The average alcohol content of wine, beer, and spirits consumed in the U.S. has been rising in recent years, which may be contributing to a dramatic rise in alcohol-use disorders since 2000, according to a study published in Alcoholism: Clinical and Experimental Research.
Researchers used state and national sales data to calculate the average alcohol content by volume of beer, spirits, and wine sold in the U.S. from 2003 to 2016. They compared the averages to those from a similar study covering 1950 to 2002.
Having declined during the second half of the 20th century, average alcohol content inched up between 2003 and 2016—in wine from 11.6% to 12.3%, in beer from 4.6% to 4.7%, and in spirits from 36.9% to 38.3%. The authors said the increases are due to greater preferences for types of beverages with higher levels of alcohol, such as craft beers, vodka, and tequila.
This article first appeared in the UC Berkeley Wellness Letter.