For many nations, alcohol consumption is part of the culture. In countries like France, known for their vineyards, fine wine is part of everyday life. Anyone who has ever attended Octoberfest knowns Germany is often synonymous with beer consumption. In other parts of the world, the absence of alcohol is rooted in their religious beliefs.
European nations top the list of countries with the most alcohol consumption and typically, men consume more alcohol than women. While alcohol is often enjoyed as part of cultural events and celebrations, it is often linked to health-related issues and premature death. We’ve put together a list of the top nations consuming the most alcohol worldwide according to Alcohol.org.
Belarus is a landlocked country located in Eastern Europe. This nation tops the list of countries consuming the most alcohol world-wide. Citizens of Belarus consume 14.4 liters of alcohol per person, per year. That translates to 48 handles of vodka per person, per year. Though the Ministry of Health of Belarus officially denies these findings, the government has put in place regulations to combat the growing problem. The restrictions include limiting production, availability, and advertisement of alcohol. There is talk of raising the legal age to 21 years old.
Lithuania is located in the Baltic region of Europe. It sits on the southeastern shore of the Baltic Sea, just east of Sweden and Denmark. With increased levels of alcohol-related issues since the 1990s, it’s no wonder Lithuania is the second-highest country for alcohol consumption. Lithuania is also attempting to combat the drinks issue within their country with new policies regarding increased taxation, limited availability, and a decrease in advertising.
Grenada is located in the West Indies in the Caribbean Sea. It consists of the Island of Grenada in addition to six smaller islands. With an alcohol consumption of 11.9 liters per person, Grenada is not only the third-highest ranked country in the world for alcohol consumption but has the highest rates in the Americas.
4. Czech Republic
The Czech Republic is located in central Europe and is bordered by Austria, Germany, Poland, and Slovakia. Most of the Czech Republic’s annual 11.8 liters of alcohol consumption is in the form of beer. From pubs, eateries, and homes, the Czech Republic is proud of its beer though wine and spirits are also consumed in abundance. Purchasing and drinking alcohol in public places is permitted from the age of 18. Like many countries, the Czech Republic is increasing taxation in an effort to combat the country’s alcohol consumption issue.
France is a top travel destination and known worldwide for its vibrant wine-production. Alcohol consumption is part of the France culture. Wine, along with other alcoholic beverages, are often consumed as part of lunch and dinner. With its widespread use of alcohol, France is among the heaviest consumers of alcohol.
Russia is the largest country in the world by area. This transcontinental county spans Eastern Europe and Northern Asia. Alcoholism is a major problem in this country with an excessive amount of citizens experiencing alcohol abuse and disorders. Alcohol-related issues are the leading cause of death in Russia. Many restrictions and regulations have been put into place in order to help solve these problems.
Iceland is a nordic island country in the North Atlantic. It is the most sparsely populated country in Europe. It’s listed as the seventh-highest ranked country for alcohol consumption, but from 1915 to 1989, beer was illegal in the country. During that time, to circumvent the prohibition, locals used low-alcohol Pilsner beer – which was legal at the time – and combined with Vodka to create a drink called Bjorliki, a popular drink to this day. Much of the alcohol consumption in Iceland today is hard liquor and craft beer, though in the rural areas moonshine is made. Moonshine is illegal to sell but legal to make for one’s own consumption.
Luxembourg is a country surrounded by Belgium, Germany, and France. It is the smallest country in the world. It sells the most alcohol per capita in Europe though the numbers are difficult to track due to Luxembourg’s close proximity to other countries. Wine is a popular beverage as is beer in many of the pubs and restaurants.
Officially named the Slovak Republic, it is a landlocked nation in central Europe. Though ranked ninth on the list, Slovakia is known to have residents as young as 15 experiencing alcohol-related disorders. Many cultural traditions in Slovakia are centered around alcohol. It is easily accessible and affordable due to its low tax which contributes to the growing alcohol consumption issues with the country.
Germany is located in central and western Europe. It sits between the Baltic and the North Sea and has the Alps to its south. Only a small percentage of the population abstains from drinking alcohol. Drinking, especially beer, is a big part of Germany's culture. Drinking in public and drinking during the day are common practices within the country.