People Drinking More Today Than 160 Years Ago

The average American now drinks about the same amount of alcohol as people drank during the Civil War days, a new study reveals.

The study, conducted by the National Institute on Alcohol Abuse and Alcoholism, found the average American consumes 2.51 gallons of straight ethanol – the pure alcohol found in wine, beer and spirits – a year. That amount – which does not include the water and other ingredients that are part of a bottle of booze – matches the alcohol consumed by people in 1860, the institute reports. That compares to 2.15 gallons in 1995.

While the amount of beer that Americans are downing has dropped by 15 percent, the deficit is more than compensated for by wine, which has seen a 50 percent spike – per person — since 1995, according to the institute. What’s more is the average person drinks 60 percent more hard alcohol than in 1995, data reveals.