Top 10 Countries Drink the Most per Capita

The consumption of alcohol is a practice that is almost as old as human civilization itself. Historical records indicate that alcohol was made and consumed in many of the world’s great civilizations, including ancient Egypt, Greece, India, Mesopotamia, and China. Today, the consumption of alcoholic beverages is integral to socialization and culture in many countries, especially in Europe.

In fact, 9 out of 10 countries with the highest per capita consumption of alcohol are in Europe. Uganda, located in Africa, is the only non-European country that counts itself among the leaders of per capita alcohol consumption.

Top Alcohol Consuming Countries

Rank Country Liters of pure alcohol consumed per capita per year

1

Czechia

14.3

2

Latvia

13.2

3

Moldova

12.9

4

Germany

12.8

5

Lithuania

12.8

6

Ireland

12.7

7

Spain

12.7

8

Bulgaria

12.5

9

Uganda

12.5

10

Luxembourg

12.4

High Consumption Of Alcohol In Europe

Alcohol consumption czech
Friends drinking alcohol at a restaurant in a train station in Prague, Czech Republic. Editorial credit: paulzhuk / Shutterstock.com

The people in European countries with high levels of alcohol consumption tend to view the substance with particular importance. For instance, in Czechia, which leads the world in per capita alcohol consumption, the consumption of alcohol, particularly beer, is viewed as good for the body. Indeed, there is a Czech proverb that says, “Beer makes beautiful bodies.” It is no wonder, then, that the beer industry is considered part of the Czechs’ national heritage. The Czechs also drink a lot of alcohol for historical reasons. When the Czechs lived under communist rule, drinking beer was one of the only social activities that was legal.

Germany Oktoberfest
People celebrating Oktoberfest in Munich, Germany.  Editorial credit: anandoart / Shutterstock.com

People in other European countries that are high on the list when it comes to per capita alcohol consumption also view the substance with high regard. In Germany, for example, beer is synonymous with German culture. In fact, the Germans have a holiday entirely dedicated to the consumption of beer: Oktoberfest. The Irish, who are fifth on the list of countries with the most alcohol consumption per capita, also view alcohol with the same fervor as the Germans. The Irish pub is a cultural institution, as is the now world-famous beer brewed in Ireland known as Guinness.

There are other factors that are not related to socio-cultural practices in Europe that account for the high consumption of alcohol on the continent compared to other parts of the world. One factor is that many Europeans generally tend to view alcohol with a more liberal, casual attitude than people in other countries such as the United States and Canada. For example, whereas Canadian and American parents tend to want to keep alcohol out of the hands of their young children, European parents are not hesitant to introduce alcohol to their children at a young age. In Germany, for instance, a person can drink alcoholic beverages at the age of 16, before that person can drive a car or vote.

Irish pub
A group of Irish musicians playing traditional Irish instruments in an Irish pub in Lismore, Ireland. Editorial credit: Rolf G Wackenberg / Shutterstock.com

In many parts of Europe, alcohol is simply part of the daily routine, and not meant to be consumed to excess. Some countries in Europe, however, do have a high incidence of binge drinking, or drinking for the purpose of becoming intoxicated. According to the World Health Organization (WHO), binge drinking is particularly common among the adult populations of Germany, Czechia, Luxembourg, and the Baltic States, all of which are on the list of ten countries that consume the most alcohol per capita.

Still, a country does not have to have a high incidence of binge drinking to be ranked among the ten countries that consume the most alcohol per capita. In Spain, for example, people drink alcohol in large quantities often because it is a staple during meals. In fact, it is customary in several European countries to enjoy an alcoholic beverage with certain types of foods that are consumed as part of a country’s culture. In Czechia, for instance, beer routinely goes with a traditional Czech meal that includes roasted pork, cabbage and Czech dumplings.

Alcohol Consumption In Uganda

Alcohol in Uganda
A liquor store in Jinja, Uganda. Editorial credit: The Road Provides / Shutterstock.com

There is only one country on the list of ten countries that consume the most alcohol per capita that is not in Europe. That is the country of Uganda, located in Eastern Africa. Uganda’s love affair with alcohol is mainly a result of the illegal production of hard liquor, commonly known as moonshine. The production of illegal alcohol is a major source of household income in the country, where a good income is hard to attain legally. But it comes at a cost. The consumption of unregulated alcohol in Uganda has been tied to a greater incidence of poverty in the country, not to mention adverse effects on people’s health.

Indeed, alcohol is commonly associated with socio-economic distress and health issues. In Europe, however, the substance seems to be viewed more positively, as part of a country’s customs and traditions. In some of Europe’s countries, it is almost obligatory for someone having a meal to enjoy a glass of beer, wine or some other alcoholic beverage along with it. Thus, a person who does not enjoy alcohol may have a hard time fitting into society if that society is in a European country that ranks among the top 10 countries in alcohol consumption per capita.

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