Do you know how much Americans drink in comparison with the rest of the world? If you thought we drank a lot, you’re in for a surprise.
The US was ranked #49 in terms of alcohol consumption.* Which means out of a total of 196 countries, 48 countries came before the US in terms of being the booziest country! Eastern Europe officially takes the gold, silver, AND bronze for drinking. Moldova, Belarus, and Lithuania are the top three booziest countries, ranked respectively 1, 2, and 3 Russia takes 4th place afterward (no surprise there).
Check out this interactive map to see where all the countries are ranked. The US, according to VoucherCloud, consumes 9 liters of pure alcohol per person. Moldova, ranked #1 on the other hand, consumes an average of 17.4 liters of alcohol per person. That’s almost double!
As a disclaimer, the study looks at pure alcohol consumption. Before you jump to conclusions, the study doesn’t assume that each person is consuming 100% ethanol, but looks at the volume of ethanol consumption. So for example, a 750ml bottle of wine that has 13% alcohol would equate to 97.5ml of pure alcohol.
Why do some countries drink more
There may be some cultural influences when it comes to drinking patterns and consumption. In European countries, drinking is more of a cultural institution that’s been passed down from generations. It may be viewed more as a tradition vs. as a way to end the work day. Additionally, countries that have colder environments might end up consuming more alcohol to “warm up” the bodies from the cold.
As an interesting observation, gender and economic status also seem to play a role in the consumption amount. Men with a lower socioeconomic status are more likely to drink more than those with a higher status. The inverse is true for women.
Surprisingly boozy countries
Slovakia – Surprisingly, the tiny country of Slovakia ranks #11 on the boozy list! In Slovakia, hosts will continuously serve you more drinks as a symbol of generosity. According to Euromonitor, the alcoholic drinks market is increasing in Slovakia. However, they have a zero tolerance for drinking and driving.
South Korea – Ranked #1 for the Asian countries. It’s becoming more popular knowledge that South Koreans love to drink. In particular, soju – a fermented rice liquor that has an average of 20% alcohol by volume, accounts for 97% of their liquor consumption. South Koreans tend to build bonds with friends and colleagues with a shot of soju. If their liquor was stronger, they’d probably shoot up the list!
*The Organization for Economic Co-operation and Development (OECD) defines alcohol consumption as “annual sales of pure alcohol in liters per person aged 15 years and over”.