What do Hennessy, Jack Daniels and Everclear have in common? According to a rather fascinating new study, these three brands are especially popular with those teenage drinkers who get into booze-related fights.
In the new paper, researchers Sarah P. Roberts and colleagues of Boston say that some brands of alcohol are correlated with self-reported involvement in “alcohol related fights and injuries”, in a national sample of American underage drinkers (i.e. drinkers under the age of 21).
The relationship held true even after adjusting for factors such as gender, age, and overall quantity of alcohol consumed. Here’s a bar chart I created based on the adjusted odds ratios in Roberts et al.’s results. The higher the bar, the more strongly each drink was independently associated with reported involvement in alcohol-related violence.
Everclear 190 dominates the list, perhaps unsurprisingly given that this ‘drink’ is 95% pure alcohol (it’s banned in many states of the US.) I was very surprised to see Hennessy Cognac come in at #2, however. Here in the UK, cognac has an image as a refined, upper-class spirit. Here, Hennessy is seen as a drink more for middle-aged schoolteachers than for young delinquents. I guess it must be marketed differently in the USA.
Jack Daniels cocktails come in at #3 though the whiskey itself is ranked at #5.
Down at the bottom of the scale, Coors Light beer and Grey Goose vodka are if anything more popular among people who don’t get into fights than among people who do. However, these odds ratios did not significantly differ from 1.0, so the difference may be due to chance.
We also shouldn’t read too much into the differences between any one drink and another, as these differences may not be significant. Bear in mind also that drinking and involvement in violence were both self-reported variables.
Roberts et al. conclude by saying that
We cannot say with any certainty exactly which characteristics of these brands influence the nature and degree of alcohol-related consequences among youth. Clearly, this is an important area for future research.
Roberts SP, Siegel MB, DeJong W, Naimi TS, & Jernigan DH (2015). Brand Preferences of Underage Drinkers Who Report Alcohol-Related Fights and Injuries. Substance Use & MisusePMID: 25612075