Healthcare Economy

States That Drink the Most Beer

5. Wisconsin
> Per capita consumption: 36.2 gallons
> Total consumption: 4.9 million barrels (12th highest)
> Pct. binge drinkers: 24.3% (the highest)
> Number of breweries: 132 (7th highest)

More than 24% of Wisconsin’s adult population were considered binge drinkers as of 2011, a higher percentage than any other state. Wisconsin had 132 breweries in the state in 2012, more than all but six other states. This was up from 112 in 2010. The state levied a tax of just 6 cents per gallon of beer, lower than any other state except for Wyoming. According to the Beer Institute, the beer industry contributed $8.6 billion of economic output in 2012, comprising 3.3% of the state’s GDP. This contribution, relative to the size of the state economy, was higher than all other states except for Missouri and Colorado.

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4. South Dakota
> Per capita consumption: 38.9 gallons
> Total consumption: 743,000 barrels (6th lowest)
> Pct. binge drinkers: 22.1% (6th highest)
> Number of breweries: 10 (9th lowest)

South Dakota had a relatively low number of heavy drinkers, but it had a high number of binge drinkers. As of 2011, 22.1% of the state’s adults surveyed by the CDC reported engaging in binge drinking. South Dakota is one of the least populous states in the country and only had 10 breweries as of 2012. That number is a big jump, considering it had just six breweries in 2010. The state’s tax of 27 cents per gallon of beer as of June 2012 was lower than those of Minnesota, North Dakota and Nebraska, three of its main bordering states. However, to the west, Montana’s and Wyoming’s taxes were even lower.

3. Montana
> Per capita consumption: 41.0 gallons
> Total consumption: 979,000 barrels (8th lowest)
> Pct. binge drinkers: 20.8% (9th highest)
> Number of breweries: 31 (25th lowest)

Montana was just one of three states in 2012 where adult residents consumed more than 40 gallons of beer per capita. An estimated 20.8% of the state’s adults were considered binge drinkers in 2011, the ninth-highest proportion of all states. In addition, 7.6% of the state’s adults were considered heavy drinkers, also the ninth highest in the country. The beer industry in Montana contributed about 1.6% to the state’s GDP, among the highest third of all states. The beer industry directly supported more than 5,000 jobs in 2012, with 4,000 of them in retail.

2. New Hampshire
> Per capita consumption: 43.9 gallons
> Total consumption: 1.4 million barrels (14th lowest)
> Pct. binge drinkers: 18.7% (21st highest)
> Number of breweries: 21 (20th highest)

New Hampshire residents over 21 years of age drank an average of 43.9 gallons of beer per person in 2012, or nearly 16 gallons more than the average American in that time. However, New Hampshire drinkers are fairly responsible, with just 18.7% of adults classified as binge drinkers by the CDC in 2011, roughly in line with the 18.3% of adults nationwide. While there is a tax on manufacturers and wholesalers, Granite State residents do not pay a direct tax on bottles of beer. This is a fact that has led people from Massachusetts and Maine to cross state lines to purchase beer. The New Hampshire House of Representatives rejected a plan to hike taxes on wholesalers and brewers by a resounding vote of 308 to 35, and Governor Maggie Hassan promised to veto the bill, according to the Nashua Telegraph.

1. North Dakota
> Per capita consumption: 45.8 gallons
> Total consumption: 753,000 barrels (7th lowest)
> Pct. binge drinkers: 23.8% (2nd highest)
> Number of breweries: 4 (2nd lowest)

No state consumed more beer per resident of legal drinking age in 2012 than North Dakota. This is despite the fact that the beer industry is not very large in the state. Just four breweries were operating within the state lines as of 2012, fewer than any other state except for Mississippi. The beer industry comprised just 1.1% of North Dakota’s GDP in 2012, among the bottom third of all states. The percentage of binge drinkers in the state was 23.8% as of 2011, higher than any other state except for Wisconsin.

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