From happy hours to boozy brunches, people the world over like to unwind over a drink (or three). But the alcoholic beverage of choice that people drink varies by country. Let's review some of the data about how people get drunk around the world.
First off, below is a map of per capita alcohol consumption by country. The Right Hand corner of the map is basically where people drink the most alcohol.
Pure Alcohol Consumption (liters), per Capita. Source: Charts Bin
The top alcohol consumers per capita are actually found in Moldova, the small Eastern European republic east of Romania. The Moldovans drink 18 liters of the good stuff every year.
Despite being the largest red splotch on the map, Russia drinks the fourth-most per capita, behind Moldova, the Czech Republic, and Hungary. Overall, it looks like Europe is throbbing with alcohol lovers, while North Africa and the Middle East are relative teetotalers.
Alcohol comes in different forms, each of which aren’t equally loved around the world. For example, few beverages are as polarizing as beer - just ask a non-American their opinion about the taste of a Budweiser beer (you can get interesting answers asking Americans too).
Here’s a look at the top beer drinkers around the world:
Beer Consumption (liters), per Capita. Source: Wikipedia
The Czechs drink the most beer per capita, though perhaps Germany’s well-marketed beer festivals draw attention away from this fact. The Germans rank a distant second, followed closely by Austria and Ireland, home to your friendly neighborhood Guinness.
Meanwhile, the French (along with the Italians) have a famous love affair with a different fermented beverage:
Wine Consumption (liters), per Capita. Source: The Economist
The United States is the world’s biggest market for wine, but our per capita consumption pales in comparison to that of the chardonnay cognoscenti. However, Americans have been steadily drinking more and more wine over the past twenty years.
Despite proclamations of whiskey being the quintessential American spirit, we aren't its top drinker, though we are pretty close. The top honors would go to France:
Whiskey Consumption (in liters), per Capita. Source: Quartz
Surprisingly, the United Arab Emirates are among the top whiskey drinkers in the world. This can partly be attributed to the country’s growing population of non-Muslims and expats. Almost half of UAE’s population is non-Muslim, and 91% is foreign-born. And with a large number of multinational corporations setting up shop in Dubai and Abu Dhabi, there’s a strong expat drinking culture in this Middle Eastern country.
Of course, no set of graphs on alcohol would be complete without vodka:
Vodka Consumption (liters), per Capita. Source: The Economist
This graph visualizes Russia’s dominance of vodka consumption, both per capita and overall. This isn’t too surprising, given that a common Russian folklore is that a shot of vodka is considered a cure for the common cold.