Have you seen this AP story by Mike Stobbe? It's about a study done by researchers at the Centers for Disease Control (CDC) that found binge drinkers are more likely to drink beer than liquor or wine. "The study of adult binge drinkers found that nearly 75 percent mainly or exclusively drank beer, 17 percent focused on liquor, and 9 percent were wine drinkers." When the study looked at people who weren't exclusive in their drinking choices, "bingers who drank a variety of beverages, for example, a few after-work beers, a cocktail before dinner and wine with dinner," the numbers shifted: "beer accounted for 67 percent of binge drinks consumed, liquor for 22 percent and wine for 11 percent."
Keep in mind that if you have two cold beers while grilling the steaks, a third of a bottle of cabernet with dinner, and then sip a dram of single malt while perusing the latest issue of the Morbidity & Mortality Weekly Report (the CDC's death journal)...you're a binge drinker.
Hmmm... "binge" is defined by Merriam-Webster as "1 a : a drunken revel : SPREE b : an unrestrained and often excessive indulgence (a buying binge) c : an act of excessive or compulsive consumption (as of food) 2 : a social gathering." The etymology: "English dialect binge (to drink heavily)." Does that evening of drinking, eating, and deep mind improvement sound like a drunken revel or an act of excessive or compulsive consumption to you?
In any case, my point here is that I fail to see why this is news. The CDC researchers speculated that beer may be the choice of drunks -- I'm sorry, bingers -- because it is cheaper, more easily available, and more heavily advertised than liquor; speculation which is reported as conclusive fact in some of the local treatments of this AP story.
Folks: beer is the most common choice of all drinkers in the U.S., by a large margin. Admittedly, the margin on these "bingers" is higher; beer sales are closer to two-thirds than three-quarters of the total. But it's no mystery why binge drinkers prefer beer: Americans prefer beer.
Which brings up the other half of this interesting release of information: teen-aged underage drinkers prefer liquor. It's not really surprising. Think about it. Teens have been told that alcohol is a drug. They're told that "hard" liquor has much more alcohol in it. Even the dullest teen knows that the common mainstream lager beers have to be refrigerated to be palatable, while liquor can be kept at room temperature indefinitely, consumed at that temperature, or added to cold soft drinks just before drinking. They know that drinking is a crime for them, that they can't do it in public, and that they often have limited time to get a load on-board.
Well, duh: what's going to be the drink of choice for concealment, speed of effect, and ease of use? Put another way: what's easier to conceal in your jacket pocket or glove compartment, one 500 ml bottle of vodka, or ten 16 oz. cans of beer? Even an anti-alcohol fanatic could figure that one out. It's the Iron Law of Prohibition, the same inevitable reduction that gave us crack cocaine. It's easy enough to understand, which is why the popularity of keg registration laws with anti-alcohol policy wonks is so mystifying. Look for liquor registration laws to be proposed soon...
Oh. No. Wait a minute. Liquor and wine registration laws won't be on the agenda. Some of the policy types drink that stuff.
Snobbishness and class assumptions about beer, wine, and liquor are stupid, offensive, and ill-informed. The real take-home from this piece is that the choices of binge drinkers roughly parallel the choices of moderate drinkers. Drinking one particular type of tonsil-oil doesn't make you better or worse than anyone else.