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Lori Levy
Beer Institute


Washington, DC, February 22, 2002 - Total U.S. beer consumption increased to approximately 198.8 million barrels in 2001, up from 197.6 million barrels in 2000, according to Beer Institute, the leading trade association for brewers and suppliers to the industry. Thirty-seven, or nearly 75 percent of states reported increased shipments in 2001, with nearly half of states reporting increased shipments of 1 percent or more. Beer shipments measure brewers' shipments to wholesalers, and represent the best available proxy for beer consumption.

While consumption increased, Jeff Becker, president, Beer Institute, noted that government data continues to show declines in areas of alcohol abuse, specifically underage drinking. "America's brewers and wholesalers remain dedicated promoting responsible drinking as well as to finding and adopting creative and effective programs to address alcohol abuse. The fact that consumption levels are increasing while abusive behaviors, such as underage drinking, are decreasing underscores the effectiveness of this approach."

For example,

  • According to the 2001 American Freshman Survey, beer drinking among college freshman reached the lowest level ever recorded in the survey. The percentage of college freshman who say they drink beer frequently or occasionally was 36 percent lower in 2001 than it was in 1982.
  • According to the 2001 University of Michigan's Monitoring the Future survey, the percentage of high school seniors who report having a drink in the last 30 days was 29 percent lower in 2001 than it was in 1982.

Becker added that while there is still more to be done, these indicators of progress encourage the industry to continue its efforts. "That's why America's brewers will continue to be leaders in providing information to the public urging safe and responsible alcohol consumption, and will continue to work with wholesalers, retailers, educators, law enforcement, and others to ensure our products are enjoyed responsibly."

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Beer Institute, established in 1986, is the national trade association for the brewing industry, representing both large and small brewers, as well as importers and industry suppliers. The Institute is committed to development of sound public policy and to the values of civic duty and personal responsibility.

The American Freshman Survey is sponsored by UCLA and the American Council on Education. It is the nation's largest and longest empirical study for higher education.

The University of Michigan Monitoring the Future, is sponsored by the National Institute on Drug Abuse. It samples approximately 15,000 seniors in 140 public and private high schools nationwide each year and is representative of all seniors in the continental United States.


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