For better or worse, Americans head to the bars in droves on just about any given night. It doesn’t seem like that’ll change any time soon as Bundle found, most Americans plan to keep spending on booze.
But how Americans spend on alcohol widely differs. Studies have shown that Americans drink specific kinds of alcoholic beverages based on their ages and relative incomes—the older one gets, the more likely they are to go for the harder (and more expensive) stuff.
Here at Bundle, we take data very seriously. That’s why we selected a sample of more than 50 cocktail, beer and wine bars, and consulted our aggregated and anonymized credit card data from over 20 million U.S. households to get the answers we’re after. We’ve recently delved into the habits of beer imbibers and wine partakers. Come with us as we complete our walk through all our drinking data to find out what’s driving the modern cocktail scene.
Who’s drinking all these cocktails?
It might not surprise you to learn that younger folks aren’t the ones guzzling cocktails by the gallon; only 8.4% of all cocktail bar patrons are between 21 and 25. Almost 60 per cent of all spending in cocktail bars is by individuals aged 26 to 49—hardly college-age partiers. For example, our data shows that 46% of all patrons of one of San Francisco’s top cocktail lounges, Elixir are between 26 and 35. Yes, middle-agers dominate the cocktail bar scene, but why?
It could be argued that cocktails imply a certain sophistication that beer does not. Additionally, cocktails usually cost more than beer does, and as such, older, financially-endowed customers are more inclined to purchase them. For example, the average check at NYC’s Employees Only lounge was $52. Compare this to the median total bill at a beer bar: $30.
The amount of change in spending over time in each group also brings to light some interesting facts. For example, the 36 to 49 set saw the most noticeable increase from 2010 to 2011, from 40% to about 45%. The youngest and oldest age groups were the only ones to experience a drop in consumption during that time.
What does a typical night out cost them?
On average, cocktail bar drinkers spend $45 per visit—about 55 per cent of all checks are usually under $50. As you may have seen in our beer feature, the average check at a beer bar cost $30. In this light, it’s much easier to see why the younger crowd tends to avoid pricey cocktail bars in favour of cheaper beer joints.
- You may also be interested in Wine By The Numbers: Who Are America’s Winos?
- And Beer By The Numbers: How America Spends Its Beer Money
- DON’T MISS: 13 things you can stop wasting money on >
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