Monday, June 20, 2005

Wine Consumption by State

Some additional interesting information for those who wonder about who drinks how much wine and where. US consumption by state, as I have previously mentioned, is primarily driven by the coasts. The interior and south are generally the driest states, wine-wise. Here's a ranking of comsumption by state (data from Adams Wine Handbook 2004). The numbers are 750-ml bottles per drinking-age adult:

1. District of Columbia 3,711 (insert appropriate Ted Kennedy joke here or "your tax dollars at work")
2. New Hampshire 3,123
3. Nevada 2,805 (tourism)
4. Delaware 2,476
5. Massachusetts 2,418
6. Connecticut 2,306
7. Vermont 2,274
8. California 2,258
9. Rhode Island 2,238
10. New Jersey 2,210
.
.
(the bottom ten)
.
.
42. North Dakota 758
43. South Dakota 725
44. Oklahoma 684
45. Kansas 675
46. Utah 674 (well, duh)
47. Kentucky 668
48. Iowa 654
49. Arkansas 648
50. Mississippi 532
51. West Virginia 450 (yes, I know there aren't 51 states, see "state" #1)

What is also very interesting is that the "control" states (where the state sells the alcohol) have much lower consumption, 1,241 bottles per adult on average, than the "license" states (where licensed retailers sell the alcohol) at 1,607 per adult. Note that many of the control states are in the bottom ten (Control states: Alabama, Idaho, Iowa, Maine, Michigan, Mississippi, Montana, New Hampshire, North Carolina, Ohio, Oregon, Pennsylvania, Utah, Vermont, Virginia, Washington, West Virginia, Wyoming).

Being in a control state means its harder to get your wine, since you have to go to a special store to get it (often can't get it in the supermarket or drug store). But that alone probably doesn't account for the difference in consumption. The difference is probably explained by the states' general attitude toward alcohol, as expressed in its generally more restrictive laws.

For example, many of the control states and bottom-tier consuming states are also 'prohibited' states for direct shipping (ie. Utah, Mississippi, Alabama, Pennsylvania).

While I cheer the changes in the direct shipping situation (Texas and New York) I think there may be greater opportunity to open markets in tightly controlled states, like Pennsylvania, Virginia, Ohio, etc., by removing the states' draconian alcohol laws.

13 Comments:

Anonymous Derrick Schneider said...

Is this bottles per person over their lifespan? That's what I'd guess from numbers in the 3000's (hopefully it's not per year; 10 bottles a day seems excessive)

June 20, 2005 10:18 AM  
Anonymous Christopher Pratt said...

Here in Washington state, you don't have to go to a state store to buy wine - you only go there to buy hard alcohol. It might be more accurate to divide the control states between 'liquor only' and 'all alcoholic beverages.'

June 20, 2005 10:28 AM  
Blogger Huge said...

Dang, Derrick. You got me. I just typed it in, looked at the state rankings, and never really considered the magnitude of the numbers. I'm not sure what they're supposed to mean...? Maybe the comma is supposed to be a decimal point?

Christopher, good point, the degree of "Control" differs state to state.

/huge

June 20, 2005 2:45 PM  
Anonymous Anonymous said...

Could it be per 100 adults? Thus, in Washington, D.C., the average person (excluding Teddy) drinks 37.11 bottles a year, about 1 every 10 days...although some of those folks would probably think more clearly at 10 bottles a day...

June 20, 2005 4:16 PM  
Blogger Huge said...

Well, average consumption is about 12 bottles per year, per drinking-age adult. So your explanation probably fits the mid-point nicely.

thanks

June 21, 2005 9:19 AM  
Blogger Z said...

Interesting study - thanks for posting it. Any chance there's a similar study done on Canadian wine consumption?

Here in Manitoba, we have private wine stores competing with the state stores. Other provinces run the gamut from all private (Alberta) to all publicly-run (Ontario) to selling wine in corner stores at 2 AM(Quebec). And given that the Liquor Control Board of Ontario is one of the largest (and most despised) wine buyers in the world, I'd be curious to see what the numbers are for up here.

Anyways, good work as usual.

June 21, 2005 3:29 PM  
Blogger Huge said...

A S:

Thanks.
Haven't seen anything that breaks down Canadian consumption by market, only the country total. Canada is pretty much like the US, about 8-9 liters per capita. You, like us, drink too much beer!

/huge

June 22, 2005 8:35 AM  
Anonymous Anonymous said...

Any resolution as to what the numbers represent?

June 30, 2005 4:24 PM  
Blogger Huge said...

Units.

Okay, sarcasm aside, I loaned my copy of Adam's Wine Handbood out. I'll figure it out when I get it back. Sorry

Huge

June 30, 2005 5:00 PM  
Anonymous Anonymous said...

It is probably gallons per year, with the comma a typo for a decimal. If that is the case it should correspond well with the data here
(http://www.wineinstitute.org/communications/statistics/keyfacts_worldpercapitaconsumption02.htm)
on wine consumption per capita worldwide. Keep in mind these numbers are in litres.

July 13, 2005 8:43 AM  
Anonymous Anonymous said...

NC may be a control state, but it would be false to say you need to go to a special store to buy it. You can buy wine at most large grocery stores.

September 01, 2005 6:43 PM  
Blogger Huge said...

Sorry it took so long to find this (finally cleaned up my office). Its the number of 750-ml bottles per 100 adults. Weird metric, but there you go....

October 11, 2005 11:32 AM  
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