Wasted in Wisconsin


When it comes to drinking, Wisconsin could turn kegstands around every other state in the country. Our neighbor to the east has more liquor licenses per capita than any other, along with the highest rates of drunk driving and binge drinking. (North Dakota and Iowa rank second and third, respectively; Minnesota is 34th.) Wisconsin is the only state in the country that treats a first-time drunk driving offense as a traffic ticket.

The Milwaukee Journal-Sentinel recently published a comprehensive series on the state's drinking problem called Wasted in Wisconsin, which covers everything from speculations on its origins (German immigrants, brewing industry) to taverns' legislative influence (major) to drunk driving fatalities (extremely sobering). A weekend Times piece referenced the Journal-Sentinel article and likely left New Yorkers spilling their lattes in shock over the idea that minors might be served alcohol in a bar as long as they're accompanied by a parent or guardian who gives consent.