These States Consume the Most Alcohol

Alcohol can be a part of a relaxing night or spending time with friends. Alcohol in moderation can help you live longer and might even ward off cognitive diseases like Alzheimer’s and Parkinson’s. However, drinking too much definitely has some negative side effects. And some states consume much more alcohol than others. We broke down the 10 states that consume the most* — and the ones that made the list might surprise you.

a group of people clinking beer bottles together

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10. South Dakota

  • Total alcohol consumed per capita: 2.87 gallons

South Dakota takes the No. 10 spot. The state consumes 2.87 gallons per capita total. On average, about 1.46 gallons of beer, 0.31 gallons of wine, and 1.1 gallons of spirits are consumed. However, the state has a very low median income at just $29,401. And statistically, drinking habits can be influenced by how much money you make.

9. Idaho

  • Total alcohol consumed per capita: 2.92 gallons

At No. 9, Idaho residents consume about 2.92 gallons of alcohol per capita. Broken down, it comes out to 0.92 gallons of beer, 1.19 gallons of wine, and 0.81 gallons of spirits. Idaho residents appear to be much bigger wine fans than South Dakota. Idaho has been building up its wine industry greatly in the past few years. According to Forbes, more and more people have been swapping out their potato plants for grape vines. Experts suggest Idaho’s wine industry could soon be on par with California’s.

8. Alaska

  • Total alcohol consumed per capita: 2.94 gallons

Alaska slides just past Idaho for overall consumption. The state consumes 1.15 gallons of beer, 0.56 gallons of wine, and 1.23 gallons of spirits per capita. Of these first three states, Alaska ranks the highest in spirits consumption. It ranks in the top 10 for alcohol consumption, but it’s all the way down at No. 50 for healthcare access and No. 40 for education in the country.

7. Wisconsin

  • Total alcohol consumed per capita: 2.98 gallons

Wisconsin approaches three gallons per capita in alcohol consumption, with 1.36 gallons of beer, 0.4 gallons of wine, and 1.22 gallons of spirits. The state is mostly known for its cheese, but it ranks 14th in the nation for breweries, too. In recent years, the state has upped its craft beer game and now has more than 160 breweries throughout. However, at only 0.4 gallons of wine, the state doesn’t appear to be hopping on the winery bandwagon.

6. Vermont

  • Total alcohol consumed per capita: 3.08 gallons

Vermont is the first state in the top 10 to crack the three-gallon mark. The state drinks 1.56 gallons of beer, 0.79 gallons of wine, and 0.73 gallons of spirits per capita. It’s another state well known for its cheese, but it doesn’t look like many of its residents pair wine with their craft cheeses. The state’s median income is just $29,787, which is nearly half of what the rest of the country makes, so that could influence their alcohol consumption.

5. Montana

  • Total alcohol consumed per capita: 3.11 gallons

Montana might be known for its gold, but many of residents could drink you under the table. The state consumes 1.62 gallons of beer, 0.52 gallons of wine, and 0.98 gallons of spirits per capita. In 2015, the state saw a spike in new breweries after a steadier increase since the early 2000s. Montana only ranks 24th in the nation for breweries, but with so few people, its 75+ breweries is a pretty decent amount.

4. North Dakota

  • Total alcohol consumed per capita: 3.26 gallons

North Dakota ranks much higher than its southern counterpart. It beats South Dakota by 0.39 gallons. The state consumes 1.64 gallons of beer, 0.34 gallons of wine, and 1.29 gallons of spirits. The state consumes plenty of beer yet only has 12 breweries throughout. But North Dakota is also one of the least populated states with fewer than 800,000 residents, which may explain the lack of breweries.

3. Nevada

  • Total alcohol consumed per capita: 3.46 gallons

Las Vegas might have something to do with the state’s high alcohol consumption. On average, the state consumes 1.41 gallons of beer, 0.61 gallons of wine, and 1.44 gallons of spirits. Of all the states in the top 10 so far, Nevada has the highest spirits consumption.

2. Delaware

  • Total alcohol consumed per capita: 3.72 gallons

Delaware ranks in the top 3 in the nation for high alcohol consumption. The state drinks 1.2 gallons of beer, 0.73 gallons of wine, and 1.79 gallons of spirits. It greatly surpasses Nevada in the spirits category. However, Delaware does have quite a few corn fields, so perhaps they have a strong vodka industry.

1. New Hampshire

  • Total alcohol consumed per capita: 4.74 gallons

New Hampshire beats second-place Delaware by more than an entire gallon per capita. The state consumes 1.87 gallons of beer, 0.88 gallons of wine, and a whopping 2.0 gallons of spirits. Rumor has it New Hampshire also sells handles of vodka for a mere $8 or $9, which could be feeding the state’s spirits obsession. It only has about 60 craft breweries, but we’re not sure how many liquor stores.

*All alcohol and income statistics courtesy of U.S. News & World Report.

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