Differences in alcohol brand consumption among underage youth by age, gender, and race/ethnicity - United States, 2012

J Subst Use. 2015 Nov 1;20(6):430-438. doi: 10.3109/14659891.2014.942402. Epub 2015 Oct 12.


Aim: No previous national study has reported the prevalence of alcohol brand consumption among underage youth by demographic characteristics. The aim of this study was to determine the alcohol brand preferences among underage drinkers in different demographic categories.

Method: We administered an online survey to a national sample of 1,031 underage youth, ages 13-20, who had consumed at least one drink of alcohol in the past 30 days. The sample was recruited from a previously established internet survey panel. The main outcome measure was the estimated 30-day consumption prevalence for each of 898 brands by age, gender, and race/ethnicity.

Results: Two beer brands-Bud Light and Budweiser-are uniformly popular among underage drinkers, regardless of age, gender, or race/ethnicity. There are several hard liquor brands whose use increases markedly with age. Two flavored alcoholic beverages sharing the names of hard liquor brands-Smirnoff and Bacardi-are more popular with older youth. Some flavored alcoholic beverages are about twice as popular among female underage drinkers. There are 12 alcohol brands that are uniquely popular among Black underage drinkers, and these brands are heavily promoted in urban music.

Conclusion: There are differential patterns of brand-specific alcohol use among underage drinkers.

Keywords: Alcohol; brand; youth.