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The Top Drinking Cities in the U.S.

As we ring in the New Year this week, Americans will be tossing back a few adult beverages in celebration. While alcohol consumption certainly increases around holidays and other times of celebration, many Americans imbibe year-round. So where across this great land of ours are you most likely to find adults willing and able to raise a glass (or two) and where are you most likely to be surrounded by teetotalers? Experian Simmons has the answer.

Leveraging data from our SimmonsLOCAL study, we examined the drinking patterns of adults of legal drinking age in the 106 Designated Market Areas (DMAs) with populations of at least 500,000 adults age 21 and older.  We then ranked those markets by the number of alcoholic beverages consumed by the average adult during a typical month.

The chart below lists the DMAs that consume the most alcoholic beverages per capita in a typical month. First place goes to Boston, where the average adult of legal drinking age regularly kicks back 14.4 drinks a month. (Celebrations in Beantown are probably already underway.)

Rank DMA Average drinks per month
1 Boston 14.4
2 Austin 13.8
3 Providence-New Bedford 13.4
4 Madison 13.2
4 Hartford & New Haven 13.2
6 Philadelphia 13.1
7 Chicago 13
8 Denver 12.9
9 Tallahassee-Thomasville 12.8
9 Milwaukee 12.8
11 Minneapolis-St. Paul 12.6
11 West Palm Beach-Ft. Pierce 12.6
11 Seattle-Tacoma 12.6
11 Tucson (Sierra Vista) 12.6
15 Green Bay-Appleton 12.5
16 San Diego 12.4
16 Baltimore 12.4
16 Washington, DC 12.4
16 Albany-Schenectady-Troy 12.4
20 New Orleans 12.3
20 St. Louis 12.3
20 Colorado Springs-Pueblo 12.3
23 Burlington-Plattsburgh 12.2
23 Syracuse 12.2
23 Norfolk-Portsmouth-Newport News 12.2
23 Spokane 12.2
23 Portland-Auburn 12.2

Source: Experian Simmons

Adult residents of the markets listed below surely know how to have a good time-it’s just unlikely to include a cocktail. The chart below lists the DMAs that consume the fewest alcoholic beverages per capita in a typical month. Residents of Chattanooga consume only 6 alcoholic beverages per month, on average, making it the least imbibing market-and probably the one that feels the best the morning after a big gathering.

Rank DMA Average drinks per month
106 Chattanooga 6
105 Salt Lake City 7.2
105 Florence-Myrtle Beach 7.2
105 Charleston-Huntington 7.2
105 Tri-Cities, TN-VA 7.2
101 Knoxville 7.4
100 Lexington 7.9
99 Birmingham 8
98 Huntsville-Decatur 8.5
97 Nashville 8.9
97 Evansville 8.9
95 Paducah-Cape Girardeau-Harrisburg-Mt Vernon 9.1
94 Springfield, MO 9.2
94 Tulsa 9.2
94 Greenville-New Bern-Washington 9.2
91 Memphis 9.3
90 Greenville-Spartanburg-Asheville-Anderson 9.4
90 Jackson, MS 9.4
90 Wichita-Hutchinson Plus 9.4
86 Little Rock-Pine Bluff 9.5
86 Louisville 9.5
86 Ft. Smith-Fayetteville-Springdale-Rogers 9.5
83 Fresno-Visalia 9.6
82 Greensboro-High Point-Winston Salem 9.7
82 Roanoke-Lynchburg 9.7

Source: Experian Simmons

For more information on SimmonsLOCAL’s vivid reporting of consumer behaviors, attitudes, lifestyles and media consumption in 209 Designated Market Areas down to the ZIP code level, visit our website.