States That Drink the Most Beer

10. Delaware
> Per capita consumption: 34.3 gallons
> Total consumption: 22,592,366 gallons (7th lowest)
> Pct. change in consumption ’03-’11: -2.3% (8th highest)
> Pct. binge drinkers: 20.3% (12th highest)
> Population density: 465.5/sq. mile (6th highest)

While most of the states that consume a great deal of alcohol are large and sparsely populated, Delaware is the second-smallest state by area, and one of the most densely populated in the country. As of 2003, the state legalized the sale of beer on Sunday. While beer consumption declined 7.5% nationwide between 2003 and 2011, it fell by just 2.3% in Delaware. Delaware is among the top 15 in the country both for heavy drinking and binge drinking. The state also has no sales tax, and an excise tax on alcohol of just $0.16 per gallon.

9.  Nebraska
> Per capita consumption: 34.6 gallons (tied-8th)
> Total consumption: 44,711,021 gallons (15th lowest)
> Pct. change in consumption ’03-’11: -5.7% (20th highest)
> Pct. binge drinkers: 22.7% (5th highest)
> Population density: 24.0/sq. mile (8th lowest)

Nebraskans are among the heaviest drinkers in the United States. Nearly 23% of Nebraska adults were binge drinkers while another 7.5% were heavy drinkers. Overall, 61.8% of all adults stated they had consumed alcohol within the past 30 days, one of the highest percentages in the country. Unlike many other states with high per-capita consumption, Nebraska has one of the higher tax rates in the nation, at $9.61 per 31-gallon barrel. In March, a New York Times article noted that the small town of Whiteclay, Neb., sold 4.9 million cans of beer a year to residents of Pine Ridge, a Lakota reservation across state lines in South Dakota.

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8. Texas
> Per capita consumption: 34.6 gallons (tied-8th)
> Total consumption: 604,956,568 gallons (2nd highest)
> Pct. change in consumption ’03-’11: -9.4% (15th lowest)
> Pct. binge drinkers: 18.9% (19th highest)
> Population density: 98.3/sq. mile (25th lowest)

Despite being one of the nation’s largest per-capita consumers of beer, just 54.3% of adult Texans surveyed last year had consumed alcohol in the preceding 30 days — well below the national average of 57.1%. Binge and heavy drinkers only accounted for 18.9% and 7%, respectively, of Texas’ adult population. These figures are only slightly higher than the comparable national rates of 18.3% and 6.6%. One possible reason Texas sells so much beer is tax-related. As of July 1, 2011, sales of beer were taxed $6.01 per 31-gallon barrel for drinks with 4% alcohol content or less, and $6.14 otherwise. This was lower than all four states surrounding Texas, particularly Oklahoma, where beer exceeding 3.2% alcohol content was taxed at $12.49 per 31-gallon barrel, and New Mexico, which charged $12.71 per 31-gallon barrel.

7. Vermont
> Per capita consumption: 34.7 gallons
> Total consumption: 16,206,397 gallons (3rd lowest)
> Pct. change in consumption ’03-’11: 7.1% (the highest)
> Pct. binge drinkers: 18.5% (24th highest)
> Population density: 68.0/sq. mile (21st lowest)

While alcohol consumption declined in the vast majority of states between 2003 and 2011, alcohol consumption actually increased in Vermont by over 7% — more than any other state in the country. Meanwhile, shipments between 2003 and 2011 grew nearly 13%, the second-fastest growth rate in the country and significantly higher than the half-percent growth of shipments across the country. Although the state’s beer consumption per capita is higher than most, the sale of beer is also more restricted than most.

6. Wisconsin
> Per capita consumption:  36.2 gallons
> Total consumption: 149,651,260 gallons (12th highest)
> Pct. change in consumption ’03-’11: -6.9% (24th lowest)
> Pct. binge drinkers: 24.3% (the highest)
> Population density: 105.5/sq. mile (24th highest)

Wisconsin is home to the Miller Brewing Company and a host of microbreweries — the state has 112 breweries, more than all states except four. But along with the breweries, there are a fair share of imbibers. Nearly one in every four Wisconsinites is considered a binge drinker, while nearly one in 10 residents is considered a heavy drinker. Both of those figures are higher than in any other state in the U.S. In 2011, more than 67% of the state’s population had a drink in any given month, the highest rate in the country.