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Member Research & Reports

Member Research & Reports

BU: Underage Drinkers’ Brand Preferences Vary by Race, Age

Two beer brands — Bud Light and Budweiser — are uniformly popular among underage drinkers regardless of age, gender, or ethnicity, while certain other brands appear to have a unique appeal to African-American youth drinkers, according to a new study headed by Boston University School of Public Health (BUSPH) researchers.

The study, published in the Journal of Substance Use, is the first to examine demographic differences in alcohol brand preferences among underage youth. Across all demographic groups, Bud Light was “overwhelmingly” the most popular brand, with a prevalence of past 30-day consumption ranging from 19.3 percent among black respondents to 38.2 percent among Hispanic youths. Bud Light also was the most popular brand among female drinkers, with a reported consumption rate of 27.7 percent. Similarly, Budweiser was popular across all groups, with a prevalence of 14.5 percent among non-Hispanic Whites and 17.3 percent among Black youths.

The study also found that 12 alcohol brands among the top 25 preferred brands for Black youth drinkers did not appear at all on the top 25 list for non-Hispanic White youth — among them, Hennessy cognac, Ciroc vodka, and 1800 tequila. Also, there were three popular brands among Hispanic youths that were not among the top 25 for non-Hispanic White drinkers: Dos Equis, Tecate, and Modelo Especial.

The authors, led by Dr. Michael Siegel, BUSPH professor of community health sciences, said the difference in brand preferences by race was the most striking finding.

“We need to look at the reasons for the observed racial and ethnic differences in brand popularity,” Dr. Siegel said.

To read more about the study, go to: