If there’s one thing that everyone around the world, regardless of culture or location, seems to share, it’s the love of beer. Beer, a centuries-old beverage that has stood the test of time, is a cultural and social phenomenon that can’t really be matched in terms of what it means to people.
From the beer enthusiast who tries every kind of ale his favorite brewery dreams up, to the person who just enjoys a simple pint at the pub after work, beer can represent everything from a reward for a hard day’s work to a simple way to relax.
When it comes to the countries that drink the most beer, many of us would probably assume the United States or the UK, or perhaps Germany. We think of these as the top countries for beer consumption, and the reason why this is is largely due to the amount of advertising we see, combined with the vast varieties and types of beers available to our individual markets. Western nations have developed entire cultures and identities around the love of beer, so it’s no wonder that when we think of beer as a concept, we think of these places and assume that we’re the largest purveyors and consumers of beer. But it’s not the truth.
But the truth is that the numbers don’t reflect these often stereotypical ideas. When it comes to the countries that drink the most beer per capita, the top three nations are actually in Africa: Equatorial Guinea, Seychelles, and Gabon. While many westerners don’t know it, African beer culture is a thriving and unique cultural phenom all its own. Africans love their beer, and have a unique and beautiful beer brewing culture that has been around for centuries, relying on ingredients much different than its western counterparts. Instead of hops, yeast and barley, African beer is often brewed with ingredients like sorghum, maize, cassava and even banana. These brewing recipes have been passed down from generations of descendants who have learned the techniques and lovingly crafted brews that their family created hundreds of years ago. And the flavor reflects all of that delicious culture and history.
So, too, do Eastern European cultures have their own unique experiences and techniques when it comes to beer. So it should be no surprise that two Eastern European countries rounded out the top five in top consumers of beer per capita: Czech Republic and Lithuania. While many of the countries in Europe are known for their unique spirits and liquors, the truth is that they love their beer, too, and enjoy a deep history and cultural bond with brewing. In recent years, Eastern European countries have seen a surge in the number of craft beer microbreweries, the same as many Western countries have, and it’s an industry that is growing very rapidly.
Beer is a universally loved beverage, and one of the most popular beverages in the world, following closely behind tea and coffee as one of the most consumed beverages the world over. While the result of which countries drink the most beer might surprise you at first, when you explore the history behind beer and the culture it encompasses, it’s really no surpise at all.