Alcohol is an important ingredient for social gatherings in many cultures. When used in moderation it may also give some health benefits like in the case of red wine.
However, more often it is also one of the most abused substance that can cause physical dependency and adverse health effects on the individuals abusing it. Alcohol abuse is also the leading cause of many socioeconomic issues in many families.
Each year abuse of alcohol results in 3.3 million deaths worldwide, that’s roughly 6 human lives lost per second!
Reasons for alcohol addiction
Getting addicted to alcohol can be the results of a combination of various risk factors such as:
- Surrounded by family or friends who use alcohol on a regular basis.
- Certain cultures may have very high tolerance to alcohol use, which can encourage alcoholism.
- Physiological factors like depression, anxiety, loneness, low self-esteem and peer pressure.
- Binge drinking during weekend parties or consuming drinks on a daily basis or at regular intervals.
- Parents or siblings who are alcoholics
Worldwide on an average, people who drink alcohol consume about 17 liters of pure alcohol ever year.
Average beer consists of 4-5% pure alcohol, while wine consists of 11-16% and an average hard alcohol drink consists of 40% pure alcohol.
It is important to note that this list considers only the total pure alcohol consumption, therefore many countries may consume more volume of alcohol in form of beer at lesser concertation, but still rank much lower on this list.
So, here is a list of 15 major countries with the highest total consumption of pure alcohol slightly adjusted excluding smaller countries in between.
Last on our list is Belgium, officially known as Kingdom of Belgium with a population of 11.2 million. Belgium is located in western Europe and is one of the founding member of European Union (EU).
The city of Brussels in Belgium is considered as the unofficial capital of EU which consist of 28 member states and a total population of 508 million people.
Beer is preferred choice of alcoholic drink for Belgians at 49.2%, followed by wine at 36.3% and hard alcohol at 14.5%.
At 14th position on our list is Spain, officially known as Kingdom of Spain with a population of 46.4 million. Spain is located in southwestern Europe and is a member of European Union (EU).
Like the Belgians, Spanish people love beer with overall consumption nearing 50%, followed by hard alcohol at 30% and wine at 20%.
Located in north-western Europe the United Kingdom of Great Britain and Northern Ireland commonly known as United Kingdom (UK) with a population of 64,7 million is next on our list of countries that love to keep the spirits high. UK is also a member of the European Union (EU).
Brits prefers to keep the consumption of beer, wine and hard alcohols in an almost perfect balance with beer consumption around 36.9%, wine at 33.8% and hard alcohol at 29.3%.
At the 12th position is Germany located in west-central Europe, officially known as Federal Republic of Germany with a population of 81.5 million is one of the founding member of European Union (EU) and is considered as the economic engine and powerhouse of EU.
Yes! You guessed it, Germans love their beer and are arguably the best beer makers in the world.
Like everything that comes from Germany, quality is a top priority and you can be sure that you are drinking one of the finest beer when drinking German made beer.
Beer consumption is at 53.6%, followed by wine at 27.8% and hard alcohols at 18.6%.
With a population of 66,6 million, the wine and cheese loving nation of France officially known as French Republic located in western Europe is 11th in our list. France is also one of the founding member of European Union (EU).
Data suggests that the French indeed love their wine and champagne with total wine consumption consisting more than half of the total alcohol consumption in the country at 56.4%, followed by hard alcohol at 23.1% and beer at 18.8%.
French paradox: An interesting observation was made during the late 1980s in regard to their diet high in saturated fats and comparatively low incidence of heart diseases among the French population.
Scientists are puzzled by this observation and are suggesting that either the saturated fat theory maybe incorrect altogether or other factors like high intake of red wine might be the reason.
With a population of 24 million, Australia officially known as Commonwealth of Australia is 10th on our list. Data suggests that Aussies prefer beer with 44% of alcohol in the form of beers with wine consumption flowing closely behind at 36.7%.
They also seem to be going pretty light on hard alcohol consumption at a mere 12.5% of the total recorded alcohol consumption.
Located in eastern Asia with a population of 51.5 million, South Korea officially known as Republic of Korea is 9th on our list.
Known for world famous brands like Samsung and LG, South Korea is one of the major economic power houses of the east.
South Koreans like to party hard and keep the spirits high by consuming majority of their alcohol consumption in the form of hard alcohol at 73.4%, followed by beer at 25% and wine at a mere 1.6%
Located in east-central Europe with a population of 38.5 million, Poland officially known as Republic of Poland is 8th on our list. Poland is also a member of European Union (EU).
