Red, white and beer: What Americans eat and drink for July 4th

In 1776, John Adams famously wrote to his wife Abigail that Independence Day, as it would later come to be known, should be commemorated "with pomp and parade, with shows, games, sports, guns, bells, bonfires and illuminations...."

He was forgetting something: food. Lots and lots of food.

True to America's cultural diversity, the pomp and parade for this year's July 4 celebration will include all manner of dishes and liquid refreshment. And, of course, staples like burgers and hot dogs will be sizzling on backyard barbecues around the nation.

Nielsen reports that in 2014 Americans spent $1.7 billion on beer alone over the July 4 holiday, making it the most popular alcoholic beverage for toasting life, liberty and the pursuit of happiness. Here's a selection of other top-selling Independence Day comestibles, according to the global information and measurement company, along with how much consumers spent on each item over the July 4 weekend last year.

Beer:

  • Premium beer - $687.4 million
  • Craft/microbrews - $193.6 million
  • Domestic beer - $103.4 million

Wine:

  • Red - $212.8 million
  • White - $222.8 million
  • Rose - $31.5 million

Meat:

  • Beef - $442.7 million
  • Hot dogs - $73.5 million
  • Sausages - $71.9 million

Other Foods:

  • Potato chips - $155.9 million
  • Ice cream - $147.4 million
  • Cherries - $72.6 million
  • Watermelon - $54 million
  • Ice - $47.8 million
  • BBQ sauce - $21.3 million
  • Baked beans - $20.7 million
  • Ketchup - $16.5 million
  • Mustard - $11.9 million
  • Apple pie - $4 million
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    Alain Sherter covers business and economic affairs for CBSNews.com.