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D.C.: America's second-drunkest 'state'

Thursday - 6/5/2014, 12:23pm  ET

People in D.C. must need a lot of social lubricant: the District of Columbia’s average alcohol consumption was the second highest in the United States in 2012.

D.C. residents consumed 3.89 gallons of alcohol per capita that year — the most recent for which consumption data is available — according to a study from the National Institute on Alcohol Abuse and Alcoholism.

That was second only to New Hampshire, where residents consumed 4.65 gallons of alcohol on average. The numbers were calculated based on beer, wine and liquor shipments to the states compared to the population of individuals over 14 years of age.

D.C.’s number was way above the 2012 statewide consumption for Maryland (2.21 gallons) and Virginia (2.13 gallon). The national average was 2.33 gallons per capita — a number that has been steadily rising for the last 15 years.

The numbers are part of an upward trend in alcohol consumption since the late 1990s; although the 2012 consumption in the District pales in comparison to 2007, when D.C. was at 4 gallons of alcohol per person — pre-market crash fervor, perhaps?

What's behind the soaring D.C. consumption? We do have an awful lot of breweries open or coming online, that's for sure — not to mention distilleries. The number could also reflect the growing strength of D.C.’s economy. New residents flush with cash and an exploding bar and restaurant scene could be making knocking one or two back all the more frequent.

© 2014 American City Business Journals, Inc.