Beer or Wine: Pick Your Poison

This infographic from FinancesOnline is sure to create a stir amongst beer and wine lovers alike

The beer vs. wine debate rages on and we're not sure who the ultimate winner truly is.

It’s almost like comparing apples to oranges, but to some extent beer and wine are comparable if we talk about market shares. A Gallup survey just this August showed that wine is encroaching into beer country, with the difference between beer and wine as America’s beverage of choice shrinking from 20 percentage points in 1992 to just a point last year for beer. The survey hinted that wine is becoming more popular among the younger generations and minorities.

But in numbers, beer still outsells wine by a mile, largely because beer is consumed in large quantities as opposed to wine. In fact, for every glass of wine consumed, nearly 3,500 bottles of beer were drunk in 2011. Interestingly, the infographic from shows which countries drink beer or wine most.

Brewers are hopeful, though, that the emerging markets offer an ample room to grow their business. China and Brazil are the biggest and third-biggest beer markets today, respectively (the U.S. is second). To show how big the Chinese market is, the world’s number one beer brand is Snow Beer; hardly known in the States, yes, because it’s mostly sold in China, but it’s consumed nearly twice as much as Budweiser last year.

Still, brewers lament that wine lobbyists have made a good campaign to position their alcohol as the "healthier" drink. With more people jumping into the health and wellness lifestyle, beer, it seems, only belongs to that guy with the big belly. Not so fast, though, because beer advocates are fighting back with their slew of health claims, mainly the silicon in beer that supposedly makes bones stronger. Check the infographic for more details.

As for the matter of sophistication, wine drinkers may not be all show. A look at the top wine varieties in 2012 indicate that wine drinkers’ preference is more spread out among cabernet, merlot, and pinot noir for red, and chardonnay, pinot grigio, and sauvignon blanc for white. For beer drinkers’ preference, it’s mainly pale lagers and pilsners.

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So which one is better? Well, we already know the answer: it’s wine for the wine drinker and beer for the beer drinker.