Which Country Drinks The Most Beer?

The scenery has changed often throughout the decades for beer consumption in the U.S. From saloons and speakeasies to corner and dive bars, and now trendy microbreweries dominating the beer scene, America has a rich history with beer. Given this, many might assume Americans consume more beer than other countries worldwide, but they would be wrong.

Which nation drinks the most beer can be evaluated by a couple of different metrics, but if you're measuring per capita, then the Czech Republic drinks the most beer globally. According to data from Kirin Holdings, the average Czech drank an extraordinary 184 liters of beer during 2021. To put that number in perspective, the runner-up for per capita beer consumption was Austria, with the average Austrian drinking a mere 98 liters the same year. The U.S. doesn't even crack the top ten, ranking at number 17 globally, with the average American drinking 72 liters of beer annually.

Like the United States, the Czech Republic also has a rich history with beer, or pivo, as it's known locally. Early breweries in the Czech Republic were set in monasteries as far back as the ninth century. As the Czech Republic evolved so did its tradition of making beer, though to this day, they adhere to the Beer Purity Law, known as the Reinheitsgebot. This law makes it illegal to make pivo (Czech beer) with anything other than malted barley, hops, and water.

Beer is part of the culture in the Czech Republic

The Czech Republic is home to well-known Bohemian beer brands many enjoy worldwide, including Pilsner Urquell, which simply means "Pilsner Original Source." Created in Pilsen in 1842, this bright, hoppy lager derived its name from the city in which it was born, where it's still beloved by locals on a night out at the pub. Another famed Czech beer, Staropramen, is made by one of the oldest breweries in the Czech Republic, Staropramen Brewery. Its famed pilsner is a light lager with a mild malt flavor and a slight bitterness at the finish.

Throughout the year, the Czech Republic hosts several beer bashes, like the Prague Beer Festival, where brewers from around the world gather with attendees for tastings, workshops, and musical performances, all in celebration of beer. In Prague, beer spas allow people so inclined to have a soak in a beer bath containing hops, malt, and yeast. You can enjoy top-of-the-line Czech beer on tap while enjoying your soak, and afterward, you can get a relaxing, professional massage.

Drinking beer with others is a social norm in the Czech Republic and has been for much of its history. This culture of social drinking has flourished and evolved and helps explain why the Czech Republic hosts so many beer lovers. However, other nations rank high on the list of countries that drink the most beer when measured by overall volume consumed.

Other countries that rank high on the list

Viewed in terms of overall consumption, China ranks highest on the list of countries that guzzle the most beer, with the U.S. taking the number two spot. China is also the world's largest beer producer, again followed by the U.S.. Tsingtao, a Chinese beer, is possibly the most recognized beer in the world as it's sold in 62 countries worldwide, though in the U.S. you aren't likely to find it outside of an Asian restaurant. 

Stateside, New Hampshire and California post the highest per capita and overall consumption numbers, respectively. If you're looking for some of the biggest beer scenes in the U.S., Vermont would be worth checking out as it hosts the most craft breweries per capita in the nation. California once again tops the charts for most craft breweries when measured by overall number.

Beer enthusiasts traveling the States should give California and Vermont a look, but when traveling abroad, the Czech Republic is a must-see destination for aficionados. Not only are you sure to run across like-minded beer admirers while there, but you'll be taking part in a rich beer culture whose origin dates back centuries. While enjoying a crisp pilsner on a sunny afternoon in the Czech Republic, you'll be doing more than enjoying a simple brew, you'll be carrying on a historical tradition, one delightful sip at a time.