Americans drink more when merry, poll shows

Story highlights

  • April 7 is National Beer Day in the U.S.
  • Harris Poll shows that more Americans drink during good times
  • The poll also found that men and millennials tend to drink beer more

This article was originally published in March 2016 and has since been updated.

(CNN)As countless revelers prove on St. Patrick's Day, Cinco de Mayo and other holidays associated with imbibing, drinking and being merry go hand in hand. Now, a poll is backing up that truism.

The Harris survey found that Americans who are 21 and older more often choose to drink alcohol during good times instead of when facing a challenging day.
    Drinkers of legal age crack open a bottle to celebrate a special occasion (86%), on their birthday (73%) or when having an amazing day (72%).
    On the other hand, they drink significantly less when facing a horrible day (60%), feeling stressed (52%) or after a breakup (40%). And when they were experiencing tough times, 40% of them drank beer.
    Addiction medicine specialist Dr. Steven Melemis thinks otherwise, however. Based on his 30 years of experience, he said patients turn to alcohol during tense situations.
    "They tend to drink more when under stress or after a stressful period," Melemis said in an email.
    The Harris poll evaluated 1,360 periodical alcohol drinkers' habits in December, based on demographics such as gender, region, politics and age.
    Men reached for beer on any occurrence from break-up heartache to having a birthday, according to the poll.
    Women poured themselves a glass of wine during a stressful moment, a fabulous day, their birthday and celebratory occasions. When life took a turn for the worse, ladies brought out the liquor.
    "Liquor is the booze of preference for women, Midwesterners, Southerners, baby boomers, matures, independents, suburbanites, rural dwellers and those with no kids in the house, while each of their counterparts reach for a cold one," according to the Harris Poll.
    Millennials' first choice for alcohol was beer. Generation Xers and baby boomers go for a mix of beer, wine and liquor, depending on the occasion. People 70 and older leaned toward liquor during unpleasant times and wine for jubilant occasions.
    "While there's little deviation from the choice of wine based on demographics, a few key groups do stand out in their drink of choice. Men and millennials both turn first to beer for their celebratory toast, while Southerners turn to liquor," the poll found.