50 Billion bottles of beer on the wall…

50 Billion bottles of beer on the wall…

Posted on 26. Nov, 2008 by in charts and graphs

Here is some client work I did for SloshSpot.  Essentially it’s one point of data, the amount of beer consumed in the US annually, only it is envisioned in several different ways.  Very large numbers are difficult to conceptualize and very large volumes, areas ,and other measurements are even further out of the minds grasp.  So this is an attempt to take this data point and play with it until the reader comes away with a better sense of the American appetite for this frothy brew.

Don’t forget to read the in-between commentary too.

Beer. A sweet nectar from the gods themselves. A 8,000 year old process of refinement culminated into 12 oz of sublime libation. More than milk, coffee, or even bottle water, beer is the drink of choice for thirsty Americans of age. Yes, we Americans grease the wheels of human emotion with this social lubricant like no other. Some 200 million barrels a year go down our collective hatches. But instead of a string of numbers, lets visualize our way to grasping the United States’ yearly beer consumption.

Only China is has a greater thirst, but they also have an extra billion people’s thirst to quench so with only one fourth of the population, we certainly hold our own.

Annual Beer Consumption in the US

Of course the US beer industry is a juggernaught. Ranking around 35th on the global GDP list, our beer sales rival nations.

War is expensive, and so is free beer. Although it’s though unlikely to ever see a politician campaign with a “Make beer, not war” slogan, it is good to know that the economics are there to make it happen.

While we are day dreaming about free beer, have you ever wanted a swimming pool full of the stuff? I sure hope not. The logistics of keeping a beer pool fresh and cold, not to mention making sure your drunk buddies don’t pee in it, are mind boggling. But for 4% of the pool owners out there, this dream could be made a reality.

With moon-landing levels of public support, cooperation and diligence, we could get this lasting testament to the wonders of Beer created, and filled too. OK, still day dreaming here, but if you just wanted to visualize 30 teragrams of liquid, here you go. What’s a teragram? It’s a scientific way of saying “that’s f@#king heavy!”

Speaking of the moon, where would a visualization attempt be without some reference to the distance to the moon? If its too big for “around the earth x times”‘ then its “to the moon and back x times”. Well this one was quite short of making it to our nearest neighbor, Mars, but this stack of cans tops out at a respectable 4.8 million miles of space. And just for you terrestrial types, that’s around the earth 185 times. But really, what a waste of beer.

Here we go, socialism I can support. Seriously though, here is our yearly consumption as it relates to you. You don’t drink, well that’s two beers a day for your neighbor. Your wife doesn’t drink? Three beers a day for your neighbor. Grandma never touches the stuff? Well then you get the idea. You might want to check in on your neighbor though, he may have a problem.

And finally, here is our yearly consumption and how it related those less fortunate. It’s all about resources, though I doubt even the starving could choke down malted meals five nights a week. Yes the United States is wealthy and enjoys the good life, but just imagine the destruction and carnage that would occur with a nation full of sober and serious people. The hungry masses just might agree.

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  1. John Furie Zacharias, December 4, 2008:

    Cool illustrations 🙂

  2. Lou, December 4, 2008:

    Great post, thanks!

  3. MoT, December 13, 2008:

    great work… overall 🙂

    altho the first picture doesnt tell much aside from the obvious power of quantity.


    that tells more about beer.. and where you can find quality.

  4. Jeremy, February 17, 2009:

    Hah! You took out the Canadians from that list didn’t you!

  5. Greg Glockner, February 25, 2009:

    Interesting diagrams, though I’m also interested in seeing one that shows per-capita beer consumption. As I recall, Germany and the UK drink much more beer per capita. Or – how much is spent to advertise beer?

  6. Frymaster, February 25, 2009:

    Interesting grains chart, but there is no grain called “malt”. Rather, malting is the process of partially germinating and then arresting the germination of a grain/seed. So the real question is: what are you malting when you make “beer”. It’s kind of scary to see barley and wheat bundled together like that. Corn, rice? Um, if there’s wheat, rice or corn in you beer, it’s not beer. At least not in Germany.

    Still, though, fun visuals.

  7. Vintage Recipes, June 16, 2009:

    I was laughing all the way until the last graphic, where it shows 43 million hungry people could be fed for a year, with the ingredients we use to drink beer. That was sobering (pun intended).

  8. fotografo, September 14, 2009:


  9. JXL37, October 23, 2009:

    Emma Goldman, in her autobiography, told a story about being at a meeting late at night. ,

  10. FRANK, October 30, 2011:

    @kelownagurl A couple of users (early Twitter adopters) encountered such an error. Basically the API call hangs instead of returning data.

  11. alicedeliciousstore, November 6, 2011:

    Hello, just wanted you to know I have added your site to my bookmarks because of your beautiful blog layout (LOL). But honestly, I believe your site has one of the cleanest design I’ve came across. It honestly makes your sitio web post easier to read.

  12. Vincent Shellito, November 7, 2011:

    Hey there, You’ve done an incredible job. I’ll certainly digg it and personally recommend to my friends. I’m confident they will be benefited from this web site.

  13. clearance uggs, December 28, 2011:

    Spot up for this write-up, I actually feel this fabulous website wants much more consideration. I’ll more likely be again to read a great deal more, thank you for that information.

  14. john, January 12, 2012:

    wondering if i could use the beer in pool idea for our local work tshirts. we sale pool supplies and would be giving our customers tshirts for free. thanks john

  15. Julie, January 22, 2012:

    Nice illustrations. However it’s a pity that so many alcohol is consumed.

  16. video production san francisco, January 23, 2012:

    Thanks for writing about this, had no idea what so much beer could do

  17. Oh my goodness! a tremendous article dude. Thank you Nonetheless I’m experiencing difficulty with ur rss . Don know why Unable to subscribe to it. Is there anybody acquiring equivalent rss issue? Anybody who is aware of kindly respond. Thnkx

Sorry, comments for this entry are closed at this time.



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