All the world loves beer. It’s brewed commercially in about 160 countries around the globe, from Albania to Zimbabwe. It’s even made in nations with an alcohol-eschewing Muslim majority, like Egypt, Morocco, Syria, and Turkey.
Beer is the most widely consumed alcoholic beverage on the planet, in fact, and the third most popular drink of any kind, after water and tea. It is also almost certainly the oldest fermented beverage in the world. Chemical traces of beer dating back as early as 3500 B.C. have been found in Iran’s Zagros Mountains. Some authorities have even suggested that the cultivation of barley for beer production by the Sumerians around the same time represents the beginnings of agriculture, and hence of civilization itself.
Beer may be consumed in almost every corner of the globe, but what people are willing — or forced — to pay for it varies significantly from one place to another.
The banking and investment counseling site Expensivity recently published its World Beer Index 2021, tracking beer costs and consumption around the world. To arrive at the average cost of a bottle of beer in the capital cities of some 58 nations on six continents, researchers compared the prices of a typical 330 ml (about 11 ounce) container of beer on a local online supermarket site and in a hotel bar in each locality. Where possible, such well-known brands as Corona and Heineken were used. (Both are representatives of some of the world’s 15 most valuable alcohol companies.)
The study further computed each country’s per capita annual beer consumption and, by extension, how much each resident spends on beer every year. The most expensive place to buy beer, it turned out, was a small Middle Eastern country where only foreign visitors are allowed to purchase alcohol. The cheapest, on the other hand, was a large African nation.
Nobody spends more each year in total on beer than the Germans, while residents of Haiti spend less in a year per capita than a single bottle would cost in the aforementioned Middle Eastern country. Haitians also drink less beer than anybody else — four bottles annually per capita, compared to 468 bottles in the Czech Republic.
As for the U.S., we manage to down 282 brews apiece each year, and spend $1,338 to do so. Of course, consumption varies from place to place. These are the states drinking the most beer.
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