Research Finds Underage Youth Drinking Concentrated Among Small Number of Brands

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An interesting study was conducted recently in The United States by the Boston University School of Public Health and the Centre on Alcohol Marketing and Youth at the John Hopkins Bloomberg School of Public Health. The researchers found that a relatively small number of alcohol brands dominate the underage youth alcohol market.

Although the study relates to the youth consumption in The USA, a comparison may be drawn to our local Aussie market. Certain alcohol brands carry greater appeal to the youth. The idea that they will appear “cool” if they drink a certain drink carries an appeal to youth whose self-worth is often wrapped up in their image and how their peers perceive them, if they are perceived as “cool” they feel better about themselves.

There has been a lot of debate recently about alcohol companies marketing and promoting their drinks to youth specifically with their message, images and advertising during major sporting events. A similar study could be conducted in Oz (if one has not already been conducted) to help authorities figure out which are the culprit brands and deal with the issue.

This post from explains more about the study and its American findings:

The top 25 brands accounted for nearly half of youth alcohol consumption. In contrast, adult consumption is nearly twice as widely spread among different brands. Close to 30 percent (27.9%) of underage youth sampled reported drinking Bud Light within the past month; 17 percent had consumed Smirnoff malt beverages within the previous month, and about 15 percent (14.6%) reported drinking Budweiser in the 30-day period:

Rank, Brand Reported Use in Previous 30 Days Among Underage Youth

1. Bud Light 27.9%

2. Smirnoff Malt Beverages 17.0%

3. Budweiser 14.6%

4. Smirnoff Vodkas 12.7%

5. Coors Light 12.7%

6. Jack Daniel’s Bourbons 11.4%

7. Corona Extra 11.3%

8. Mike’s 10.8%

9. Captain Morgan Rums 10.4% 1

10. Absolut Vodkas 10.1%

Of the top 25 consumed brands, 12 were spirits brands (including four vodkas), nine were beers, and four were flavoured alcohol beverages.


According to the study’s authors this research paves the way for more studies into the association between exposure to alcohol and efforts to combat drinking in minors. In the USA 4700 alcohol related deaths occur each year among people under the age of 21 and 70 per cent of high school students are drinkers. Also in that country according to the article on at least 14 studies have been conducted into the subject that have discovered a link between young people being exposed to alcohol advertising and marketing, increasing their likelihood to drink.

Researchers have also found strong links between drinking early in life and becoming a binge drinker later in life, many of whom progress on to alcohol addictions.

In teens whose bodies are still developing and do not have any alcohol tolerance the problem of alcohol poisoning is particularly rife and potentially deadly. It is caused by alcohol slowing down the body’s functions such as breathing, heart rate, and gag reflex, thereby potentially leading to choking, coma, stopped breathing, stopped heart, and death.

Waiters, bartenders, liquor store attendants etc. should ensure that they are not contributing to any of these teenage problems by asking everyone who looks under 23 for their proof of age and denying service to any underage patrons.


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