China Now the World's Top Beer-Drinking Nation

Saturday, 23 Apr 2011 01:00 PM

By Martin Gould

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It must be a sign of the apocalypse. China has overtaken the United States as the world's leading beer-drinking nation.

After decades of being at the top, the US slipped to second place in the beer-drinking league, and China’s consumption is going up so fast, there is little chance Americans will catch them any time soon.

A report — ironically by the American Association of Wine Economists — found that in 1965, the US consumed 82 times as much beer as China. But by 2003 the Chinese were level, and they have streaked ahead in recent years, according to a report on The Daily Beast.

Researchers Liesbeth Colen and Johan Swinnen found that as people get richer they drink more beer, but at a certain income level they switch to other drinks such as wine and hard liquor.

“Beer consumption initially increases with rising incomes, but at higher levels of income beer consumption fall,” they wrote in their paper “Beer Drinking Nations: The Determinants of Global Beer Consumption.

The Chinese domination is mainly because of the vast number or people in the country. Per head, Americans still outdrink them by three and a half pints to one.

The report found that traditional beer drinking nations, Ireland and the Czech Republic lead the world in per capita beer consumption.

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