The Surprising Truth about Which Countries Drink the Most

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Kristin Addis is a former investment banker who sold all of her belongings and bid California goodbye in favor of travelling solo throughout the world while searching for off-the-beaten path adventures. There’s almost nothing she won’t try and almost nowhere she won’t explore. You can find more of her musings at Be My Travel Muse. Connect with her on Twitter and Facebook

Who drinks the most alcohol in the world? The answer may surprise you.

It isn’t the Full Moon party revelers in Thailand, the keg stand-loving frat boys of the United States, or the beer-loving drinking champs in Australia, oh no, the list is actually rounded out completely by European countries and the former Soviet Union!

The following list was generated according to the findings of the World Health Organization, which bases their list on recorded pure alcohol consumption of those 15 years of age and older. This includes beer, wine, spirits, and other forms of alcohol…

1. Belarus

Alcohol per capita (APC) consumption: 17.5 liters

Belarus takes the top spot on the list, with vodka coming in as the most popular drink. According to the World Bank, Belarus is considered an upper income country, with males drinking a bit more than double what females drink. WHO reports that roughly 30% of males in the country abuse alcohol or have some sort of alcohol disorder.

2. Moldova

Alcohol per capita (APC) consumption: 16.8 liters

In contrast to Belarus, the Republic of Moldova has a more underdeveloped economy. Illegal alcohol is more common here than in most other countries on this list, in part due to large taxes levied on legal alcohol, put in place as a way to curb abuse.

3. Lithuania

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Alcohol per capita (APC) consumption: 15.4 liters

More women engage in binge drinking in Lithuania than in any other country in the world. Beer is the most popular drink, making up 46% of overall consumption, with spirits coming in second at 38%.

4. Russia

Alcohol per capita (APC) consumption: 15.1 liters

Russians love their Vodka, with spirits making up over 51% of consumption in the country. The only country to beat out Russia as far as those suffering alcohol-related disorders is Hungary, and consumption is expected to remain steady in the coming years.

5. Romania

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Alcohol per capita (APC) consumption: 14.4 liters

The youngsters in Romania are the heaviest drinkers, with around 40% of those aged 15-19 engaging in binge drinking. A popular traditional alcohol, called plinca or switka, is a distilled brandy of about 40% alcohol content made from apples, pears, and plums.

6. Ukraine

Alcohol per capita (APC) consumption: 13.9 liters

Spirits are the drink of choice in the Ukraine, making up almost half of consumption. Second only to the Republic of Moldova, illegal alcohol is consumed in excess here.

7. Andorra

Alcohol per capita (APC) consumption: 13.8 liters

Nestled between Spain and France and playing hosts to many tourists per year (with tourism serving as Andorra’s chief industry), Andorra holds this spot on the list due to a love of wine. Binge drinking is less common in Andorra than the other countries on this list, as is illegal alcohol consumption.

8. Hungary

Alcohol per capita (APC) consumption: 13.3 liters

Hungary has the largest percentage of the population suffering from alcohol-related disorders than any other contender on this list. Also notable is the lack of alcohol content labeling on alcoholic beverages.

9. Czech Republic

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Alcohol per capita (APC) consumption: 13 liters (tie)

Czech females drink more alcohol per capita than any other country on this list, and the country comes in at number three for binge drinking. This is blamed, in part, to lax laws regarding the sale and consumption of alcohol. The drink of choice here is beer.

10. Slovakia

Alcohol per capita (APC) consumption: 13 liters (tie)

The most popular alcohol in Slovakia is spirits. The WHO noted that this country has a higher instance of alcohol-related deaths, as well as consumption of alcohol meant for industrial use, than many of the other countries on this list.

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