The “king of beers” is also the king of emergency room visits. While only making up 9.1 percent of domestic beer sales, Budweiser is implicated in the more emergency room visits nationwide than any other alcoholic beverage.
Roughly a third of emergency room visits in the United States involve patients who had been impairing their decision making with various intoxicating beverages. If that sounds like a serious public health issue, that’s because it is. Researchers at Johns Hopkins wanted to study the relationship between marketing, choice in alcohol, and risky behavior.
After Budweiser came Steel Reserve Malt Liquor: while making up a paltry 0.8 percent of the U.S. beer market, it accounted for 14.7 percent of hospitalizations—nearly the same proportion as Budweiser. Two other malt liquors, Colt 45 and Bud Ice, come in third and fourth. Bud light and Barton’s Vodka, a discount brand, place fifth and sixth.
In fact, the menace here seems to be malt liquors. While only responsible for 2.4 percent of the domestic beer market, malt beverages were the choice of 46 percent of revelers-turn-emergency room patients. Of course, malt liquor has a considerably higher alcohol content than regular beer.
The preliminary study only looked at 105 patients at one hospital in Baltimore, the further research could determine the best ways to prevent alcohol abuse.
“Some products are marketed to certain groups of people in our society,” Traci Toomey, the director of the University of Minnesota’s alcohol epidemiology program, told NBC News. “So we might want to put some controls on certain products if we find they are tied to greater risk. But how they are marketed and priced is critical information and that has been very hard to study.”
Vox would guess that most of the hospitalizations among Georgetown students would involve Burnett’s and Natty light. Whether bad decisions (such as maple syrup Burnett’s) leads to more bad decisions (getting GERMS’d) would be particularly of interest.
Photo: Joseph Bremsom via Flickr