Which State Drinks the Most Beer?

Beer industry data from 2020 found Americans drank almost 26 gallons of beer per adult age 21 or over on average

A group of friends toast with beer glasses at a bar
Beer consumption hasn't actually increased because of Covid
The Good Brigade / Getty Images

Thanks to changes in legislation passed by Congress in 2017 to assist small brewers, the number of breweries in the United States has grown by nearly 400% over the past decade and Americans can now select from more than 20,000 beer brands when they have a hankering for a cold one.

In New Hampshire, based on 2020 data collected by Top Agency and The Beer Institute, the majority of state residents reach for a Budweiser. It’s fitting that Granite Staters reach for the King of Beers as New Hampshirites actually lead the nation in consumption of beer per capita with the average adult in the state age 21+ drinking 41.5 gallons annually.

The data, which found that of-age Americans drank almost 26 gallons of beer on average in 2020, determined Montana came in second in consumption of beer per capita at 41.1 gallons per adult annually followed by North Dakota (37.5), South Dakota (37.3) and Vermont (34). Those states nearly doubled the consumption rates of the lowest-drinking states Maryland (19.7 gallons per capita), Connecticut (19.8), New Jersey (20), Utah (20) and Rhode Island (20.1).

Here’s a visualization of the data:

With the third summer of the pandemic rapidly approaching, there’s a widely held assumption that Americans are drinking more to help deal with the stress. However, new research conducted by Echelon Insights on behalf of the Beer Institute indicates that’s not actually the case and that a majority of people reported drinking about the same amount of beer with approximately the same frequency since the onset of the pandemic.

“Many people think that over the course of the pandemic people have been sitting at home drinking more beer than ever before and that’s simply not the case,” said Beer Institute President and CEO Jim McGreevy. “Although many news reports erroneously stated that beer consumption has increased during quarantine, the perception that people are drinking more is false. The survey results match the dramatic decline we’ve seen in retail beer sales, especially since many gathering places where draft beer is served, such as stadiums, concert venues, bars, and restaurants, had to close or were limited in their operational capacity due to the COVID-19 pandemic.”

Given McGreevy’s job, it’s probably worth taking those findings with a grain of salt. In New Hampshire, they’ll take ’em with an ice-cold Bud.


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