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Beer, Wine or Liquor? Data Shows More People Are Turning to the Hard Stuff

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Alcohol consumption data for 2016 is in — and Americans are definitely turning to the bottle.

The country drank 3.5 million fewer nine-liter cases of alcohol overall in 2016 than it did the year before, with total consumption down to about 3.39 billion cases last year, according to the annual IWSR US Beverage Alcohol Review. But the volume of wine and liquor bought both increased, especially for whisky, tequila and cognac.

Overall, people bought 2.6% more distilled spirits last year, bringing the total to more than 220 million nine-liter cases. Wine volume sold also increased. But beer dipped slightly, something the study attributed to current trends of “premiumization” — meaning people are”drinking less but better” beer.

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Certain types of liquor had an especially good showing last year. People bought 17.6% more Irish Whiskey, 6.4% more bourbon, 18.8% more cognac and 7.4% more tequila than in 2015. 

And in addition to buying the stronger stuff, people also knocked back more drinks at home than they did in 2015. On-site alcohol sales volume dipped as off-premise sales grew more common.