Drunk in the Midwest

From the Star Tribune: “Why are we more boozy?

“Many residents in the Upper Midwest are descendants of northern Europeans, and that’s an area of heavy alcohol consumption,” said Peter Nathan, a professor at the University of Iowa who has been studying alcohol use patterns and effects for more than 40 years. “The long, cold winters keep people inside more than in other parts of the country, so that contributes, as well.”

16 Comments

Swan

about 11 years ago

Hmmmm, my grandfather Axel worked in the Martensson Brewery in Tagarp, Sweden before emigrating to the US.

Paul Lundgren

about 11 years ago

I have a great-grandfather Axel from Sweden. There is just no shortage of Axels in Duluth blood lines, is there? Yet there are very few Axels walking the streets these days.

TimK

about 11 years ago

The reason for the lack of Axels is due to filling out birth certificates while inebriated and writing Alex instead.

Swan

about 11 years ago

Or Swanson instead of Svensson...

Barrett Chase

about 11 years ago

So, I guess the root question is: Why is northern Europe so boozy?

Tor Johnson®

about 11 years ago

My paternal grandfather came from Norway, Olaf Johan TÖnder Benjamminsen (last name omitted due to relatives in Duluth and Superior, but not Johnson), he prayed at the altar of Northern Brewery most of his life, my father and a few of his brothers were alcoholics too. I enjoy a cold beer and some Jameson Irish whiskey now and then, but not often. One of Dad's older brothers died of cirrhosis of the liver at 39. I saw many friends and neighbors growing up in the 1940s and '50s that had the same problem, mostly Swedes and Norwegians in our neighborhood back then. I left Duluth many years ago, but enjoy a visit now and then and read the DNT and PDD daily and enjoy the diversity of comments. There have been studies related to this that I read somewhere on the internet in the past.

Happy New Year everyone!

hbh1

about 11 years ago

I don't know why Norwegians are boozers, but I do have a few anecdata points: I know my grandfather (a lifelong Norwegian) and my great uncle (who immigrated to SW Minnesota) were both alcoholics. And I have never in my life seen people as inebriated as I did at a Tønsberg bar. But then, I've also never seen a people who were more diligent about limiting the drivers to one beer for the whole night. (Consequence for DWI: loss of license forEVER.)

wildgoose

about 11 years ago

Bad water, Barrett.  Before people regularly had clean water supplies in cities and towns something had to be done to the water to make it potable. Or that's how I heard it, anyway.  In China people had tea - boiled water killed germs - for a similar reason, but obviously with far better health effects.

hbh1

about 11 years ago

In which Scandinavian countries are way way down the list. Norway is below the United States. Which I would bet has a lot to do with the fact that liquor and wine is so highly taxed that no one can afford to drink. Wonder how the bathtub gin industry is in Norway.

Tor Johnson®

about 11 years ago

One reason the Scandinavian countries are down the list is because of the harsh penalties for DWI.

From a quick Google on DWI laws in Norway:

Norway:

Norway adopts a more stringent approach where drunk drivers are automatically jailed for three weeks at hard labor coupled with a license suspension for one year. If they repeat the offense, then they lose their license forever.

Damn, nobody would be driving in Souptown!

Claire

about 11 years ago

I was at a dinner party in Sweden and one of the guests wouldn't even sniff the wine, b/c she was driving home. Laws against drunk driving are really really strict. And hbh is right about wine & liquor being outrageously expensive in Scandinavia. Luckily, when I was there, the beer was affordable enough and delicious.

adam

about 11 years ago

Don't some Scandinavian countries sell booze through state-controlled stores similar to Canada, and keep prices artificially high? Or is that just with butter?

hbh1

about 11 years ago

Yeah, Adam. You have to buy liquor and wine from state stores. I'm not sure if beer is included in that.

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