Charlotteans aren’t drinking as much as you might think

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We recently sent a short survey 30,000+ newsletter subscribers to get a feel for what’s going on in our city.

One we were most curious about: How many drinks, on average, are our readers having per week?

The city’s drinking scene, with its bevy of breweries and new bars that seem to appear each time we blink, shows no signs of slowing down.

When we surveyed single Charlotteans for our Chem 101 series, a staggeringly low amount of participants said they don’t drink at all (1.2% as of March of this year) and an impressive number of ideal first dates involved drinks (just over 50%).

When Charlotte drinks, Charlotte means business.

Everything from fitness classes to a paint-by-numbers class can have alcohol as the centerpiece.

In a single sitting, Ted, Mary and I downed multiple drinks at Selwyn Pub to understand how many we could have before getting behind the wheel of a car is a legally bad choice. We found that 3 1/2 craft beers rendered us unable to drive, but all continued to drink after we parted ways.

That’s not to say that this is a pattern that isn’t seen across the country. We’re drinking a lot on a national scale, too.

Nationally, 26.9% of those 18 and older reported that they’d engaged in binge drinking at least once in the past month, according to the National Institute on Alcohol Abuse and Alcoholism.

And when filling out a recent Gallup poll, men aged 18-49 said that they consume 6.2 drinks per week, with women in the same age bracket consuming just 2.9.

Not since 1997 has the percent of Americans that abstain from alcohol completely been above 40%.

But Charlotte, surprisingly, is drinking less than you might think.

Most of the Agenda’s demographic falls into the 25-34 age group, followed closely by 18-24. Based on the above numbers, we fully expected the average number of drinks to err on the high side.

Instead, the average numbers of drinks per week falls below the national average.

The city may have an ever-evolving alcohol scene and firm opinions on the best beers, cocktails and wine bars, but 37.98% said that they average up to just 4 drinks per week.

That number was followed closely by 5-8 drinks per week (27.32%) before dropping to a meager 14.72% that drink 9-12 per week.

On the extreme ends of the spectrum, just 9.33% said they don’t drink at all while 4.45% admitted to drinking 16+ per week.

So next time you think Charlotte may be on its way to becoming a city full of alcoholics, think again – and maybe check out the non-alcoholic options at breweries.

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Kylie Moore
Writer doubling as a travel, wine, and Oxford Comma enthusiast.