If gasoline fuels America’s dominant fleet of cars, then beer fuels its drivers. There are more than 1,700 breweries in the United States, ranging from small shops to microbreweries. Washington State alone has 170 breweries, about 10% of the nation’s total.
Globally, the Czech Republic ranks #1 in per-capita beer consumption, and has done so for 18 consecutive years. On the other extreme, Asian countries such as China (49th, 31.5 liters) and Vietnam (50th, 19 liters) were among the lowest. The United States fairs pretty well, ranking 12th in the world (78.2 liters).
However, I’m proud to say that America is second in the world in total beer consumed. 24,000 liters! It’s enough beer to drown a small island country. Fair warning to Malta and Grenada: piss off America and we will consume even more. Yup, America is on the map.
Just this past weekend my friends and I were out drinking before, during, and after the Sounders game. The pre-game atmosphere was electrifying. A sea of green and blue blanketed the streets as fans marched to the stadium, stopping by every bar along the way. For bargain shoppers, the trick is to drink as much beer as possible before you get into the stadium, because then the price gets crazy expensive!
My friend Aadi was the first to order and the bartender gave him a plastic 32-ounce cup filled to the brim. It was cold and looked like liquid gold. “What did you get?” I asked while salivating. We had less than an hour until kick-off, so I wanted to get my drink on, American style.
“PBR,” he replied. Admittedly, you can’t get more American than Pabst Blue Ribbon. I walked up to the counter and ordered one too. What happened next made my heart sink.
I wanted 32 ounces of America’s Greatest Beer (valid 1893). Instead, the cup I got barely met the legal medical requirements for collecting urine samples. “WTF?” I asked. “Can you supersize this for me?”
“It’s ‘cause you’re Asian!” my friends all agreed. I was sad and dejected, and wanted to drink away my tiny problem, but all my beer evaporated before I got back to our table. I felt like an Asian Oliver Twist, who begged other people to top off his cup. “Please, sir, I want some more.”
Let’s face it, we Asians don’t have the best reputation when it comes to drinking. How can people take us seriously when our faces turn red (Pro-tip: If people think you’re slurring too much from drinking, just tell them that English is your second language!)?
Fortunately, my friends were there to pick me up again–they topped me off with their cups after I finished. And that’s really the point of drinking, isn’t it? It’s about celebrating with friends you care about. The ones who will give you “some more” when you ask for it. When it comes to beer, we Asian-Americans already know we can’t outdrink anyone, and that’s fine by us. We just don’t want to drink alone.
We’ll just continue to dominate everyone else in math, soju, and soon-to-be basketball. It’s LINsane!