conjoint Culture

Bros Before Booze?


To drink, or not to drink, that is rarely the most important question—with whom and what to drink tends to have more of an impact on the experience. Yet, even the best drinking companion and alcoholic beverage combination are context-dependent: A celebratory sip of champagne with your family at a wedding is joyous—at a funeral, it’s vindictive.


We used a conjoint experiment to reveal whether Americans care more about who they drink with or what they drink, as well as the best buddy and booze combinations across six common occasions.



Across occasions, Americans are split on whether the drinking partner or type of alcohol matters more. Drinking companions and alcohol consumption literally go hand-in-hand at birthdays and weddings, as significant others are the preferred drinking partner about 30% of the time in both occasions. A little fewer than one third of Americans (27%) prefer a margarita with a side of spouse at their birthdays.


Unsurprisingly, friends are 28% more likely to be the preferred drinking companions than your significant other during a break-up—especially if you’re the one doing the breaking up. And nothing helps with grieving at a funeral more than drinking with family members. Wine is the dour drink of choice at a funeral (preferred 38% of the time), even though a shotski is clearly the most efficient way to honor the deceased.