The Economic Value of Underage Drinking and Adult Excessive Drinking to the Alcohol Industry

The alcohol industry makes millions of dollars each year from underage drinkers and adults who drink excessively. The economic reality of the alcohol industry is that it must maintain or increase alcohol consumption if it is to ensure future profits. This means that the industry must continually attract new drinkers as current drinkers quit or die.

Key Takeaways

Underage drinking poses a serious problem to teens’ health. Research has shown that those who began drinking before the age of 21 were more than twice as likely to develop alcohol-related problems compared to those who began drinking at age 21 or older. The incidence of lifetime alcohol abuse or dependence was greatest for those who began drinking between the ages of 11 and 14. Findings included the following:


For the alcohol industry:


For the government:


For parents and schools:

Research Methods

To estimate consumer expenditures linked to underage drinking and adult excessive drinking, CASAColumbia examined alcohol industry data on consumption and expenditures for alcohol by type of beverage, as well as research documenting the types and proportions of beverages consumed by underage drinkers and adult excessive drinkers.