You Won’t Believe How Much Alcohol People Drink in This North Carolina City

When it comes to alcohol consumption, certain cities are known for their indulgence more than others. Cities like New Orleans, Las Vegas, and New York are often associated with high levels of drinking. However, a recent study by the financial website WalletHub reveals that Asheville, North Carolina, surpasses them all as the city with the highest rate of heavy drinkers in the US.

The Study

WalletHub’s study evaluated 182 US cities based on 20 indicators of excessive drinking, including binge drinking rates, alcohol-related deaths, DUI arrests, and alcohol taxes. The study also took into account factors like the availability and affordability of alcohol, the number and variety of drinking establishments, and the social and economic impact of alcohol consumption.

The study identified Asheville as the top city for excessive drinking, with a score of 64.4 out of 100 points. Asheville also ranked first for the highest percentage of adults engaging in excessive drinking (26.2%), the highest percentage of alcohol-related driving deaths (50%), and the highest number of craft breweries and wineries per capita.

The Reasons

Several factors contribute to Asheville’s high alcohol consumption. The city’s culture and history have been shaped by the Appalachian tradition of moonshining, the Prohibition era, and the hippie movement. Additionally, the thriving tourism industry attracts millions of visitors who come for the scenic beauty, arts and music scene, and the abundance of craft beer and wine. The city’s demographics, including a significant population of young adults, retirees, and veterans, may also contribute to higher alcohol consumption.

The Consequences

While alcohol can be a source of pleasure and socialization, excessive drinking can lead to health problems, accidents, injuries, violence, and economic costs. According to the Centers for Disease Control and Prevention (CDC), excessive alcohol use causes about 95,000 deaths and 2.8 million years of potential life lost in the US annually, with an estimated cost of $249 billion to the economy.

The Solutions

Addressing Asheville’s high alcohol consumption requires multifaceted solutions:

  • Implementing and enforcing policies to limit alcohol availability, such as raising taxes, reducing outlet density, and restricting sales hours.
  • Providing and promoting prevention and treatment programs addressing underlying causes and consequences, including mental health, substance abuse, and trauma.
  • Educating the public and policymakers about the harms and costs of excessive drinking, and the benefits and strategies of moderate drinking.
  • Supporting the development and diversification of the city’s economy, culture, and recreation to reduce alcohol’s central role.


Asheville, despite its beauty and vibrancy, faces a serious challenge with excessive alcohol consumption. The city must take action to find a balance between enjoying alcohol and preventing its negative impacts. By implementing effective strategies, Asheville can remain a lively and attractive city without compromising its health and safety.


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