These Are the Biggest Beer Swilling States

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Making a toast with beer glasses
Anna Schlosser /

Although beer consumption has taken a small dip in the United States, many Americans still enjoy cracking open a cold brew, or two.

The share of Americans’ total alcohol intake from beer dropped by nearly 10 percent from 2003 to 2013, while the popularity of wine and spirits has grown, according to 24/7 Wall St. But there are some states where beer continues to fly off shelves.

Using data from Beer Marketer’s Insights, 24/7 Wall St. found that North Dakota residents are tipping back the most beer (43.6 gallons in 2013) per drinking-age adult in the country. At the other end of the beer-drinking spectrum is Utah, where drinking-age residents consumed a modest 19.6 gallons each in 2013.

Low population density was correlated to greater beer consumption rates, 24/7 Wall St. observed:

All but three of the 11 states with the highest beer consumption were less densely populated. [Eric Shepherd, executive editor at Beer Marketer’s Insights] suggested there may be fewer entertainment options in rural areas. Not only that, but beer may also be among a shorter list of available beverage options in rural states compared to more urban states.

According to the report, these are the 10 states that drink the most beer:

  1. North Dakota: 43.6 gallons per drinking-age adult in 2013.
  2. New Hampshire: 42.2 gallons.
  3. Montana: 40.5 gallons.
  4. South Dakota: 38.2 gallons.
  5. Vermont: 35.9 gallons.
  6. Wisconsin: 35.8 gallons.
  7. Nevada: 34.9 gallons.
  8. Maine: 34.8 gallons.
  9. Nebraska: 34.1 gallons.
  10. Mississippi: 33.2 gallons.

“High per capita beer consumption in a state does not necessarily mean residents drink excessively,” 24/7 Wall St. noted. Though the number of people binge drinking is usually elevated in bigger beer drinking states, as is the rate of heavy drinking.

I was disappointed — though not surprised — to see my home state of Montana on the list, not so much for the drinking but for its drinking and driving. Nationwide, less than 2 percent of American adults admitted to drinking excessively, then getting behind the wheel, 24/7 Wall St. said. In Montana, that number jumped to 3.4 percent, the highest percentage nationwide.

It’s hardly a surprise then that Montana also has the second most deaths from alcohol-related car crashes in the nation (behind North Dakota).

Americans’ beer preference is shifting. Check out “Many Drinkers No Longer Pop a Top on These 7 Beers.”

Where did your state rank on the list? Are you a beer drinker? Share your comments below or on our Facebook page.

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