Standout stat: No last call
Oh, Nevada. Sweet, beautiful, free-thinking Nevada. Bless you. Bless your fourth-overall alcohol-drinking (3.27 gallons per), your five underage exemptions, and your sorta-surprising 1.1 craft breweries per 100,000 residents. But most of all, bless you for legislating into existence a place where we can order a Courvoisier up with a twist at 6:30am while smoking an unfiltered cigarette and playing Pai Gow poker under harsh fluorescent lights. Bless you for it all.
Standout stat: Over $1 billion economic impact of craft beer
For every 100,000 Washingtonians who think Black Sheep was an unfair portrayal of their fair state, there are four craft breweries pumping out suds to take the edge off. Wineries? Second only to California. Washington would've gone higher but for its pedestrian alcohol consumption: 2.25 gallons per capita, the lowest of any state in the top 10.
Standout stat: 1 bar per 1,877 residents
Milwaukee used to be a spiritual homeland of blue-collar brew, but these days Wisco is all about premium stuff, like New Glarus & Leinenkugel. High-end or low, this is state full of craft breweries (2.2 per 100,000!) and hard-drinking Cheeseheads who average 3 gallons of alcohol each year. Plus, there used to be an urban legend that Miller Park’s taps were fueled by a beer pipe that ran directly from the brewery. An urban legend we will perpetuate, right here. Miller Park’s taps are fueled by a beer pipe that runs directly from the brewery!
Standout stat: 6.2 craft breweries per 100,000 residents
In most of our columns, Vermont had barely anything going for it (except for per-capita consumption, where it places seventh). But then, we hit breweries. When you think about how small Vermont is compared Oregon -- the overall leader in craft breweries per 100,000 -- it's mind-blowing that the Green Mountain State is just a 10th of a point away from winning the category outright. Magic Hat, Otter Creek, Harpoon, and Long Trail are VT-based or -produced labels with strong regional distribution, but the harder-to-get prize is Alchemist's Heady Topper, a chrome-canned double IPA so coveted there's an actual black market for it. Well done, Vermont. Well done indeed.
Standout stat: 1 bar per 1,658 residents
North Dakota's next-door neighbor is nipping at its heels in the bars-per-drinker category, and Montanans, like North Dakotans, can flat-out drink -- they pound more alcohol each year than 44 states. The Big Sky State's big advantage is its craft breweries: 5.3 per 100,000.
Standout stat: 5am last call (in some areas)
Seward's Folly aside, the 49th State is a promised land for the serious drinker. It's got plenty of breweries, residents drink more alcohol than 90% of the country, and a last call that would make even Manhattan yawn.
Standout stat: 4.7 craft breweries per 100,000
CO is a beast. It ranks 10th in wineries, fourth in breweries, and is in the top-five craft spirits producers. It's tied for the second-highest number of underage exemptions in the entire country. It's top-10 in consumption, which is pretty impressive, given the mean elevation here is the US' highest, and drinking in thin air makes you tipsy quicker. Hell, in some early measurements, we thought Colorado was a virtual lock for No. 1. But then...
Standout stat: 6.3 craft breweries per 100,000
... Oregon came along. It should be noted that our entire editorial staff (except for Kryza, who lives in Portland and likes to tell people about it) was actively rooting against Big O in this ranking. It leads any booze-related national conversation on the strength of its unassailably dense beer scene, but OR's also third in wineries, fifth in distilleries, and 13th in bars per capita. Oh, did we mention craft beer and wine alone account for $4.6 billion in economic impact each year, and Oregonians drink 2.65 gallons of booze? Because it does, and they do. Basically, it's a big, boozy bully, and we wanted to take it down a peg or several. But the numbers don't lie -- The Beaver State is America's Booziest.