You love the blog, so subscribe to the Beervana Podcast on iTunes or Soundcloud today!

Tuesday, February 22, 2011

Identifying the Most Beery Nations

The World Health Organization recently released their Global Status Report on Alcohol and Health 2011 report. It includes fascinating information on the total alcohol consumption of every country in the world, as well as breakdowns by type--liquor, beer, wine, and "other." Thumbing through the country profiles, it occurred to me that there are a few different ways to think about whether a country should be called a "beer country."

Take a couple contrasting examples. You might well say Algeria is a beer country: 80% of the alcohol there consumed is in the form of beer. France, of course, is a wine country--62%. Yet the statistics lie. Algerians consume .8 liters of beer per capita a year. In France, where only 17% of the alcohol consumed is beer, the French actually drink more beer per capita--2.3 liters. The difference, of course, is that the French like their booze and Algerians, chastely Muslim, do not. On the other hand, you could look at the total consumption of beer, which would put China on top, since they recently passed the US.

WHO puts out this report as a way of warning against the dangers of alcohol, and so they don't compile total stats, but I flipped through the charts and saw some surprising per-capita numbers. It won't shock you that the Czech Republic leads all comers, but I'll bet you wouldn't have guessed the number two country: that brewing giant Azerbaijan. Have a look. This may not be an exhaustive list--a lot of South American countries do pretty well--but I wanted to include some of those we think of as big beer countries--you'll see they're pretty far down the list. (Note: numbers listed are per-capita totals of pure alcohol in the form of beer, which is why they look so small.)
  1. Czech Republic 9.4 (57%)
  2. Azerbaijan: 9.2 (87%)
  3. Palau: 7.7 (77%)
  4. Ireland: 7.6 (53%)
  5. Poland: 7.5 (56%)
  6. Austria: 7.0 (53%)
  7. Germany: 6.8 (53%)
  8. Mexico: 6.6 (78%)
  9. Venezuela: 6.2 (75%)
  10. Belgium 6.2 (57%)
  11. UK: 5.8 (43%)
  12. Ecuador: 5.3 (56%)
  13. Canada: 5.2 (53%)
  14. Netherlands: 5.1 (50%)
  15. Brazil: 5.0 (54%)
  16. USA: 5.0 (53%)
>>. Australia: 4.6 (46%)
>>. China: 2.0 (34%)

Also of note: percentages represent the amount of beer consumed by a country. Shockingly, in famously beery Britain and Australia, beer can't even attract a majority. Hang your head down low, Britain. Your pubs are closing and you're drinking a lot of wine. (Probably French wine!)

No comments:

Post a Comment