The World’s Biggest Drinkers

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Charles Dibdin once said, “Trust me, there’s nothing like drinking. So pleasant this side of the grave; it keeps the unhappy from thinking and makes even the valiant more brave.”

That is certainly how the 10 countries on this list must feel.

Remember that these are the 10 countries that consume the most in terms of pure alcohol. Some countries not represented here would be if they didn’t focus all their efforts on beer. (I’m thinking squarely of the “Wallabies” and their beloved “tinnies” here.)

Here are the 10 countries where the folks drink more than any others:

10. Italy: 8.0 liters per capita per year
Italy is one of the biggest wine-producing and wine-drinking countries in the world. Italians innocently drink socially and with food, but it all adds up.

9. Russia: 9.29 liters per capita per year
Last year, the Russian government finally classified beer as an alcoholic beverage. Until last year, Russians considered beer’s alcohol content insignificant. I guess that is what happens when you drink vodka with breakfast.

8. Australia: 9.8 liters per capita per year
As I mentioned above, you would think that Australia would rank higher on this list. However, drinking liters upon liters of 4% alcohol beer only gets you so far, I guess.

7. Finland: 9.9 liters per capita per year
Given the darkness and cold weather that folks in this part of the world endure, who could blame them for imbibing? Note, though, that the Finns drink more alcohol than those in other Nordic countries.

6. England: 10.4 liters per capita per year
England has a culture of “once a week, lets drink until we can’t walk.” This “booze culture” has propelled them to sixth place worldwide on this list. Previously, bars in England had to close at 11 p.m. Now the country has a new 24-hour drinking law (to fall in-line with the rest of the EU) that enables all-day intake.

5. Germany: 10.5 liters per capita per year
Fifty-three percent of the alcohol consumption in this country is beer. Alcohol is relatively inexpensive because national and local brews are plentiful and economical.

4. Denmark: 11.5 liters per capita per year
Denmark, which has the most lax access to alcohol in Scandinavia, unsurprisingly, also has the highest alcohol consumption among teenagers. It has been said that “alcohol is the fabric that holds Danish society together.” This is because Danes are famously uptight and tight-lipped. Hence, a little alcohol is necessary for anyone to let his guard down and loosen up.

3. Czech Republic: 11.8 liters per capita per year
The country has a world-famous beer-brewing and -consuming history. The best-known export brands are Pilsner Urquell (Plzeňský Prazdroj), Budweiser Budvar (Budějovický Budvar) and Staropramen (freely translateable as “Oldspring”).

2. France: 14.1 liters per capita per year
Champagne, Burgundy, Bordeaux, Rhone, the Loire Valley; like Italy, France is one of the world’s major wine hubs. They take their time and drink slowly over conversation. These hours of sophisticated, cultural debates fueled by the fruit of the vine have compelled this country to second place on the list.

1. Ireland: 14.2 liters per capita per year
Irishman Oscar Wilde once said, “Working is the curse of the drinking class.”
According to a study, 48% of Irishmen binge drink at least once a week, compared with 40% in England and 9% in France. And, of course, the Irish drink causally and socially, too. Additionally, although the Irish love beer, harder stuff such as whiskey is just as popular.
For these reasons, Ireland takes the number-one spot. It’s not a stereotype. The Irish are officially the world’s biggest drinkers.

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About Author

Denis Foynes

Denis Foynes was born in New York City to Irish parents in 1991. When he was 8, his family returned to Celtic Tiger Ireland. Denis has an International Politics degree from Aberystwyth University in Wales. After completing university, he decided to leave crisis Ireland and relocate to Panama.