Craft Beer Is Getting People Extra Drunk, Says Minnesota’s Department of Public Safety

By Mike Pomranz |
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© Kirn Vintage Stock / Corbis

Feel like you’ve been having an easier time getting tipsy recently? Minnesota’s Department of Public Safety wants to make sure you know why by pinning the responsibility on craft beer.

It’s no secret that Americans are drinking a more diverse range of beer styles than they used to. It’s also no secret that many of these styles are quite a bit stronger in alcohol than the Miller Lites or even Miller High Lifes of yore. To help educate the public—and University of Minnesota college students, specifically—the state’s DPS recently spoke at a Minneapolis bar near campus to remind people that, according to their numbers, the average craft beer is equal to 1.8 “regular domestic” beers.

Minnesota is cheating with those numbers a little bit, though. In the past, we’ve always counted one “drink” as a 12-ounce beer, a 5-ounce glass of wine or a 1.5-ounce shot. Those numbers are based off a typical 5 percent ABV beer, 12 percent ABV wine or 40 percent ABV spirit. As recently as this past August, CNBC reported that consumer research group Mintel deemed the average alcohol content of craft beer to be just 5.9 percent ABV. That means for Minnesota’s math to hold up, they’re considering a “regular domestic” beer to be one of their 3.2 percent beers: Yes, Minnesota is a “3.2 state,” meaning if you want to purchase beer from places like a grocery store, you can only get the aforementioned lower-alcohol brews. (A handful of other states have similar laws.)

Not to question the wisdom of government, but when using the typical, non-Minnesotan definition of “one beer,” craft beer is actually only equal to about 1.2 “regular” beers. That’s definitely enough to get you drunker than you might anticipate, though not necessarily “Minnesota drunker.”

Regardless, getting the occasional reminder that “one beer” today is different than your father’s one can of Coors is certainly worth hearing—especially if your idea of “one beer” has become a 22-ounce bottle of Russian Imperial Stout.

[h/t Fox 9]

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