Why Trusting Wine Reviews From Minors Isn’t Smart

BelushiandJackI’m fully aware of the need of scientists and researchers to confirm what appears obvious to most people. We do it to give objective confirmation to our well honed intuition and to understand the degree to which observable phenomena are being observed correctly. Still, I always get a bit of feeling of “I Told You So” when I see a result of a study that teaches us what I already know.

I’m talking about the claim that I and many others have made over and over and over: Wine is not the choice of underage drinkers.

A recent study conducted by the Boston University School of Public Health sought to determine what drinks minors most often consumed. Guess what they found.

“Of the top 25 consumed brands (by minors), 12 were spirits brands (including four vodkas), nine were beers, and four were flavored alcohol beverages.”

No wine in that top 25. Though I’ve not read the entire study to see all of the brands mentioned by minors, I’d be willing to bet that 750ml bottles of wine make up a teeny weenie (It’s an academic term) percentage of the products named as the having been consumed by minors in the study. It might be that jug or box wines or wine coolers (are they still for sale?) were named, but likely also make up a very small percentage of the products consumed by minors.

The drink of choice by minors, according to the study, was—as we all knew—beer and spirits

Top 10 Brand Reported Use in Previous 30 Days Among Underage Youth

1. Bud Light 27.9%
2. Smirnoff Malt Beverages 17.0%
3. Budweiser 14.6%
4. Smirnoff Vodkas 12.7%
5. Coors Light 12.7%
6. Jack Daniel’s Bourbons 11.4%
7. Corona Extra 11.3%
8. Mike’s 10.8%
9. Captain Morgan Rums 10.4%
10. Absolut Vodkas 10.1%

What do all these brands of alcohol have in common? They are relatively inexpensive on a per drink basis.

For many years proponents of direct to consumer wine shipping have witnessed the claim that by allowing direct to consumer shipping, minors will take advantage of the channel and have wine after wine after wine shipped to their front door and we stared back at the claim and the people making them wide-eyed and bewildered. We wondered if the adult making the claim had ever been a minor or has any access to information about the motivations of minors.

All that said, we can also determine that minors have relatively poor taste when it comes to alcohol. But we could have predicted this too….After all, almost all of us were minors at one point ourselves.

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6 Responses

  1. Kurt Burris - February 11, 2013

    I was an exception. My friends and I discovered that while growing up in Canada that we would never get carded if we went to a lounge and asked to see the wine list. Our classmates trying to sneak into bars where IDed all the time. That being said, we were not having wine, beer or even dirty magazines shipped to our homes. One of our parents would have been there to sign for it.

  2. Tom Wark - February 11, 2013

    Kurt….Interesting strategy. Our gangs strategy was to butter up and older brother or sister or to simply slip it out of the back of the parents liquor cabinet and hope for the best.

  3. Joe - February 11, 2013

    The cost per drink is one factor, but I believe the quicker high may be more important. I grew up in the ’50’s and ’60’s. Wine was really not that fashionable or as available as today. In my parents cabinet there was always one bottle of Manischewitz, a Seagram’s 7 and a Brandy. When we (my brothers and I) would sneak a drink, it was always the Seagram’s or the Brandy. It wasn’t that we did not like concord grape juice, it was because we were able to get a bit tipsy without taking enough of the bottle to get any substantial amount of missing liquor noticed.

  4. Tom wark - February 11, 2013

    Joe,
    One more demonstration of the resourcefulness and need for speed inherent in minors disposition.

  5. Pete - February 16, 2013

    Hmmnn. Do the people who put out this list know what they’re writing about? Jack Daniel’s makes Tennessee Whiskey, not Bourbon.

  6. CSMiller - February 16, 2013

    What minor knows that Jack is a sour mash whisky not from Bourbon country. I’d love to see the rest of the 25, but the 10 tells me that our youth are very responsive to Marketing. Heineken must be close to catching the top 10 with all the ads geared toward the hip virtually social crowd.


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