Liquor advertising and consumption in the United States: 1971–2008

Gary B. Wilcox and KyungOk Kacy Kim

University of Texas at Austin

Heather M. Schulz

University of Nebraska at Kearney


Distilled spirits (liquor) consumption in the United States has been an area of social concern as well as governmental regulation since the first settlers brought their alcohol with them to the colonies. From those early times to the years following the Civil War, American spirits developed into an industry in which a sizeable amount of revenue was generated both by producers and by governments through taxation. Battles between tax collectors and spirits producers began almost immediately and continue today (Grossman et al. 1993; Mullin 2001; Marley 2009).

Perhaps a more visible confrontation exists between prohibitionists and producers of alcohol beverages. The 1920–33 prohibition era illustrated the heightened conflicts between these two groups. More recently, attempts have been made to prohibit or curtail the marketing and advertising of alcohol products to the general population as well as special sub-groups (Weischselbaum 2010; Talanova 2011).