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The Brands Underage Drinkers Choose

The Brands Underage Drinkers Choose Credit: Beer bottle image via Shutterstock

A new study reveals that only a small group of brands account for nearly half of all underage alcohol consumption in the United States.

Underage drinking results in 4,700 deaths per year in the United States, according to the Center on Alcohol Marketing and Youth (CAMY). And new research reveals which alcoholic beverage companies profit the most from these young drinkers.

A study by the Boston University School of Public Health and the Johns Hopkins Bloomberg School of Public Health, home to CAMY, names the top 25 brands most frequently consumed by underage drinkers. The following list cites the top 10 brands in order from most to least consumed by those under 21:

1. Bud Light

2. Smirnoff Malt Beverages

3. Budweiser

4. Smirnoff Vodkas

5. Coors Light

6. Jack Daniel's Bourbons

7. Corona Extra

8. Mike's

9. Captain Morgan Rums

10. Absolut Vodkas

Of the top 25 brands, 12 were spirits, nine were beers and four were flavored alcoholic beverages.

The list is based on an online survey of over 1,000 young people aged 13 to 20, which asked respondents about their consumption of 898 brands of alcohol over the previous 30 days, including the frequency and amounts they consumed.

"Importantly, this report paves the way for subsequent studies to explore the association between exposure to alcohol advertising and marketing efforts and drinking behavior in young people,” said David Jernigan, Ph.D. and director of CAMY, who co-authored the study.

The research suggests that 70 percent of high school students have consumed alcohol, and about 22 percent engage in heavy, episodic drinking. Other studies have demonstrated the rise in underage drinking rates when young people are exposed to a greater amount of advertising and marketing of alcoholic beverages.

"We now know, for the first time, what alcohol brands — and which companies — are profiting the most from the sale of their products to underage drinkers," said Michael Siegel, M.D., M.P.H., professor of community health sciences at the Boston University School of Public Health and lead author of the study.

"The companies implicated by this study as the leading culprits in the problem of underage drinking need to take immediate action to reduce the appeal of their products to youth," he said.

Elizabeth Palermo
Elizabeth Palermo

Elizabeth writes about innovative technologies and business trends. She has traveled throughout the Americas in her roles as student, English teacher, Spanish language interpreter and freelance writer. She graduated with a B.A. in International Affairs from the George Washington University. You can follow her on Twitter @techEpalermo or .