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Top Alcohol Brands Preferred By Underage Drinkers Revealed

Update Date: Mar 21, 2014 05:34 PM EDT

Underage drinkers tend to pick certain drinks, according to a new study.

Researchers said that the latest study show that young people are not merely copying the alcohol brand choices of adults. Researchers said these findings suggest that there are other factors that influence alcohol preference for underage drinkers.

The study compared brand-specific consumption of alcohol between underage drinkers and adults. The findings identified several brands disproportionally consumed by underage drinkers. These brands include Keystone Light beer, Bacardi malt beverages, Malibu rum, Captain Morgan rum and Smirnoff malt beverages.

"Underage drinkers are not just adopting the brand choices modeled by their parents or other adults," lead study author Michael Siegel, MD, MPH, professor of Community Health Sciences at the Boston University School of Public Health, said in a news release. "Other factors are influencing which brands of alcohol young people are consuming."

Researchers said that the study used data from the following three sources: a 2012 internet-based survey of underage drinkers ages 13-20; GFK MRI's Survey of the Adult Consumer for the years 2010-2012 which provides brand-specific consumption data for adults; and national data compiled by Impact Databank.

After calculating the prevalence ratios for each brand, which was defined as the ratio of the percent of youth that reported drinking the brand compared to adults.

The findings revealed 15 leading brands among youth and had very pronounced underage youth consumption. The brands include Smirnoff Malt Beverages, Jack Daniels Whiskeys, Mike's Malt Beverages, Absolut Vodkas, Heineken, Bacardi Malt Beverages, Grey Goose Vodkas, Malibu Rums, Keystone Light, Patron Tequilas, Corona Extra Light, Jack Daniel's Cocktails, Burnett's Vodkas, Bud Ice and Natural Ice beer.

Further analysis revealed that the most population brand for underage drinkers in terms of prevalence and market share compared with adults was Smirnoff Malt Beverages.

The study revealed that 17 percent of drinkers between 13 and 20 reported drinking Smirnoff Malt Beverages in the past month. Researchers said these beverages make up 2.9 percent of youth alcohol consumption in the youth survey, and took up 6.7 times their share of adult consumption.

"Future research is urgently needed to understand to what extent other factors such as price, taste and marketing play a role in young people's choices of these particular brands," study co-author David Jernigan, Center on Alcohol Marketing and Youth director, said in a news release. "Follow-up studies will allow us to measure the degree of association between exposure to alcohol advertising and marketing efforts and brand preferences in young people."

The study was published in the journal Substance Abuse.

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