A new study from the University of Wisconsin-Madison has found that alcohol sales in the US have gone up since the Great Recession, while sales of non-alcoholic drinks have increased by more than a factor of two.
According to the research, the average price of a single beer at a bar in the United States rose from $6.98 in 2007 to $7.04 in 2014.
This year, the price of that same beer is expected to increase by an average of $4.98, which is more than double the average increase in price for the last 10 years.
The average price for a single bottle of wine in the country has also increased by a factor-of-two since 2007, while the price for that same bottle of beer is now expected to rise by an annual average of 7.04%, the researchers found.
The price of one ounce of spirits in the U.S. is expected increase by 8.25% over the last decade.
“In a world where beer is the most popular drink, we are seeing the largest price increase in prices for alcohol,” said Dr. Jennifer Zemel, a co-author of the report and a UW-Madison professor of economics.
“While this is a significant increase in the cost of alcohol, we see little change in other consumer goods and services, such as groceries and medicine,” Zemels said.
“The increase in cost is likely driven by increases in the number of breweries and distilleries, the increasing popularity of craft beer and a broader shift in consumption towards consumption of local, seasonal produce,” Zepel said.
The report’s authors said the rise in alcohol sales is also tied to a shift away from non-beer, non-wine-drinking beverages.
The number of people who said they would drink wine or beer in their lifetime dropped from 14% to 10% between 2007 and 2014.
But the number who said it was a good thing to drink in their lives jumped from 23% to 37%.
“The alcohol industry has done well by avoiding alcohol by making alcohol more appealing to the mainstream consumer, and there are several factors at work,” Zeman said.
“One of them is the increasing number of non alcoholic beverages that are available on the market, and the increase in sales of those drinks have helped to offset the impact of the recession.”
Zemel said that while the number and price of nonalcoholic beverages have increased since 2007 by an order of magnitude, the number that consumers buy have also gone up.
“As people purchase more non alcoholic goods and drinks, we expect prices to increase,” Zemin said.