Ocean doesn't separate beer drinkers

International survey finds Europeans consume a little more than Americans

June 21, 1999 - Europeans and Americans share an affinity for beer, according to the not-so-surprising results of a recent survey. Martiz AmeriPoll found that 51% of American consumed at least one beer in the month before being surveyed and that 52% of Europeans had done the same. The telephone survey included residents of the U.K., Netherlands, Belgium, Germany, France, Italy and Spain as well as America.


European beer drinkers average 22 beers per month while Americans consume 19 per month. While Europeans' consumption is split evening between home (51%) and bars, in the United States 63% of beer is drunk at home. However, 52% of Americans 21 to 34 years old prefer drinking out.

While many American feel that beer advertising is omnipresent, advertising in Europe actually appears to be more effective. When asked if they could recall any advertising (television, radio, print, billboards, etc.) for beer during the past month, 67% of Europeans said they could, compared to just 54% of Americans. Young drinkers (21-34) are more likely to remember advertising; 60% in the U.S., 73% in Europe.

However, even those who remember ads indicate they are unlikely to be influenced by them. Most who drink or buy beer (88%) said they are not likely to purchase a particular brand of beer based on advertisements they have seen. About 9% say they are somewhat likely, and just 2% say they are very likely. In-store displays were not rated as effective either, with 83% saying these displays are not likely to sway their choice of beer purchases.

That's not to say that brands don't pack a punch. Nearly 70% of those who drink and/or buy beer say they generally base their choice of beer on brand, not price. Those who have a favorite brand of beer favor the Budweiser brand (27%) more than any other beer. Miller followed it with 17%, Coors with 11%, Michelob 9%, Busch 4%, Corona 4%, Heineken 3%, Molson 2% and Samuel Adams 2%.

While brand may rate ahead of price, price still makes a difference. Discounts, sales, or price promotions are somewhat or very likely to affect the decision of 40% of beer drinkers. One-fifth of young drinkers say price is very important.

Drinkers on both sides of the Atlantic are not particularly inclined to try new beers. Just 16% in the U.S. and 21% in Europe said they were very likely to try a new brand, though the numbers rise to 21% in the U.S. and 27% in Europe among the 21- to 34-year-old drinkers. Drinkers in the U.K. (34%) were most likely to try a new beer, while those in the Netherlands (10%) were least likely.

The survey was conducted by Maritz Marketing Research Inc. of St. Louis in partnership with NIPO Marketing Institute in Amsterdam.

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