Cheap beer, expensive liquor among top choices for underage binge drinkers, study shows

June 20, 2014|By Carrie Wells, The Baltimore Sun

Though Bud Light still rules the day, underage drinkers have some surprisingly expensive tastes when they binge, according to new research.

The Boston University School of Public Health and the Center on Alcohol Marketing and Youth at the Johns Hopkins Bloomberg School of Public Health surveyed the alcohol brands preferred by those classified as binge drinkers aged 13 to 20. Bud Light was the most popular brand for bingeing, with about 13.5 percent of survey respondents partaking in it. Coors Light and Budweiser also commanded shares of about 6 percent each.

But Jack Daniel's bourbon, Grey Goose vodka and Jose Cuervo tequilas were also popular, suggesting factors other than price are at play. The study's authors said public health interventions could be developed with a better understanding of which brands are most attractive to underage drinkers.

About 44 percent of more than 1,000 survey respondents reported bingeing on liquor, with vodka being the most popular choice. Fewer than a third of binge episodes involved beer. Other popular brands included Smirnoff vodkas and malt beverages, Heineken, Natural Light and Hennessy cognac.

While underage people who drink mostly binge drink – the study also found that two-thirds of all youth drinks were consumed during binge drinking episodes – another recent study from the Centers for Disease Control found that the prevalence of youth drinking has declined significantly in the past decades.

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