SANTA ROSA, CA - FEBRUARY 07:  A Russian River Brewing Company customer takes a sip of the newly released Pliny the Younger triple IPA beer on February 7, 2014 in Santa Rosa, California.  Hundreds of people lined up hours before the opening of Russian River Brewing Co. to taste the 10th annual release of the wildly popular Pliny the Younger triple IPA beer that will only be available on tap from February 7th through February 20th. Craft beer aficionados rank Pliny the Younger as one of the top beers in the world. The craft beer sector of the beverage industry has grown from being a niche market into a fast growing 12 billion dollar business, as global breweries continue to purchase smaller regional craft breweries such this week's purchase of New York's Blue Point Brewing by AB Inbev. (Photo by Justin Sullivan/Getty Images)

Alcohol beverage companies made an estimated $17.5 billion on underage drinking in 2016, study says

Updated 1039 GMT (1839 HKT) June 11, 2021

(CNN)An estimated $17.5 billion of beer and liquor sales in the United States in 2016 was consumed by minors, with the products of three companies -- AB InBev, Molson Coors Beverage Co. and Diageo -- accounting for nearly 45% of underage youth consumption, a new study found.

"A study of this kind hasn't been done in some 20 years, and it shows that the alcohol industry is making billions of dollars from the sale of alcohol to minors," said study author Pamela Trangenstein, an assistant professor at the Gillings School of Global Public Health at the University of North Carolina at Chapel Hill.
The study, published Thursday in the Journal of Studies on Alcohol and Drugs, used national data on self-reported adult and underage drinking from the US Centers for Disease Control and Prevention and other sources. Researchers compared those numbers to industry sales in 2016, which they said was the latest data available, and adjusted for underreporting.
"It's really shocking that underage drinkers generated $17 billion in alcohol sales as late as 2016," said nutrition researcher Marion Nestle, a visiting professor of nutritional sciences at Cornell University who has authored numerous books on the politics of the food and beverage industry.