EU Alcohol Study; the youth drink vodka, the French drink wine & everybody drinks beer

Stereotypes can be tough to shake. When it comes to drinking habits, most still view the French as wine aficionados, the Germans as beer drinkers, and the Polish as Vodka lovers. While there may be an element of truth behind these assumptions, not all of them withstand greater scrutiny. Here, Dalia’s spring survey sets the record straight on European drinking habits.

Dalia asked Europeans which types of alcohol they drank in the past three months.* 57% responded that they had beer, 51% had wine, and 27% had champagne/prosecco. Rounding out the bottom of the list was vodka (21%), whiskey (20%), rum (13%) and gin (10%). An additional 23% said they drank none of the alcohol listed above. *The survey was completed in March of 2017.


The 6 largest countries in the EU generally fall in line with the aforementioned drinking norms, with some exceptions. Upholding the stereotype, France is the only country where more people drank wine than beer; 51% drank wine in the past three months compared to 48% who drank beer. But compared to other EU countries, the French don’t have the highest share of wine drinkers overall. Italians drank far more champagne or prosecco than any of their cohort; 39% compared to the EU average of 27%. Spain’s share of rum drinkers (25%) is almost twice as large as the EU average. Also, Poland’s share of vodka drinkers is more than twice as large as the European average (51% vs. 21%). Germans, surprisingly, did not take the lead on beer consumption: just 53% of Germans reported drinking beer in the past 3 months compared to the EU average of 57%.  

When considering alcohol consumption by age, the results show that the highest share of alcohol consumption peaks at different ages for different alcohol types. For example, while whiskey, rum and gin drinking remains fairly uniform among all age groups, vodka drinking peaks among those in their late teens and early twenties, with a drastic decline thereafter. Beer drinking peaks among 30 year olds with a slightly lower consumption among older ages. Dalia’s results also show that wine is the only alcohol that doesn’t peak at an early age. Instead, the percent of wine drinkers increases in tandem with the age of Dalia’s respondents.


Stay tuned for the next post exploring the EU’s favorite beer brands.