New York Daily News