Holy Boozehounds! 10% of Americans Drink 50% of the Alcohol

Sep 26, 2014 at 4:17 PM ET

With another happy hour looming at the end of the workday, and the country shifting from summertime margaritas to cozier hot toddy season, it’s not a bad time to take stock of our collective liver health.

The Washington Post ran the numbers in Philip J. Cook’s Paying the Tab: The Costs and Benefits of Alcohol Control, and the results were, well, surprising. While 30 percent of the country doesn’t drink and another 30 percent keeps it together with only one drink per week, around 10 percent of America likes to hit the booze hard—clocking up a staggering 10 drinks per day, or 73.85 each week.

“I agree that it’s hard to imagine consuming 10 drinks a day,” Cook told The Washington Post. “There are a remarkable number of people who drink a couple of six packs a day or a pint of whiskey.”

With the median level of consumption among drinkers sitting at three drinks a week, this top 10 percent drinks more than 50 percent of alcohol sold in the U.S. In fact, if these boozehounds all collectively decided to cut things back to around 15 drinks per week, sales of ethanol would “fall by 60 percent.”