Drinking

Illinoisans are drinking less beer

2012-07-01T16:00:00Z Illinoisans are drinking less beerBy Kurt Erickson | Kurt.erickson@lee.net pantagraph.com

SPRINGFIELD — Illinoisans guzzled nearly three fewer six packs of beer in 2011, per person, than they did just five years ago.

The Washington D.C.-based Beer Institute said the per capita consumption rate fell from about 56 six packs in 2007 to about 53 in 2011.

The decrease sent Illinois tumbling out of its long-held No. 5 spot in beer shipments. After California, Texas, Florida, and New York. Illinois now ranks sixth behind Pennsylvania.

The drop-off has left some scratching their heads.

“We’re all aware of it, but I don’t know if there is any one factor to explain it,” said Bill Olson, executive director of the Associated Beer Distributors of Illinois.

Weather plays a key role in determining beer sales. If forecasts call for rain on a holiday like July 4, beer distributors feel the downturn, regardless if a drop of rain falls, Olson said.

Olson also said the push by hard liquor companies to promote their products on television has boosted sales of spirits, which cuts into beer sales.

“I think being on TV has helped them,” Olson said.

Olson said he doesn’t believe the 2011 numbers represent a trend, at least yet. “These things can sometimes be cyclical,” Olson said.

Paul Gagne, manager of Taylorville-based Gagne Distributing, agreed, saying factors like the economy and a harsher winter all play a role.

“It goes back and forth,” Gagne said.

Among surrounding states, Wisconsin residents downed 36.2 gallons of beer on a per capita basis in 2011, compared to 28.9 gallons in Illinois. Iowans drank 33.7 gallons per capita, while Missouri residents consumed 31.1 gallons, according to the Beer Institute.

Indiana and Kentucky residents and the nation as a whole drank less per capita than Illinoisans, the organization reported.

The No. 1 beer drinking state, based on per capita consumption, was New Hampshire, followed by North Dakota, Montana, South Dakota and Nevada.

The state with the least amount? Utah, home to a large non-drinking Mormon population.

The downturn comes as Illinois is relying on beer sales to help finance a road, bridge and school construction program.

In 2009, the state raised the tax on beer to 23.1 cents per gallon. That means those who drink the yearly average of 319 cans pay the state $6.67 annually in taxes.

Combined with the federal tax of 58 cents per gallon, that comes to $23.42 in state and federal taxes for beer in 2011.

Copyright 2015 pantagraph.com. All rights reserved. This material may not be published, broadcast, rewritten or redistributed.

(15) Comments

  1. Hometown Girl
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    Hometown Girl - July 03, 2012 11:42 am
    I would be interested in seeing the statistics based on the sale of home brew kits & accessories from then to now. I know that it is a trend that's becoming quite popular. I know several people within the last 5 - 10 years that have really gotten into brewing their own beer year round, & very rarely buy what's in the store these days. If this is a larger contribution to the decline in the purchase of beer, the headline would be more accurate in saying that Illinoisains are purchasing less beer, rather than stating we're drinking less.
  2. navysvo
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    navysvo - July 03, 2012 6:28 am
    Neither do I, so TAXXX IT HARDDD!!!
  3. DirtyDawg
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    DirtyDawg - July 02, 2012 10:07 pm
    What makes beer boring to you??? Craft brewerys are popping up all over the US daily it seems. More people today are making their own beer and wine compared to 5-10 years ago. I been making beer for years. You drink 4 bottles of mine you wont need a twelve pack of Bud.....LOL.
  4. Okee-Dokee
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    Okee-Dokee - July 02, 2012 6:12 pm
    I don't drink coffee. Would not affect me.
  5. SDog
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    SDog - July 02, 2012 5:04 pm
    Don't blame the decline on me. I'm doing my part to keep the average up.
  6. rnner65
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    rnner65 - July 02, 2012 4:38 pm
    It's W's fault.
  7. navysvo
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    navysvo - July 02, 2012 10:46 am
    If they raised the taxes on coffee, there would be more income than there would for alchohol. More people drink coffee. TAX IT HARDDDD!
  8. Pastafarian
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    Pastafarian - July 02, 2012 9:59 am
    It's because more people are using other intoxicants.
  9. WalterK
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    WalterK - July 02, 2012 9:20 am
    Any state that bases its budget on "sin" taxes is in trouble from the start. There are so many reasons why this could be true, the economy, less people in Illinois, people like other stuff, beer is boring, people actually are thinking "healthy" and cut drinking back a bit. The "experts" don't know, and so anyone else's "expert opinion" is just trolling.
  10. ct
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    ct - July 02, 2012 7:48 am
    those are just state and federal alcohol only taxes
    there are still sales taxes, and higher taxes on establishments that server alcohol, etc
  11. ndwett
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    ndwett - July 02, 2012 7:16 am
    This article makes no sense. If WI and IA drink more beer than IL, why are they not in the list above us? I guess there is a difference between shipments and consumption. It is not explained very well.
  12. otis1949
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    otis1949 - July 02, 2012 6:54 am
    BET ME
  13. The other dave
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    The other dave - July 01, 2012 8:36 pm
    The reason is because so much more of our disposable income is going to Illinois taxes.
  14. TheCapt
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    TheCapt - July 01, 2012 5:43 pm
    Those tax numbers seem wildly low. They should raise those so we can start paying for much needed projects.
  15. bertee
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    bertee - July 01, 2012 5:39 pm
    Smoking bans continue to be a factor and IT'S THE ECONOMY STUPID!
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