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Most Americans Drink Responsibly During COVID-19 Pandemic

ARLINGTON, VAThe proportion of adults who report consuming alcohol within the last 30 days has fallen during the pandemic, from 79% in 2020 to 63% in 2021, reported in a survey recently commissioned by  Additionally, most American adults (87%) are confident that they drink responsibly, with the proportion of individuals surveyed saying they felt extremely confident increasing significantly, from 45% to 57%, over the past eight months.

“Americans are still struggling with the impact of the COVID-19 pandemic in multiple ways, but we’re encouraged by this study’s findings,” said Chris Swonger, president and CEO, Distilled Spirits Council of the United States (DISCUS) and “Adults largely remain confident in their ability to consume alcohol responsibly, even when under unprecedented levels of stress.”

The data also underscore how adults have made their health a priority over the past year, with 42% of participants reporting they have learned the importance of self-care during the COVID-19 pandemic. Whether in efforts to practice self-care or institute positive changes, 26% of individuals surveyed reported drinking less for health-related reasons, while 35% of individuals who have stopped drinking all together since the beginning of the pandemic cite the same reason.

Additionally, COVID-19 related local regulations and closures have reduced adult consumption. Thirty-four percent of adults who report drinking less also cited not being able to go out as their reason for drinking less, while 23% cited bar and restaurant closures as the reason. COVID-19 related closures and restrictions have changed how, where, and when people are drinking.

This shift re-emphasizes the importance of responsible consumption and robust alcohol education. With families spending most of their time at home, it is increasingly important for parents to discuss the dangers of over-consumption or underage drinking. The survey found that 54% of parents feel the stress of the COVID-19 pandemic makes it more important for them to talk to their kids about the dangers of underage drinking.

“With Americans more likely to drink from the comfort of their own home, alcohol education is paramount. Adults who choose to drink should consume responsibly and know their limits, and stick to them,” Swonger continued. “It is also critical that parents maintain an open dialogue with their children about healthy choices, as well as the dangers associated with underage drinking and overconsumption.”

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Survey Methodology

The online survey of 1,000 American adults 18 years of age and older was conducted January 26-28, 2021 by APCO Insight, a global opinion research firm. The overall sample reflects national representation on key demographic measures according to the U.S. Census Bureau. The confidence interval for the overall survey sample is ± 3.1 percentage points at the 95% confidence level. A previous wave of this survey using the same methodology and sampling selection was conducted May 4-5, 2020.

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About is a national not-for-profit that aims to eliminate drunk driving and work with others to end all impaired driving, eliminate underage drinking, and empowers adults to make a lifetime of responsible alcohol choices as part of a balanced lifestyle. is funded by the following distillers: Bacardi U.S.A., Inc.; Beam Suntory Inc.; Brown-Forman; DIAGEO; Edrington, Mast-Jägermeister US, Inc.; Moët Hennessy USA; Ole Smoky, LLC; and Pernod Ricard USA. For nearly 30 years, has transformed countless lives through programs that bring individuals, families, and communities together to inspire a lifetime of responsible alcohol choices. To learn more, please visit



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