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Underage Drinking Hits Record Low


Brewers, Beer Importers Praise Study Results

WASHINGTON, DC – Underage drinking continues to decline, according to a benchmark federal survey of alcohol and drug use.

Brewers and beer importers, who fund community-based responsibility programs, praised the new data, but said more needs to be done. The 2012 National Survey on Drug Use and Health (NSDUH) was conducted by the Substance Abuse and Mental Health Services Administration (SAMHSA).

The report found that the rates of past month drinking, binge drinking and heavy drinking among underage adolescents aged 12 to 17 continue to decline:

  • Past-month drinking is down 27 percent since record-keeping began in 2002.
  • Binge drinking is down 33 percent since 2002.
  • Heavy drinking down 48 percent since 2002.

“We are encouraged by the positive findings in this report, especially as we send our kids back to school,” said Beer Institute President Joe McClain. “Even as underage drinking continues to decline, brewers and beer importers remain vigilant in our efforts to reduce underage use. We are committed to responsibility and will continue working with parents, law enforcement, community groups and others to discourage anyone under 21 from drinking.”

Beer Institute member companies have invested millions of dollars in programs and initiatives to support public safety, education and prevention of underage drinking. Brewers and importers encourage parents to talk with their teens about making good, safe decisions. Research shows that by far parents have the most influence on teens’ drinking decisions.

NSDUH is a scientifically conducted annual survey of approximately 70,000 people throughout the country, aged 12 and older. The complete survey findings are available on the SAMHSA web site at:

For more information on the beer industry’s responsibility initiatives, visit


The Beer Institute, established in 1986, is the national trade association for the brewing industry, representing both large and small brewers, as well as importers and industry suppliers. The Institute is committed to the development of sound public policy and to the values of civic duty and personal responsibility: Connect with us @BeerInstitute and on Facebook.