Wine gets more popular all the time in the U.S. and craft cocktails are everywhere (even in cans), but the most popular alcoholic beverage in America is beer. The category (including hard seltzers and flavored malt offerings like Twisted Tea) accounted for 54% of all retail alcohol purchases in 2022, adding up to sales of about $115 billion.
The Brewers Association counted some 9,709 U.S. breweries in operation last year, a 3.5% increase over 2021. We obviously need that many, because according to the Beer Institute, a national trade association, overall adult (over 21) consumption across the country is about 28.2 gallons per person every year, which breaks down to about 10 ounces a day – equivalent to about one six-pack a week. (These are the drunkest states in America.)
Consumption rates vary widely from state to state, however. The Beer Institute computes that North Dakotan adults quaff 45.8 gallons annually, while those in Utah – which has a large population of Mormons, who are not supposed to drink alcohol – manages a measly 20.2 gallons, followed by Connecticut drinkers at 22.1 gallons. (Here’s a listing of the best local beer from every state.)
Just as the amount of beer consumed varies, so does what the citizens of each state pay for it. To determine the average price of a 24-can or -bottle case of beer in every state, 24/7 Tempo reviewed a report on the subject by the Australia-based e-commerce site Alcohol Delivered.
The site collected prices for a 24-pack of both Bud Light (until recently the best-selling beer in America) and Miller Lite from retailers in up to 10 zip codes in each state. A mix of urban and rural zip codes was included to give as wide a representation as possible. The prices of both beers were added together, then divided by two and rounded to the nearest cent. The site adds “It’s important to note that the prices we collected only reflect the prices from the retailers and don’t include any additional taxes or fees, like recycling fees.” (For the sake of comparison, we added the relative cost of all items in each state, based on Regional Price Parity data from the U.S. Bureau of Economic Analysis.)
The upshot? If you’re a beer-lover in Alaska, open your wallet: There, a case costs an average of $33.62. On the other hand, the lucky people of Illinois don’t have to fork out more than $16.43.
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