Beer Popularity by State

Beer Popularity by StateThere’s no denying the popularity of beer. In fact, watch any sporting event and be inundated with beer commercials. So let’s look at beer popularity by state.

Craft beer sales are increasing and this segment of the brewing industry is shoring up beer’s overall market share. (See Craft Beer Growth for more information.) Whether it’s a craft beer or mainstream brew, about one third of the U.S. population (99 million Americans of legal drinking age) consumed an average of one beer per day, according to’s “Which states drink the most (and least) beer?

The Beer Institute ranked consumption by state based on the shipment of malt beverages and the number of residents 21 years old or older.

Leading States in Beer Consumption

Based on the location of some of the country’s largest brewers, you’d think Wisconsin would lead the list; however, despite that, Wisconsin places fifth on the list with 36.2 gallons of beer per capita per year.

The state with the highest per capita consumption? North Dakota. Really? Yes. Thanks to the oil and gas industry boom and employment of young men (a leading consumption demographic), per capita consumption is 45.8 gallons. Unfortunately, North Dakota is also very high on the list of percentage of binge drinkers, ranking second behind Wisconsin.

New Hampshire, Montana, and South Dakota round out the top five states leading the way in beer consumption.

Least Beer-consuming States

Based on strict alcohol laws and high percentage of Mormon residents, it’s no surprise that Utah leads the list of least beer consumption per capita.

Lesser populated states (e.g. the Dakotas and Montana) drove the numbers in favor of per capita beer consumption, and conversely, densely populated states drove the numbers in the opposite direction with Connecticut, New Jersey, and New York following Utah with the least per capita beer consumption. Maryland rounded out the top five states with the least beer consumption per person.

States with the Most Breweries

The Brewers Association counts companies when counting breweries across the country, but the Beer Institute counts each working brewery, according to Brookston Beer Bulletin’s “Beer Institute Counts 3,699 American Breweries.” The overall increase from 2012 to 2013 was 948 additional active permitted breweries.

Ironically, California, which ranked 44th on the list of per capita consumption, led its list with over 500 breweries in 2013. Washington placed second with less than half that amount: 251 breweries. Colorado (217 breweries), Oregon (208 breweries), and Michigan (188 breweries) rounded out the top five.

Mississippi has the fewest breweries with six (although that’s double the number it had the previous year), and per capita-consumption winner, North Dakota, ties with West Virginia for the second fewest breweries at nine. It’s no surprise that based on geographic size, the District of Columbia and Delaware round out the top five states with the fewest breweries with 11 and 12, respectively. That said, like Mississippi, the number of breweries in D.C. almost doubled from 2012 to 2013.

Beer plays a large part in the economy and continues to be a popular choice, whether you measure beer popularity by consumption or the increasing number of breweries across the country.