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Keywords:

  • Alcohol Content;
  • Alcohol Prices;
  • Alcoholic Beverage Type;
  • Youth

Background

There are no existing data on alcoholic beverage prices and ethanol (EtOH) content at the level of alcohol brand. A comprehensive understanding of alcohol prices and EtOH content at the brand level is essential for the development of effective public policy to reduce alcohol use among underage youth. The purpose of this study was to comprehensively assess alcoholic beverage prices and EtOH content at the brand level.

Methods

Using online alcohol price data from 15 control states and 164 online alcohol stores, we estimated the average alcohol price and percent alcohol by volume for 900 brands of alcohol, across 17 different alcoholic beverage types, in the United States in 2011.

Results

There is considerable variation in both brand-specific alcohol prices and EtOH content within most alcoholic beverage types. For many types of alcohol, the within-category variation between brands exceeds the variation in average price and EtOH content among the several alcoholic beverage types. Despite differences in average prices between alcoholic beverage types, in 12 of the 16 alcoholic beverage types, customers can purchase at least 1 brand of alcohol that is under $1 per ounce of EtOH.

Conclusions

Relying on data or assumptions about alcohol prices and EtOH content at the level of alcoholic beverage type is insufficient for understanding and influencing youth drinking behavior. Surveillance of alcohol prices and EtOH content at the brand level should become a standard part of alcohol research.