Sometimes when you're looking at a list of the best-of and worst-of something, the best place to be is right in the middle. There's no shame in occasionally being average is there?

In a new ranking of the places in America that consume the most and least alcohol per capita, you don't get much more middle-of-the-road than South Dakota.

The Mount Rushmore State checks in at number 26 overall with an average of 2.37 gallons of alcohol consumed per capita each year.

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But a deeper dive into the numbers reveals a bit of a surprise.

South Dakota is one of the five least-populated states in America, but the other four (Wyoming, Vermont, Alaska, and North Dakota) all drink more. Even more shocking, Vermont and North Dakota are among the biggest drinkers in the country.

South Dakota averages 2.37 gallons per year, which seems impressive for the fourth-smallest state ... until you find out the three states that are smaller all drink more.


  1. Utah
  2. West Virginia
  3. Arkansas
  4. Oklahoma
  5. Georgia
  6. Kansas
  7. Kentucky
  8. Alabama
  9. Ohio
  10. Maryland


  1. New Hampshire
  2. Washington DC
  3. Nevada
  4. North Dakota
  5. Montana
  6. Vermont
  7. Idaho
  8. Wisconsin
  9. Colorado
  10. Delaware

A recent story on Yahoo! quotes stats from the National Institute on Alcohol Abuse and Alcoholism, that show Americans drank 7.8 billion gallons of alcohol.

The breakdown:

  • 6.3 billion gallons of beer
  • 900 million gallons of wine
  • 570 million gallons of hard liquor and spirits

Per capita, that translates to 2.35 gallons per person or slightly more than 500 drinks a year.

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