Americans love their beer and wine, but we're drinking less beer than before. See the big picture now.

Here are two interactive visualizations I put together showing beverage consumption, in gallons, from 1985 through 2007. The data are from the US Department of Agriculture.

There are a host of interesting things in the data. From 1985 through 2007 the biggest changes are:

–A sextupling in consumption of bottled water
–A 50% increase in diet soda consumption
–A 60% decrease in whole milk consumption
–A doubling in skim milk consumption

It’s interesting to see how beer consumption hovered around 24 gallons per person per year from 1985 through 1990 and then dropped off and leveled out at 21.7 gallons per person from 1995 through 2007. That’s an 11% decrease. Wine consumption, on the other hand, has had a roller coaster ride the over the last 12 years. In 1985 we were consuming about 2.4 gallons per person of wine per year. Then wine consumption bottomed out from 1993-1995 to 1.7 gallons per person. Since 1996, however, wine consumption has increased just about every year and now stands at 2.5 gallons per year, per person.

For this visualization, I thought I’d give Many Eyes a go and visualize some data using their stacked area chart and treemap visualization. The process of uploading the data to their site was a snap, and the visualizations were quite easy to do as well. In addition, embedding the visualizations on my site was a piece of cake, just copy and paste the code that they provide on their site and you’re done.

One thing they could do to enhance learning from their graphs is to enable linking of two chart types. For example, I’d love to be able to be able to select a cell in the treemap and see the corresponding area in the stacked area chart get highlighted.

Also, here’s a link to a good story in Slate about milk’s recent image problems in the U.S.

Author: John Munoz

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