Special Report

States That Drink the Most Beer

10. Iowa
> Per capita consumption: 33.2 gallons
> Alcohol intake per capita (2012): 2.55 gallons (23rd highest)
> Pct. binge drinkers: 21.7% (6th highest)
> Total brewers (2012): 38

Like most of the country, Iowa residents have been drinking less beer than they did in 2009, when they consumed slightly more than 36 gallons of beer per drinking-age adult. By 2013, consumption had declined to just over 33 gallons. Iowans, though, still drink more than most Americans. While beer consumption had declined, consumption of other forms of alcohol had increased. Iowa adults drank 59.6% — nearly a third of a gallon — more spirits in 2012 than they did 10 years before, a greater increase than in all but a few other states. Overall, alcohol intake in Iowa rose by 13.3%, among the highest increases in the nation. The state’s relatively high binge drinking rate may be behind the increased alcohol consumption. More than one in five legal-age Iowa residents reported binge drinking in 2012, among the highest rates nationwide.

9. Nebraska
> Per capita consumption: 34.2 gallons
> Alcohol intake per capita (2012): 2.69 gallons (16th highest)
> Pct. binge drinkers: 22.1% (3rd highest)
> Total brewers (2012): 19

Like most of the nation, beer consumption in Nebraska has fallen in recent years. Consumption of other forms of alcohol has been on the rise. Drinking-age Nebraskans’ intake of hard alcohol rose by 39% in 2012, compared to 2002, among the largest such increases nationwide. This amounted to an additional one-fourth of a gallon of pure alcohol for each drinking-age adult. State residents were also among the most likely to binge drink, as 22.1% of adults reported consuming four or more drinks in one occasion in 2012, which was more than in all but two other states. The CDC has associated binge drinking with a variety of health problems. Nebraska residents, however, are among the nation’s healthiest, according to a recent Gallup poll.

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8. Maine
> Per capita consumption: 34.8 gallons
> Alcohol intake per capita (2012): 2.86 gallons (10th highest)
> Pct. binge drinkers: 17.7% (17th highest)
> Total brewers (2012): 47

Beer is exceptionally popular in Maine despite the $0.35 per gallon excise tax in the state, among the higher alcohol tax rates in the country. While alcohol intake from beer consumption fell 8.6% between 2002 and 2012 across the nation, Maine’s intake from beer increased 11% during that time, nearly the largest increase nationwide. Last year, beer consumption amounted to nearly 35 gallons per drinking-age adult in Maine. One explanation for Maine’s high beer consumption could be its low population density, which is often linked to higher substance abuse rates. Maine residents were also more likely than Americans overall to binge drink on a regular basis…

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