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The Country That Consumes The Most Alcohol Worldwide

Group of people drinking beer
Group of people drinking beer - Nicolas Micolani/Getty Images

Whether you have a glass of wine with dinner to unwind after a long day or you indulge in the bottomless mimosa deal at your favorite brunch spot, drinking is very much a part of adult social culture in America. But surprisingly, alcohol consumption habits in the United States don't even come close to the highest reported average. In 2019, the World Health Organization calculated the "liters of pure alcohol [consumed] per person of 15 years of age or older," to determine which country drinks the most worldwide.

Sidebar: You're not seeing things, we really did say ages 15 and up. The legal drinking age in certain countries is much younger than the 21 years that Americans are expected to abide by. Burkina Faso, a country in Africa, actually allows 13-year-olds to celebrate entering their teenage years with a drink, while the Central African Republic makes them wait until age 15 before their first sip of alcohol. Although these places have widened their alcohol-consuming audience by allowing drinking at an early age, they are still not even close to consuming the most alcohol worldwide.

To find the countries with the highest recorded consumption, you'll need to travel to Europe. Per World Population Review, data collected by WHO reported that the top six countries with the highest drinking average all reside in Europe, with the number one spot going to a small country just west of Russia: Latvia.

Read more: 10 Of The Healthiest Beers You Can Drink

Looking To Get Tipsy On Vacation? Book A Trip To Latvia

Women clinking glasses of mixed drinks
Women clinking glasses of mixed drinks - Nicolas Micolani/Getty Images

To compare just how much alcohol each country consumes, WHO calculated the number of liters each individual of legal drinking age consumed per year, taking into consideration all types of "pure alcohol," including the alcoholic content in beer, wine, mixed drinks, and other spirits. The worldwide average number of alcohol consumption was found to be 5.5 liters per person. The highest recorded average was reported in Latvia, averaging at 13.19 liters of alcohol per capita. In this Baltic country, the legal drinking age is 18 years old, and drinking is heavily steeped in the culture. With a lively nightclub scene and pubs on just about every corner, having a drink or two is an extremely common practice in Latvia. According to Taste Atlas, Latvia's most popular drinks include a Baltic porter, farmhouse ale, and Riga black balsam liquor. However, Latvia recently instituted a ban on drinking in public, unlike their neighboring European countries that allow residents and visitors alike to enjoy open containers while taking in the sights.

Following just behind Latvia in alcohol consumption per capita are Moldova (12.85), Germany (12.79), Lithuania (12.78), Ireland (12.75), and Spain (12.67). For comparison, the United States ranked 38th overall with an average consumption of 9.97 liters per capita, while the lowest-ranked countries reported zero due to preventative alcohol laws.

These Countries Have Reported The Least Amount Of Alcohol Consumption

Man says no to a drink
Man says no to a drink - shisu_ka/Shutterstock

If you're looking for a nice cold pint or a fun mixed drink while on vacation, you may want to think twice before booking a trip to one of these countries (or, consider visiting during Dry January). Certain countries have actually made alcohol illegal, mostly on the basis of religious beliefs. According to WHO's 2019 data, the five countries that reported no alcohol consumption were Bangladesh, Saudi Arabia, Somalia, Mauritania, and Kuwait.

Outlawing alcohol is not as foreign of a topic as it may seem. In fact, 14 countries have either partial bans or total bans on the purchasing and selling of alcohol due to factors such as government laws, religious affiliations, and even economic hardships. Even the United States has experimented with alcohol bans in the past: The prohibition era of the 1920s forbade U.S. citizens from selling and drinking liquor, although they found it difficult to implement the change. These days, most countries allow alcohol consumption on a regulated basis in order to discourage overconsumption and alcohol dependency.

Read the original article on Daily Meal.