A poll carried out on behalf of the organisation found that 67% of respondents thought wine was healthier than beer, compared to just 13% who thought beer was the healthier choice.
Professor Charles Bamforth, Anheuser-Busch endowed professor at the University of California, described the view that wine is healthier than beer as a “myth” that “dates back many years to research carried out in France, a predominantly wine-drinking country”.
“This suggested that moderate wine drinkers were healthier than non-drinkers,” he said.
“The crucial point is that it was a comparison with non-drinkers.
“When similar studies were carried out in the Czech Republic, a nation of beer drinkers, just the same protective effect was seen with beer.
“This study showed the lowest risk of heart attacks in men who drank ‘almost daily or daily’ consuming between seven to 16 pints of beer a week.”
The professor highlighted a paper from the Harvard School of Public Health in the USA which showed “strong evidence” that “moderate consumption” of any alcoholic drink is linked with a lower risk of heart disease and that “most protection comes from the alcohol rather than any other component in the drink”.
“There is nothing magic about wine and heart disease; the benefit comes from moderate alcohol consumption,” he said.
“But moderation is the key word.
“If you drink too much, any health benefits to your cardiovascular system quickly disappear. This is equally true whether your favourite tipple is beer, cider, spirits or wine.”