There are so many things that we, as American drinkers, can learn from other countries—whether it’s trying new spirits coming from far flung lands, visiting some of the wonderful places to drink and relax abroad or exploring the many crazy, creative ways to cure a hangover. Giving due respect to our drinking brothers and sisters around the globe is especially important considering that many of them drink more than us—a whole lot more. According to the most recent data from the World Health Organization, the United States doesn’t even rank in the Top 10 in alcohol consumption—or even the top 30, for that matter.
The Top 10 Booziest Countries in the World
In fact, the highest consumers of alcohol are all in Europe. Check out the infographic below to find out who ranks among the booziest countries in the world.
Top 10 Booziest Countries (by Liters Consumed per Capita)
There’s no “I” in booze. National drinking is a national effort, so it’s only fair that smaller countries should earn respect for going harder per capita than their more populous peers. No matter how you break it down, Europeans—especially Eastern Europeans—drink more than anyone else. Across the world, data was collected from some nations more recently than others (Estonia was last polled back in 2010), but even those that might have slipped from the most recent numbers are likely still power players on the international drinking contest stage. Here are the top 10 drinking countries in the world, listed in order of liters consumed per capita:
#1 Lithuania — 15.19 liters
#2 Estonia — 14.97 liters (as of 2010)
#3 Belarus — 13.94 liters
#4 Czechia — 12.68 liters
#5 Belgium — 12.6 liters
#6 Austria — 12.32 liters
#7 Croatia — 12.14 liters
#8 Bulgaria — 12.03 liters
#9 France — 11.5 liters
#10 Luxembourg — 11.12 liters
The United States
For all America’s talk about bourbon, its contribution to the compendium of classics and its great institutions of drink—as a whole, the country’s statistics on the global list of top drinkers actually pale in comparison to its European counterparts. The U.S. came in at No. 35, consuming a mere 8.82 liters per capita. Get your head in the game, America, and go make another cocktail.
Top Consumer of Hard Liquor: Belarus
After Belarus took home the overall drinking title in 2011—at a whopping 17.3 liters per person—the country’s per capita drinking fell significantly. But Belarusians can take pride in the fact that they still consume more hard liquor than any other country in the form of vodka, even outpacing big brother Russia to the east.
Top Consumer of Wine: France
Though France ranks lower in overall imbibing, French drinkers represent their national drink hard. Vin flows freely throughout the country, resulting in an impressive 6.4 liters per capita, probably enjoyed alongside a delightful spread of cheese and croissants.
Top Consumer of Beer: Equatorial Guinea
A surprise dark horse contender for top beer consumer, the tiny nation of Equatorial Guinea on the western coast of Central Africa downs copious steins of beer—a hefty 9.1 liters per capita, according to data from 2013.
Top Consumer of “Other” Spirits: Uganda
The “other” category of the WHO report contains a broad range of alcohol not covered under the usual categories. Spirits like Korean soju and low-ABV alternative wines like Japanese sake are lumped together with much stranger brews, like Uganda’s waragi, a moonshine that most closely resembles gin. Though commonly made with boring old millet, waragi can be distilled from many different bases, similar to vodka. In Uganda, it’s made from bananas—and the Ugandans love it, consuming 9.28 liters per capita in 2011 and making the country Africa’s undisputed drinking capital.