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States that drink the most beer

Big Data Download

Preference and consumption of alcoholic beverages varies not only by person but by location. And the beer industry recently released figures outlining consumption by state.

The top five states for beer consumption per capita are North Dakota, New Hampshire, Montana, South Dakota and Wisconsin, according to the Beer Institute, a trade organization. North Dakota drank about 45.8 gallons of beer per resident 21 and older last year, the institute said. Per capita figures do not include residents under 21 years old.

Meanwhile the states that consume the least beer per capita are Utah, Connecticut, New Jersey, New York, Maryland and Kentucky, according to the institute. Utah residents drank about 20.2 gallons of beer on average last year, according to industry data.

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In some states, demographics can explain beer trends, said Bart Watson, chief economist at the Brewers Association, an industry group that represents more than 1,000 craft breweries.

Thanks to its oil and gas boom, "North Dakota has a lot of employed young males," Watson said. And Utah’s low beer consumption is related to its large portion of Mormon residents, who don't drink, as well as restrictive alcohol regulations, Watson told "Big Data Download."

Meanwhile, beer competes with other alcoholic beverages at bars, stores and restaurants across Connecticut, New York, New Jersey and Maryland, according to Watson.

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And while data from Yahoo! find that consumers using the company's search engine are usually researching brands such as Pabst Blue Ribbon, Foster's, Budweiser, Corona and Heineken, craft brews have been getting more popular.

"I think we're seeing a revolution in consumer demand,” Watson said. “Consumers are demanding more full-flavored beers for more occasions. And we've seen an explosion ... in the market sales, the volume produced and the number of craft breweries in the country."

More than 13.2 million barrels of beer were sold in the United States last year, up about 15 percent from 2011, according to the Brewers Association.

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And men drank most of it, according to industry data. Men drink about 72 percent of beer of all types, including craft brews, the association said.

Income level also affects craft consumption. About 59 percent of craft beer by volume is drunk by Americans with annual household income of at least $75,000, according to the industry. And on average, craft beer drinkers spend two more years in school than the general population, the data say.

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