China Surpasses U.S. As World’s Largest Beer Consumer

Via Andrew Sullivan who passes along this study (pdf), and a chart:

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Doug Mataconis
About Doug Mataconis
Doug Mataconis held a B.A. in Political Science from Rutgers University and J.D. from George Mason University School of Law. He joined the staff of OTB in May 2010 and contributed a staggering 16,483 posts before his retirement in January 2020. He passed far too young in July 2021.


  1. john personna says:

    The history of Chinese beer is around nine thousand years, with recent archaeological findings showing that Chinese villagers were brewing beer type alcoholic drinks as far back as 7000 BC on small and individual scale made with rice, honey, and grape and hawthorn fruits, with the production process / methods similar to that of ancient Egypt and Mesopotamia.[citation needed] The ancient Chinese beer was important in ancestral worship, funeral and other rituals of Xia, Shang and Zhou dynasties, and the beer was called as Lao Li (醪醴 in oracle bone script). However, after Han Dynasty, Chinese beer lost its prominence to huangjiu [“Yellow wine”], which was the case for the next two millennia. Modern beer brewing was not introduced into China until the end of 19th century when Russia first set up a brewery in Harbin, with another three following (also in Harbin), set up by Germany, Czechoslovakia and Russia respectively.[1]”

  2. Neil Hudelson says:

    I’ll do my part to try to push the U.S.’s line back above China’s. We’ll be number 1 again!

  3. Jay Tea says:

    Australia is demanding a recount. Or, rather, they would if they weren’t under the table…


  4. TG Chicago says:

    Please note that the figures in the graph are not per capita.

    From the study:

    Per capita beer consumption is still the highest in Western and Central Europe. The “world champions beer drinking” are the Irish and the Czech with more than 160 liter per capita – much more than any other country. Austrians, Germans, Belgians and British consumers also drink 100 liters per capita or more. The highest consumption in non-European countries is in Australia (89 l/cap) and the US (86 l/cap). Per capita consumption in other major beer markets is considerably less: 63 l/cap in Russia, 40 l/cap in Brazil, and 24 l/cap in China. Per capita consumption was less than 1 liter in India in 2005.

    So per capita, China has a ways to go before they approach the US. And the US has a ways to go before we approach the Irish or Czech.