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This Wisconsin city was ranked the drunkest in America... again.

According to a survey by InsiderMonkey, Milwaukee has an excessive drinking rate of 24.6 percent, the highest among cities in the U.S.A.
city of milwaukee
Posted at 10:59 AM, Aug 10, 2023

MILWAUKEE — Milwaukee and Wisconsin are yet again topping the lists for alcoholism in the U.S.

According to a survey by InsiderMonkey, Milwaukee has an excessive drinking rate of 24.6 percent, the highest among cities in the U.S.A.

Excessive alcohol use is described by the CDC as follows:

  • Binge drinking, defined as consuming 4 or more drinks on an occasion for a woman or 5 or more drinks on an occasion for a man.
  • Heavy drinking, defined as 8 or more drinks per week for a woman or 15 or more drinks per week for a man.
  • Any alcohol use by pregnant women or anyone younger than 21.

InsiderMonkey notes Wisconsin has one of the lowest alcohol tax rates in the country, leading to lower retail and wholesale prices.

Some of the drunkest counties in the country are located in America's Dairyland. The state has seven of the 10 U.S. cities with the highest alcohol consumption per capita ("for each person").

InsiderMonkey concludes Milwaukee.. "with its sprawling beer gardens.." is the drunkest city in America in 2023.

Milwaukee topped lists for excessive drinking in 2022 and 2021, too.

Per InsiderMoneky, the drunkest cities after "Brew City" are Minneapolis (Excessive Drinking Rate: 23.5%), Boston (Excessive Drinking Rate: 23.1%), Buffalo (Excessive Drinking Rate: 22.8%), Chicago (Excessive Drinking Rate: 22.7%), Pittsburgh (Excessive Drinking Rate: 22.5%), New Orleans (Excessive Drinking Rate: 21.9%), Sacramento (Excessive Drinking Rate: 21.6%), Portland (Excessive Drinking Rate: 21.4%) and Austin at #10 (Excessive Drinking Rate: 21.4%).

At least at the top of this particular survey, cities have one thing in common: harsh winters. But a sprinkling of warmer U.S. cities among the top 10 list might debunk a theory alcoholism is more prevalent in the colder states.

According to InsiderMonkey, "There is a substantial amount of evidence that suggests that any alcohol consumption, however moderate, can have negative health consequences. Even low levels of drinking can increase the risk of heart disease, high blood pressure, and even certain types of cancer. Understanding that there is no such thing as risk-free drinking, the Centers for Disease Control and Prevention – while not going so far as its Canadian counterpart – defines moderate drinking as 2 drinks or less per day for men and no more than one drink per day for women. Still, despite the well-publicized health risks, more than two-thirds of adult drinkers regularly exceed those levels."

Read InsiderMonkey's breakdown of their findings:

The Economic Cost of Excessive Drinking:

Excessive drinking cost the United States almost $250 billion in 2010 (Latest figures available by the CDC). Two of every $5 were paid by the government, and 75% of the cost was due to binge drinking – defined as consuming five or more drinks in a 2-hour period for men or four or more drinks for women. The median cost per state was $3.5 billion. Several evidence-based strategies can help reduce excessive drinking, including increasing alcohol excise taxes, limiting alcohol outlet density, and commercial host liability.

The Effects of Covid-19:

As the Covid-19 virus tightened its grip on the country in 2020, the hospitality industry took one of the biggest economic hits, but that didn’t mean it became harder to get a drink. With almost every state relaxing its alcohol laws in 2020 in an effort to keep local economies afloat, it was even easier to kick back with a drink after a bad day. All but three states gave liquor stores a lockdown exemption, with many classifying the business – along with grocery stores and pharmacies – as an essential service.

In the first few weeks of the lockdown, alcohol sales for off-premise locations jumped 54% and online alcohol sales had increased by 262% compared to sales data from the same week in 2019. From March to September 2020, there were $41.9 billion in liquor store sales, representing an increase of 20% from the same period the previous year.

Pharmaceutical Treatment:

Naltrexone is an FDA-approved drug used to treat alcohol use disorder and opioid dependence. One of the companies manufacturing naltrexone is Mallinckrodt plc (NYSE:MNK), which sells it under the brand name Depade. Although Mallinckrodt plc (NYSE:MNK)’s growing portfolio of specialty pharmaceuticals helped treat a variety of health conditions, the company got caught in an opioid controversy and agreed to pay $1.6 billion to settle thousands of lawsuits last year, over its role in the opioid crisis. The stock price of Mallinckrodt plc (NYSE:MNK) has plunged by over 80% this year.

Workplace Drinking Culture:

According to the Institute for Work & Health, employees at companies that most discouraged social drinking were 45% less likely to be heavy drinkers than those in workplaces with the most liberal attitudes to drinking, after taking into account other factors that influence drinking levels.

Salesforce, Inc. (NYSE:CRM) is a company that famously banned alcohol from in-office events back in 2016. Soberforce is an employee-led resource group within Salesforce, Inc. (NYSE:CRM) that was started with the goal to provide a community and connection for sober employees, support people with addiction issues and destigmatize addiction.

Soberforce holds regular virtual meetings and leads conversation threads on Slack, which is made available to all of 75,000 global employees of Salesforce, Inc. (NYSE:CRM).

If you want to check out which countries drink the most alcohol, please read Top 20 Alcohol Drinking Countries in the World.

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