What Is the World Getting Drunk On?

By Bryan Le 06/18/13

This graphic shows which nations hit which hard liquors the hardest, fueling some stereotypes and confounding others.

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A lot of vodka goes down in Russia.
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Vodka, rum, Scotch whisky, gin and tequila are the world's most imbibed spirits. And The Economist has compiled a handy series of graphs to show who's getting drunk on what, where. During 2012, the world drank 4.44 billion liters of vodka, 1.47 billion liters of rum, 860 million liters of Scotch, 440 million liters of gin and 230 million liters of tequila. The United States seems to hit the bottle pretty hard—coming in second in total (though not per-capita) consumption of the first four of these spirits. And more tequila is consumed in the US than any other country, even beating out Mexico, where the agave-based spirit was born—although Mexicans still drink comfortably more of it per person: .63 liters in 2012. You may not have heard that gin is hugely popular in the Philippines, where the average person drinks more of it than anywhere else on this list. Meanwhile, the French turn out to be big Scotch drinkers. But you'll be less surprised to hear that per-capita rum consumption in Cuba is ahead of the pack, at 4.9 liters per person in 2012. And you probably already knew that the world's top consumer of vodka is Russia—Russians drank vodka at a staggering average rate of 13.9 liters per citizen in 2012, accounting for not far off half of total global consumption. Despite its massive alcohol market, China is notably missing from these charts, because its national liquor, baijiu, accounts for 99.5% of sales there. Click the graph below to see the bigger picture:

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Bryan Le grew up in the 90's, so the Internet is practically his third parent. This combined with a love for journalism led him to The Fix. When he isn't fulfilling his duties as Editorial Coordinator, he's obsessing over fancy keyboards he can't justify buying. Find Bryan on LinkedIn or Twitter

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