Americans in Tea Party Towns – Past (Boston) and Present (D.C.) – Most Likely to Drink Alcohol At Least Once a Week

NEW YORK, Oct. 24, 2013 /PRNewswire/ — Whether it’s a hoppy IPA or an earthy cabernet, a funky new flavor of vodka or a smoky single malt scotch, there’s no shortage of choice when it comes to alcoholic beverages. But what are the most popular types in the ten largest U.S. cities? And how likely are those markets’ inhabitants to sample them? According to a study utilizing Harris Interactive’s Harris Poll® Major Market Query (MMQ) omnibus platform, the answer to this second question has, as it turns out, a thing or two to do with tea (or possibly tee).

According to the study, Americans 21 and older in the original Tea Party town (Boston) and the town where Tea Party Republicans have been making recent waves (Washington, D.C.) are more likely than those in any of America’s other top ten markets to drink alcohol at least once a week (44% each).

These are among the findings of Harris Poll of 2,003 U.S. adults, ages 21 and older and living in the top 10 American markets by population (roughly 200 per market), surveyed online between September 25 and October 1, 2013 by Harris Interactive. The study utilized the MMQ platform, an omnibus survey offering a sample of the 10 top major metropolitan areas ofthe United States. (Full results, including data tables, can be found here)

On the other end of things, the “T” in Texas is, apparently, for “teetotalers,” with Dallas/Fort Worth and Houston residents being the likeliest – by a wide margin – to indicate that they never drink alcohol (31% and 28%, respectively).

What’ll it be?

Among those who drink alcohol at least several times a year, beer, wine and spirits receive varying levels of love. When it comes to what percentage in each market say they ever drink various types of alcoholic beverages…

  • More consumers in Philadelphia ever drink beer (70%) than in any other market, followed by those in Dallas/Fort Worth(66%), Los Angeles (64%), Atlanta (64%), D.C. (63%) and Chicago (62%); NYC Metro and Houston consumers (55% each) are least likely to do so.
  • NYC Metro and Boston consumers (70% and 69%, respectively) are the most likely to ever drink wine; Dallas/Fort Worthconsumers (41%) are least likely.
  • Vodka seems to most wet the whistles of consumers in the NYC Metro (48%), D.C. (46%) and Chicago (45%) markets, while those in the Los Angeles (28%) and Houston (30%) markets are least likely to ever drink it.
  • Whether it’s spelled whiskey or whisky, and whether it comes in the form of bourbon, scotch or other varieties, D.C. (39%),Dallas/Fort Worth (37%), Boston (37%) and Atlanta (35%) consumers are most likely to gravitate toward this category; those in Los Angeles (21%), Chicago (22%) and Houston (22%) are least likely to do so.
  • D.C. is also the market showing the strongest affinity for rum (37%), while consumers in Houston (33%), Boston (29%) and Chicago (29%) are the most likely to ever drink tequila.
  • And when it comes to breaking out the bubbly, consumers in the D.C. (26%) and NYC Metro (25%) markets are more likely than those in any other market to ever drink champagne or sparkling wine.

Top shelf selections 

It’s one thing to ever drink something, but what do consumers in each city say they drink most often?

  • Beer tops the list in most markets, holding the #1 position in all but NYC, Los Angeles and San Francisco – all three of which are in states with thriving wine industries, which may contribute to the fact that wine is the top selection in these markets.
  • Wine holds the #2 spot in Chicago, Philadelphia, Boston, D.C., Atlanta and Houston, while beer is in the second position in NYC, Los Angeles and San Francisco. Dallas/Fort Worth stands out in the crowd, with the whiskey family coming in second – the only market where a top two spot is held by anything other than beer or wine.
  • Vodka ranks third in most markets, with the exceptions being whiskey in Boston and Atlanta, and wine in Dallas/Fort Worth.

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This Harris Poll was conducted online within the United States between September 25 and October 1, 2013 among 2,003 adults (aged 21 and over) in the top 10 U.S. markets (204 in the NYC Metro area, NY; 198 in Los Angeles, CA; 199 in Chicago, IL; 204 in Philadelphia, PA; 200 in Dallas/Fort Worth, TX; 200 in San Francisco, CA; 205 in Boston, MA; 197 in Washington, D.C.; 196 in Atlanta, GA and 200 in Houston, TX). Figures for age, sex, race/ethnicity, education, region and household income were weighted where necessary to bring them into line with their actual proportions in the population. Where appropriate, these data were also weighted to reflect the composition of the adult online population. Propensity score weighting was also used to adjust for respondents’ propensity to be online.

All sample surveys and polls, whether or not they use probability sampling, are subject to multiple sources of error which are most often not possible to quantify or estimate, including sampling error, coverage error, error associated with nonresponse, error associated with question wording and response options, and post-survey weighting and adjustments. Therefore, Harris Interactive avoids the words “margin of error” as they are misleading. All that can be calculated are different possible sampling errors with different probabilities for pure, unweighted, random samples with 100% response rates. These are only theoretical because no published polls come close to this ideal.

Respondents for this survey were selected from among those who have agreed to participate in Harris Interactive surveys. The data have been weighted to reflect the composition of the adult population. Because the sample is based on those who agreed to participate in the Harris Interactive panel, no estimates of theoretical sampling error can be calculated.

These statements conform to the principles of disclosure of the National Council on Public Polls.

The results of this Harris Poll may not be used in advertising, marketing or promotion without the prior written permission of Harris Interactive.

The Harris Poll® #74, October 24, 2013
By Larry Shannon-Missal, Harris Poll Research Manager

About Harris Interactive
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