booze.jpgThe source of their numbers is unclear,* but the Daily Beast has decided, somehow, to name San Francisco America’s third-drunkest city, apparently using “the average number of drinks consumed per person in a month.” A surprise to some, perhaps, but not to an SF Supervisor who’s been expressing concerns about our drinking habits for some time.

The Beast’s (unattributed, so I have no idea how valid they are commenter the_minimalist_route wins at internet, and has found the basis for the) stats for our city:

Average drinks, per person, per month: 12.06
Percent of adults who are heavy drinkers: 8.2
Percent of adults who are binge drinkers: 19.6
Deaths per 100,000 residents from alcoholic liver disease: 6.9

Who beat us? #1 was Milwaukee, who still came up short in liver disease (only 3.9/100,000) but pulled ahead in binge drinking (21.8%), #2 was Fargo.

Both proudly working-class burgs, this is perhaps why Gawker’s Richard Lawson (jokingly) questioned our position on the list, saying:

But San Francisco? That seems odd. I guess you have to factor in all the fancy wine and fruity cocktails consumed at summer garden parties. (Everyone in San Francisco is gay, you see). Otherwise America’s gay lagoon doesn’t strike me as a very drinky-drinky city.

Supervisor John Avalos, he of San Francisco’s mayorally-quashed alcohol mitigation fee, is less surprised than Gawker.

“Drinking is a way of life here…San Francisco’s hospitality industry creates an environment that contributes greatly to public drunkenness” Avalos (who is “not a teetotaler”) told the Appeal.

“In fact, I imagine, given the alcohol industry’s hysterical opposition to the mitigation fee, they’re a bit jealous we’re not #1.”

Attempts to reach San Francisco’s newest member of the hospitality industry, D6 Supe and SF’s publican Chris Daly were unsuccessful, but I can only assume that he’s counting on that 8.2% heavy drinking stat as he eases behind the Buck tavern bar tonight.

*I emailed the Daily Beast to ask where their numbers came from, will let you know! This is the challenge of being in the media over the holidays, NO ONE is around to respond to questions. So, sorry about that! Update: no one but our wonderful commenters! who found that the Beast used Experian Simmons to calculate the average number of drinks/person, and CDC stats for heavy and binge drinkers as well as liver disease deaths.

Want more news, sent to your inbox every day? Then how about subscribing to our email newsletter? Here’s why we think you should. Come on, give it a try.

the author

Eve Batey is the editor and publisher of the San Francisco Appeal. She used to be the San Francisco Chronicle's Deputy Managing Editor for Online, and started at the Chronicle as their blogging and interactive editor. Before that, she was a co-founding writer and the lead editor of SFist. She's been in the city since 1997, presently living in the Outer Sunset with her husband, cat, and dog. You can reach Eve at

Please make sure your comment adheres to our comment policy. If it doesn't, it may be deleted. Repeat violations may cause us to revoke your commenting privileges. No one wants that!