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    In the battle of domestic vs. imported, many Americans opt for domestic beers over imported brands, according to research firm Mintel.

    In the battle of domestic vs. imported, many Americans opt for domestic beers over imported brands, according to research firm Mintel.

    A hefty 44 percent of Mintel's beer-drinking survey respondents (representing nearly half of the 24,000-plus adults surveyed between Feb. 2008 and Nov. 2009) said they prefer domestic beer, while the preference of another 13 percent lies with domestic microbrews or craft beers. Slightly less than one-fourth of Americans prefer to drink imported beer. Behind this preference, 42 percent said domestic "just tastes better" than imported and 53 percent claim they are "very loyal" to domestic beer.

    Meanwhile, health and diet trends are encouraging some people to consume fewer calories, with nearly one quarter of domestic beer drinkers who said they drink light beer all the time, while another 26 percent report drinking it most of the time. Import beer drinkers, however, are much less likely to drink lighter versions. More than 90 percent of import beer drinkers said they drink regular beer.

    Men definitely dominate the beer world: 60 percent drink it compared to only 36 percent of women, who are more likely to drink spirits or wine. So what do men want? Full-flavored beer. Over half of men (51 percent) say they look for full-flavored brews, compared to 42 percent of women who seek out lighter-flavored beers. Men are also less interested in low-calorie beer (21 percent) than women (33 percent).

    Respondents aged 21 to 24 and those older than 65 are the least brand-loyal beer drinkers, the survey found. Brand loyalty increases with age, starting at age 25, but then drops off at age 65. Possible reasons could involve affordability, more switching among low-cost beers (as consumers see beer as commodity) or, for those from households earning more than $75,000, having a greater variety of quality beer options.

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