South Koreans Drink Four Times More Than Americans, Heaviest Drinkers In Asia
  • by Ethel Navales
  • February 4, 2014

When any of my Korean friends say that drinking is something that runs in their blood, and they tell me this quite often, I usually laugh it off as a joke. Whether it’s true or not, most of my friends have shown pride with this ongoing saying about their culture. However, recent studies have proven that this may not be a joke after all.

While it is well known that Koreans tend to consume more alcohol than most, many may be surprised with the startling difference of alcohol consumption in South Korea compared to the rest of the world.

A recent study from Quartz has shown that the average amount of liquor consumed by a person of drinking age is 13.7 shots per week in South Korea. In second place is Russia, but that number drops down drastically to a 6.3.

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In fact, in America, the average amount of liquor consumed by a person of drinking age is 3.3 shots per week. That makes American consumption of alcohol more than four times less than South Korea.

Of the liquor consumed in South Korea, 97% of it is Soju. The popular fermented rice spirit is a native to South Korea with alcohol content varying from 16%-45%. As expected, soju sales have consistently topped the charts. Soju ranked #1 in world sale records of the diluted alcohol market in 2002. In 2006, it was estimated that the average adult Korean consumed 90 bottles of soju that year.

Of course, holding the title of being the number 1 drinking nation in Asia has its downsides. The numerous outbreaks of drunken violence has thankfully led to many efforts aimed to restrain South Koreans from heavy drinking.




  1. While interesting, this articlce is somewhat misleading.

    1. A shot of soju has less alcohol than a shot of vodka, etc, so comparing shots is a problem.
    2. Liquor is only one type of alcohol (beer, wine, etc.) so Koreans drink more soju, but less total alcohol.
    3. That said, Korea have the highest rate of total alcohol consumption in Asia, so concerns about rates of alcohol use are definitely important.
    4. For the record, Korea is 13th in the WHO ranking of alcohol consumption, not first.

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