Polish people have long claimed that hard alcohol drink Vodka originated in Poland while the Russians argue that vodka is their own invention which seems conveniently true because the rest of world indeed believe that vodka originated from Russia.
The name “Vodka” is derived from the name for water in Russian and Polish symbolizing the clear water like looking spirit. One thing is for sure true, vodka originated in eastern Europe.
Like the Germans next door to the west, Poles like beer with its total consumption being around 55.1%, followed by hard alcohol at 35.5% and wine at 9.3%.
With a population of 10.4 million, southwest European country of Portugal officially known as Portuguese Republic is seventh on our list. Portugal is also a member of European Union (EU).
Like the French, the Portuguese love their wine which consists of slightly more than half of their total consumption of alcohol.
Beer is their second favorite at 30.8% and like the Aussies they too like to go light on hard alcohol with just 10.9%.
With a population of 10.5 million, central European country of Czech Republic is sixth on our list. Formerly known as Czechoslovakia, the country split into Czech Republic and Slovakia in 1993. Czech Republic is also a member of European Union (EU).
Like their German neighbors in the west, Czechs love beer which consists almost half of their total alcohol consumption at 53.5%. Hard alcohol and wine consists of 26% and 20.5 respectively.
With a population of 9.9 million, central European country of Hungary is fifth on our list. Hungary is also a member of European Union (EU).
Like the Brits, Hungarians like to keep everything in balance with beer consumption at 36.3%, wine and hard alcohol at 29.4% and 34.3% respectively.
With a population of 44.4 million, east European country of Ukraine is fourth on our list. Ukraine is the largest country in Europe and was part of the Soviet Union till it gained independence in 1991.
Ukrainians belong to the east Slavic culture that includes the Russians and Belarussians. Ukrainians love to take the spirits to a new level with hard alcohol being a favorite at 50.6%, followed by beer at 40.5% and wine at 9%.
With a population of 19.5 million, southeast European country of Romania is third on our list. Romania is also a member of European Union (EU).
Data suggests that Romanians love beer with 50% of total alcohol consumption in the form of beer, followed by wine at 28.9% and hard alcohol at 21.1%.
As we are nearing to the top of our list, Romania seems like an odd contestant on a list where the spirits are getting higher.
Oh! yes, Romania is here because of the total quantity of pure alcohol consumed in various forms like beer, wine and hard drinks.
With a population of 144 million, northern Eurasian country of Russia officially known as the Russian Federation is second on our list. Russia is the largest country in the world spanning over 11 time zones and was the leading member of the Soviet Union.
It can get very cold in Russia during the winters and like the popular stereotype about Russia, the Russians have a clear preference for hard alcohol.
Hard alcohol consists of 51% of total alcohol consumption followed by beer at 37.6% and wine at 11.4%.
The crown of this list is taken by a little know landlocked country in eastern Europe called Belarus officially known as Republic of Belarus that gained independence from the Soviet Union in 1991.
Culturally, the country belongs to the east Slavic group which consist of Russia and Ukraine. Many believe Belarus is the modern version of Soviet Union.
Very little is known about this mysterious country located in the heart of Europe, but what is known may surprise many people. The cities of Belarus are very clean and are well organized.
Salaries are very low when compared to western standards, but the state subsidizes many basic amenities like housing, electricity, heating, water etc.
Citizens also get free access to high quality higher education and healthcare system. The people are friendly, law abiding and the cities are considered as one of the safest in eastern Europe.
The country also has a strong base in IT with lots of talented engineers. Popular game World of Tanks (Wargaming) and Viber App have their roots in Belarus.
Some people in the west claim Belarus is the North Korea of Europe because political freedom is almost absent in Belarus.
With a population of 9.5 million, Belarusians clearly sets the record when it comes to preference for hard alcohol and the total volume of alcohol consumption.
A whopping 77.5% of alcohol consumed is in the form of hard alcohol, followed by 17.3% beer and a mere 5.2% wine.
Side note: Other countries not mentioned in this list include Moldova, Lithuania, Andorra, Slovakia, Serbia, Grenada, Latvia, Finland, Croatia, Ireland, Luxembourg, Slovenia, Denmark and Bulgaria.
We can also observe that beer is a favorite among majority of counties on our list closely followed by hard alcohol. Majority of countries on this list are also European countries.