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Beer consumption in the United States

Mapping: beer consumption in the United States

Beer consumption spans nearly the entire globe and is a staple in much of the United States.

When stacked next to other alcoholic beverages, beer is America favorite drink choice, closely followed by wines and spirits. In fact, it is the fifth most consumed drink in the country, behind coffee, water, soft drinks and tea.

At the end of 2021, beer in the United States was a $94.1 billion industry. Apart from the massive multinational conglomerates, it is also driven by more than 9,000 breweries of various types.

This visualization, created by Victor Dépré of Hypnotic datamaps beer consumption in gallons per capita in the United States using data from Top Agency and the Beer Institute.

What is beer?

Beer is produced from the fermentation of a mixture of water, malt and yeast. It was first produced 12,000 years ago with the emergence of grain farming.

Today, the beer is made from several different malted cereals: wheat, corn, rice, oats and, most often, barley. Hops, a type of flower, are added for flavor, balancing malty sweetness with a bitter taste while keeping the beer fresh and providing a good amount of head.

US beer consumption by state

So which states drank the most beer and what was their favorite brand?

Annual consumption statistics are from the Beer Institute’s Brewer’s Almanac Reportwhile the favorite beer of choice was compiled by Data Agency Ranking of beers 2021 report, which is based on a combination of surveys combined with nationwide Google search analysis.

Beer consumption by state (2020) Annual gallons per capita Favorite beer
Alabama 29.1 Budweiser
Alaska 26.1
Arizona 27.0 Dos Equis
Arkansas 23.9 Budweiser
California 24.5 Budweiser
Colorado 28.1 Denver Beer Co
Connecticut 19.8 bud light
Delaware 27.9 Spiny dogfish head
District of Colombia 18.2
Florida 25.4 Stella
Georgia 23.0 Terrapine
Hawaii 26.7
Idaho 25.0 Budweiser
Illinois 25.9 goose island
Indiana 23.6 Light Miller
Iowa 31.0 Budweiser
Kansas 27.8 Coors Light
Kentucky 23.1 Budweiser
Louisiana 28.4 Abita
Maine 32.5 Budweiser
Maryland 19.7 Budweiser
Massachusetts 21.1 Budweiser
Michigan 23.6 Budweiser
Minnesota 27.1 Budweiser
Mississippi 31.6 lazy magnolia
Missouri 26.9 Budweiser
Montana 41.1 Budweiser
Nebraska 31.6 black betty from nebraska
Nevada 29.0 Coors Light
New Hampshire 41.5 Budweiser
New Jersey 20.0 Light Miller
New Mexico 27.7 La Cumbre
New York 20.2 Budweiser
North Carolina 25.8 bud light
North Dakota 37.5 Fargo
Ohio 25.5 Heineken
Oklahoma 26.8 Budweiser
Oregon 27.7 Budweiser
Pennsylvania 24.9 bud light
Rhode Island 20.1 Narragansett
Caroline from the south 32.5 Budweiser
South Dakota 37.3 Budweiser
Tennessee 24.2 Budweiser
Texas 31.9 lone star
Utah 20.0 Budweiser
Vermont 34.0 bud light
Virginia 24.2 Budweiser
Washington 23.7 bud light
West Virginia 27.8 Budweiser
Wisconsin 33.7 spotted cow
Wyoming 29.8 Snake River

New Hampshire took the top spot in 2020, beating out other states with 41.5 gallons of beer consumed annually per capita. On the other hand, the least consuming state was Maryland which consumed only 19.7 gallons per capita, or about half that.

The most popular beer?

Despite the growing trend of craft brewing in some states, the most popular beer across the country was Anheuser-Busch’s Budweiser, which took the top spot in 23 states.

Which state has the most breweries?

Each state also has a varying number of breweries operating within it, and there are many different types.

Large breweries, including those run by some of the largest companies in the world, are also referred to as macrobreweries. They are generally defined as having an annual production of more than 6 million barrels of beer, compared to craft breweries and other types of microbreweries which have a lower annual production.

Craft breweries are also typically independently owned and, both through positioning and general perception, have come to be associated with specialty and originality, adding unique and interesting ingredients to traditional beers.

Breweries by State (2020) # of breweries
Alabama 70
Alaska 68
Arizona 170
Arkansas 73
California 1,466
Colorado 565
Connecticut 163
Delaware 49
District of Colombia 17
Florida 505
Georgia 191
Hawaii 46
Idaho 116
Illinois 406
Indiana 283
Iowa 151
Kansas 83
Kentucky 119
Louisiana 67
Maine 201
Maryland 177
Massachusetts 304
Michigan 611
Minnesota 291
Mississippi 26
Missouri 215
Montana 130
Nebraska 74
Nevada 73
New Hampshire 133
New Jersey 188
New Mexico 154
New York 680
North Carolina 514
North Dakota 31
Ohio four hundred ninety seven
Oklahoma 91
Oregon 431
Pennsylvania 642
Rhode Island 50
Caroline from the south 135
South Dakota 59
Tennessee 196
Texas 532
Utah 54
Vermont 106
Virginia 425
Washington 633
West Virginia 37
Wisconsin 364
Wyoming 52

California has the most breweries in the country, more than double any other state, at 1,466.

On another side, Mississippi has the fewest breweries, with the Beer Institute’s latest 2021 almanac listing just 26 statewide.

Beer sales during the pandemic

Since the start of the COVID-19 pandemic in 2020, everyday items have seen massive sales spikes across the globe.

As lockdowns were put in place and people were forced to stay home, household items like toilet paper, soap and pasta started disappearing from store shelves at an alarming rate. Beer was no exception and sales continued to rise, up 8.9% in the United States since 2020.

This is a worrying fact for many researchers, as it could be a strong indicator that alcohol has been used as a coping mechanism against the anxiety and isolation felt during the pandemic. This increase could be the result of increased consumption, but may also indicate an increase in inventory.

Whatever the reason beer sales have increased, it will be interesting to see which direction the trend swings as COVID-19 restrictions lift and attempt to return to normal in the coming months.

This article was published as part of Visual Capitalist’s Creator Program, which features data-driven visuals from some of our favorite creators from around the world.