New Hampshire by the gallon

Beer Institute study ranks Granite State No. 2 state for beer consumption per capita

By Bittany Schaefer
On September 27, 2013

Contrary to their appearance, students walking around on Saturday nights with their backpacks probably aren't headed to the library. Beer, rather than study materials, is more likely to fill their bags. 

It's no secret that University of New Hampshire students drink beer on many occasions, but the student body's beer consumption may have had an influence on New Hampshire's status in a national study.

A study released by the Beer Institute showed that the Granite State is second in the nation in beer consumption per capita. New Hampshire's ranking dropped after holding the top spot in 2011.

According to the Beer Institute's website, the organization's intentions are "to represent the beer industry before Congress, state legislatures and public forums across the country. It is committed to developing sound public policy that focuses on community involvement and personal responsibility."

While the state didn't rank at the very top, New Hampshire beer drinkers were still pretty thirsty last year, each drinking on average 43.9 gallons of beer per year, beating the previous record of 43 gallons the year before.

In comparison, Maine drank an average of 34 gallons of beer, while North Dakota took the lead over New Hampshire this year, averaging 45.8 gallons of beer. 

After asking many legal beer drinkers at UNH about their reactions to New Hampshire's No. 2 slot, there were mixed opinions from students.

"I'm not really surprised, there's not much to do here," Mike Marinelli, a senior, said. "For Cinco de Mayo, there was a good campus environment with a lot of beer bonding."

On average, Marinelli said he spends about $60 on beer per month, with his top choice being Shipyard's Pumpkinhead.

"Honestly, I'm shocked," John Milbank, another senior, said. "I thought western states would be higher, like California. I'm surprised with New Hampshire."

Milbank described a usual trip to the Lee Marketplace Plaza.

"On any given Thursday when I pull into the plaza, whether people are coming from the liquor store or Market Basket, people are carrying alcohol, the main beverage of choice being beer."

A local supplier to many students is the Campus Convenience store, located on Main Street. Binod Adhikari, one of the employees, said he was surprised about the No. 2 ranking. 

"We do sell a lot of beer, but I didn't think that much," Adhikari said. "In a week we sell about 75 30-racks of beer, with Bud Light being the most popular." 

Beer is the top product sold throughout the store, with Fridays and Saturdays being the busiest. 

It's not surprising to see students drinking a beer or two around campus; these days, drinking beer is often seen as an American custom. But New Hampshirites have taken this beyond average amounts of consumption, posing a serious question: How much beer is too much?

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