This Wisconsin City Was Ranked The Drunkest In America

Milwaukee, renowned as the largest city in Wisconsin and a hotspot for beer enthusiasts, has retained its title as the drunkest city in the United States for the third consecutive year. According to a survey conducted by InsiderMonkey, Milwaukee registers an excessive drinking rate of 24.6 percent, surpassing all other cities in the country. This statistic implies that over one in four adults in Milwaukee engage in excessive alcohol consumption, a behavior linked to significant health and social repercussions.

What constitutes excessive drinking?

The Centers for Disease Control and Prevention (CDC) defines excessive drinking as any of the following:

  1. Binge drinking, which involves consuming four or more drinks on an occasion for women or five or more drinks for men.
  2. Heavy drinking, characterized by the consumption of eight or more drinks per week for women or 15 or more drinks per week for men.
  3. Any alcohol use by pregnant women or individuals younger than 21.

Excessive drinking escalates the risk of various chronic diseases, including heart disease, high blood pressure, liver ailments, and certain types of cancer. It can also impair judgment and coordination, leading to accidents, violence, and injuries. Additionally, it poses a threat to mental health, potentially causing depression, anxiety, and addiction.

Why is Milwaukee the drunkest city?

Milwaukee boasts a rich history of brewing and beer culture, stemming from the 19th century when German immigrants introduced their brewing skills and traditions to the city. Milwaukee is home to some of the world’s most renowned beer brands, such as Miller, Pabst, Schlitz, and Blatz. The city hosts numerous beer gardens, festivals, museums, and tours that celebrate this brewing heritage.

However, this cultural legacy may contribute to the high rate of excessive drinking in Milwaukee. InsiderMonkey notes that Wisconsin has one of the lowest alcohol tax rates in the nation, resulting in lower retail and wholesale prices, making alcohol more affordable and accessible to consumers. Furthermore, social norms and expectations in the city may encourage or normalize heavy drinking due to factors like peer pressure, stress relief, or celebratory occasions.

How does Milwaukee compare to other cities?

Milwaukee isn’t the sole Wisconsin city with a high rate of excessive drinking. In fact, Wisconsin is home to seven of the top 10 U.S. cities with the highest per capita alcohol consumption. These cities include Appleton, Oshkosh-Neenah, Green Bay, Madison, La Crosse-Onalaska, Eau Claire, and Wausau.

Outside of Wisconsin, other cities that rank in the top 10 list include Minneapolis, Boston, and Buffalo. Interestingly, harsh winters seem to be a common factor among these cities, though the presence of warmer U.S. cities in the list challenges the assumption that alcoholism is more prevalent in colder states.

What can be done to reduce excessive drinking?

Addressing excessive drinking is a multifaceted issue that necessitates a comprehensive and coordinated approach involving various stakeholders. Potential strategies to combat excessive drinking include:

  1. Increasing alcohol taxes and prices to discourage consumption and generate revenue for prevention and treatment programs.
  2. Regulating alcohol availability and accessibility by controlling the number, location, and operating hours of alcohol outlets.
  3. Enforcing laws and policies that prohibit underage drinking, impaired driving, and alcohol sales to intoxicated individuals.
  4. Promoting responsible drinking behaviors and norms through education, awareness campaigns, screening, and intervention programs.
  5. Providing support and treatment services for individuals with alcohol use disorders or those at risk of developing them.


Milwaukee is a city with a rich beer culture that draws in numerous visitors and residents. However, it also confronts the serious challenge of excessive drinking, impacting its health, safety, and overall quality of life. Recognizing this problem and implementing effective solutions can enable Milwaukee to strike a balance between its love for beer and its well-being and prosperity.

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