Down East 2013 ©
A shocking set of statistics has been brought to my attention. When it comes to annual per capita consumption of beer, Maine comes up way short of New Hampshire.
According to figures compiled by the Beer Institute , in 2011, residents of the Granite State who are of legal drinking age guzzled an average of forty-three gallons of brewskis each. That’s good for number one in the nation. In Maine, the number was a mere thirty-three and a half gallons, which left us in fourteenth place.
That leaves us swallowing the dust of states such as North Dakota (motto: No, We’re The Other Dakota), which finished second with just over forty-two gallons per person. Or how about Iowa (famous for … oops, sorry, that’s Indiana – I’m always getting those states that start with “I” mixed up) at just shy of thirty-four gallons and in thirteenth place. And then there’s Texas in eighth place at just over thirty-four and a half gallons. Although, if you had to live in Texas, you’d probably drink heavily, too.
To our credit, Maine has moved up the list over the years. Back in 2003 (which seems to be the first year the Beer Institute collected this information), this state’s beer drinkers barely managed to chug down thirty-one gallons each. We ended up mired in the middle of the pack in twenty-fifth place. But much of our advancement seems to have had less to do with devoting more of our time to drinking and more to do with other states’ declining consumption. Arizona, for instance, was fourteenth back in ’03 (35.4 gallons), but dropped to twenty-fifth last year (29.8 gallons), after it passed a law forbidding illegal immigrants from consuming alcohol.
While there’s no question that Mainers aren’t drinking enough beer, it’s not quite as clear that New Hampshire residents deserve credit for their impressive draining of multiple pints. According to industry sources , a lot of the beer sold there is actually being bought by out-of-staters, because New Hampshire’s tax on beer is so low. The highest sales of six packs and cases tended to be in border towns, indicating that a lot of those suds were going down the gullets of folks from Massachusetts (ranked forty-fourth at just under twenty-eight gallons per person) and … gulp … Maine.
I trust you understand the significance of this cross-border shopping. It means that Mainers may not be as abstentious as the statistics indicate. We’re just tightwads, willing to cross the bridge to save a few pennies per can, even if it’s costing us several places on the beer consumption chart.
Nevertheless, this situation can’t be allowed to persist. New Hampshire may top us in every economic measure from highest salaries to lowest tax burden. But that’s just money. Everybody clobbers us in those comparisons.
Beer is another matter. We can’t afford to earn a reputation as a state that calls it quits after a couple of rounds. I can hear the other state’s talking about us now. “Oh, you know Maine,” they’ll be saying, “if it ever has three beers at one sitting, it has to hit the restroom every fifteen minutes for the rest of the evening. Leads the nation in per capita flushes.”
I’ve tried to set an example of maximum consumption per my personal capita for my fellow Mainers, but it’s obvious that many of you are ignoring my efforts. In particular, I notice this at breakfast, when hardly anybody is drinking beer. Hello, people, it goes great with bacon. Beats that one percent milk on oatmeal. And it’s way cheaper than putting maple syrup on pancakes.
If every single one of us could make even the slightest effort – say, one extra beer each day – in no time at all, Maine would be cracking the top ten. Substituting beer for the morning and afternoon coffee breaks could propel us into the elite five. Using beer instead of water for one bath each week, and we’d be set to shove New Hampshire off its perch – a move made easier by the fact that it’s per capita beer consumption has made it a little tipsy.
I know there are those who will hesitate to join in this crusade because they fear that increased drinking will lead to health problems. To them I say, remember the alcohol industry’s slogan, which is always printed in little tiny letters at the bottom of their ads or flashed on the screen at near-subliminal speeds:
“Please Drink Responsibly.”
If I come across a bottle of “Responsibly,” I’ll be sure to drink it.
Maine may be an also-ran in the category of beer consumption, but this state has no rival in another important statistical category: umbrella covers.
Not only do we have a lot more of them than New Hampshire (where a spokesman for the governor said he could not immediately locate the official state umbrella sleeve, which may have been disposed of after a previous governor described it to one of his aides as a “friggin’ nuisance”), but Maine has the world’s only umbrella cover museum .
It’s on Peaks Island in Casco Bay and has more than six hundred of the sleeves on display. Recently, officials inspected the collection to see if it merited inclusion in the Guinness Book of World Records.
Not surprisingly, Guinness does not currently have a title holder for the record of largest collection of umbrella covers. But there have been reports that New Hampshire was secretly gathering sleeves in an effort to wrest the honor from Maine. Asked about this development, a spokesman for New Hampshire’s governor said, “We too busy drinkin’ beer to get invol’d in anythin’ like dat.” He then fell over and went to sleep.
In other recent news, Maine’s most famous retailer, L.L. Bean, has been rocked by a scandal. The company’s late founder, known to close friends and family as Leon Leonwood Bean, may have been concealing a terrible secret when he decided to use his initials for his business.
According to recently discovered documents, Bean’s middle name  was not “Leonwood.” In fact, there’s no evidence that anybody has ever been named “Leonwood.” Family members report that he began using that name due to an unfortunate association concerning his real middle name.
That’s right. He was born Leon Landsend Bean.
“He really hated it, so he changed it. I think he was drinking beer at the time. Trying to set some kind of record for per capita consumption or something,” said L.L.’s granddaughter, Cabela Bean.
Why are you wasting time reading this tagline, when you should be pounding down a six pack? Don’t you care about your state’s honor? Feeble excuses may be emailed to firstname.lastname@example.org .