Tuesday, October 31, 2006
Combining My Passions, Part 4
I am utterly fascinated by maps. Any kind of map. Give me a map to study, and I will go into an autistic trance and lock in on it until my wife comes in and points out the pile of dishes in the sink and our children's cheeks sinking in from lack of food. So I was most pleased today to open the November issue of National Geographic and find a beer map! It was a world map showing the top beer-consuming nations per capita, with a special focus on Europe, natch. Top beer swillers in the world: Czech Republic, at 160.5 liters per person in 2005 (which I calculate is probably about what I drink every year). The next countries on the list were pretty predictable: Ireland (127.4), Germany (109.9), Austria (105.8), Belgium (98.6), and the United Kingdom (95.7). We Americans were well back in the pack at 11th (82.8). I was surprised to see Norway coming in at 25th – I learned during my visit to Karla that alcohol is ungodly expensive there (a single bottle of beer in a bar there will set you back $8-$10). Other countries I wouldn't have expected to see: Venezuela (10th) and Finland (13th).