One of the last stories to come out in 2023 was about how much less beer Americans were drinking.

In an article from NBC News, the vice president and executive director for Beer Marketer's Insights was quoted as saying, "It was a tough year for beer." The article acknowledges that multiple factors contributed to the decline (because everyone was probably wondering if the Bud Light boycott had a significant impact). But as the article said, "It wasn't just Bud Light."

Did Montana Drink Less Beer in 2023?

We were curious if that trend was true for Montana, specifically. I was referred to Montana's Department of Health and Human Services and Jon Ebelt, Communications Director, pointed me to the Behavioral Risk Factor Surveillance System (BRFSS), a questionnaire that covers all kinds of behaviors including alcohol consumption.

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"MT BRFSS 2023 data will not be available until late fall 2024," Ebelt shared via email, "as that is when annual BRFSS data is released by the CDC.The most recent year of available BRFSS data is 2022."

Even when the data becomes available, it still may not answer the question.

"While the BRFSS does ask about alcohol consumption, it does not ask about specific types of alcohol consumption. We are not able to differentiate on beer, wine, hard liquor, etc." Ebelt said.

Montana's Drinking Habits Over Time

Even without the distinction between types of alcohol, the BRFSS gives insight into alcohol consumption in Montana. Here's a look at data from the past 10 years.

10 Years of Data: Montana's Alcohol Consumption

Montanans are known for drinking alcohol but what does the data say? These results come from the Behavioral Risk Factor Surveillance System questionnaire and include 10 years of responses.

SOURCE: Centers for Disease Control and Prevention, National Center for Chronic Disease Prevention and Health Promotion, Division of Population Health. BRFSS Prevalence & Trends Data [online]. 2015.

Gallery Credit: Ashley

No Discernible Trend: From this data, it looks like Montanan's drinking habits go up and down, and not by much. You might have thought there would have been a spike during the pandemic, but the results appear relatively consistent.

While 2022 and 2020 did have the highest percentage of people who admitted they'd had a drink in the last 30 days, percentages didn't fluctuate that much from 2012 to 2022.

Who's to Say?: The country may have drank less beer last year, but it's likely that, if Montana's drinking habits generally don't fluctuate much over time, they probably didn't change last year.

Again, the survey of alcohol consumption doesn't ask about specific types of alcohol, so who's to say if Montanans drank less beer?

LOOK: Best Beers From Every State

To find the best beer in each state and Washington D.C., Stacker analyzed January 2020 data from BeerAdvocate, a website that gathers user scores for beer in real-time. BeerAdvocate makes its determinations by compiling consumer ratings for all 50 states and Washington D.C. and applying a weighted rank to each. The weighted rank pulls the beer toward the list's average based on the number of ratings it has and aims to allow lesser-known beers to increase in rank. Only beers with at least 10 rankings to be considered; we took it a step further to only include beers with at least 100 user rankings in our gallery. Keep reading to find out what the best beer is in each of the 50 states and Washington D.C.

Gallery Credit: Angela Underwood

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