How Many Beers It Takes Americans in Every State to Feel Drunk

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How many beers does it take for you to feel drunk? If you answered 3.5, you are an average American. Any more, and you’re more like Arizonans and Michiganders, any less, and you’re more like Hawaiians and Idahoans.

That’s according to a new study called “How do Beer Tolerance Levels Vary by State?” produced by Alcohol.org, the research arm of American Addiction Centers, Inc., an addiction treatment service.

The survey, of more than 2,580 participants across all 50 states, asked respondents how many beers — in one sitting and at 4.5% alcohol by volume — it typically takes them to start feeling drunk. Results were averaged by the number of respondents in each state.

According to the survey, it takes 4.04 beers for an imbiber in Arizona to begin feeling inebriated, followed closely by 4.02 beers in Michigan. Next come Maine and Wisconsin (3.88 each) and Missouri (3.87).

While the majority of states report numbers between three and four beers, the lightweights are California (2.96), Montana (2.92), Arkansas (2.90), Idaho (2.75), and Hawaii (2.71).

The Alcohol.org survey also calculated what percentage of respondents in each state reported feeling drunk after a single beer. Here, Montana led the pack, with 38% of participants saying that a single brew made them a little tipsy, followed by Hawaii and Idaho with 32.7% each. A mere 11.5% of Maine drinkers, meanwhile, felt the effects of one beer. In North Dakota and Wisconsin, it was 11.8%.

We also considered the share of adults who drink excessively using data from County Health Rankings & Roadmaps, a Robert Wood Johnson Foundation and University of Wisconsin Population Health Institute joint program. The share of adults who drink excessively ranges from 11.8% in West Virginia to 26.2% in Wisconsin.

Of course, these percentages don’t reveal how many brews people actually down in various places. Here’s how much beer the average person drinks in every state.

“Drinking beer is often seen as a harmless, social activity,” notes the study, “and in many cases, it is just that.” It’s probably a good idea to keep track of how much you’re consuming, in any case — and as long as you’re drinking, you might as well enjoy one of America’s 40 most delicious beers.

Geography: Beers to feel drunk: Pop. drunk after 1 beer: Excessive drinking rate:
United States 3.45 21.2% 18.0%
Alabama 3.52 20.4% 14.2%
Alaska 3.62 14.0% 19.1%
Arizona 4.04 14.0% 17.3%
Arkansas 2.90 26.0% 15.9%
California 2.96 26.0% 17.8%
Colorado 3.70 12.0% 20.6%
Connecticut 3.74 17.0% 18.4%
Delaware 3.54 22.0% 18.4%
Florida 3.54 14.0% 17.5%
Georgia 3.22 27.5% 15.1%
Hawaii 2.71 32.7% 20.3%
Idaho 2.75 32.7% 17.4%
Illinois 3.63 19.6% 21.1%
Indiana 3.58 24.0% 18.6%
Iowa 3.48 14.0% 22.1%
Kansas 3.12 26.0% 17.4%
Kentucky 3.44 22.0% 15.8%
Louisiana 3.64 16.0% 18.5%
Maine 3.88 11.5% 20.5%
Maryland 3.58 26.0% 16.5%
Massachusetts 3.56 17.3% 20.1%
Michigan 4.02 12.0% 20.5%
Minnesota 3.67 21.6% 22.9%
Mississippi 3.42 24.0% 13.7%
Missouri 3.87 17.3% 19.5%
Montana 2.92 38.0% 20.7%
Nebraska 3.26 26.0% 21.1%
Nevada 3.38 26.0% 17.6%
New Hampshire 3.20 30.0% 20.1%
New Jersey 3.22 27.5% 17.1%
New Mexico 3.02 24.0% 16.6%
New York 3.22 26.0% 18.8%
North Carolina 3.68 20.0% 16.7%
North Dakota 3.29 11.8% 25.9%
Ohio 3.46 20.0% 19.1%
Oklahoma 3.56 20.0% 12.8%
Oregon 3.38 22.6% 18.5%
Pennsylvania 3.82 16.0% 20.5%
Rhode Island 3.64 14.0% 17.4%
South Carolina 3.48 24.0% 18.5%
South Dakota 3.75 17.6% 20.2%
Tennessee 2.98 30.0% 14.4%
Texas 3.37 19.2% 19.4%
Utah 3.84 17.6% 13.4%
Vermont 3.72 12.0% 20.6%
Virginia 3.54 18.0% 17.4%