When you think of the top beer-consuming nations, countries renowned for their breweries and pubs — like Germany or Ireland — likely come to mind. Although these countries do make the Top 10 list for per-capita beer consumption, you might be surprised at some of their fellow competitors.

According to Kirin Holdings Co. Ltd., the Czech Republic was the No. 1 beer-consuming country on a per-capita basis in 2012, with 148.6 liters, as reported by retale.com. Austria took the No. 2 spot, with a distant 107.8 liters per capita. Germany landed in the No. 3 spot, followed by Estonia, Poland, Ireland, Croatia, Venezuela, Finland and Romania. But where did the United States rank?

Some of the most populated countries, including China and the United States, consumed the greatest overall volume of beer in 2012; but their per-capita consumption told a different story. Per-capita beer consumption in the United States placed our country in the No. 14 spot with 77.1 liters, while China fell much lower at No. 40, retale.com reports.

Although U.S. consumers might not drink the most beer per capita, it is their alcohol drink of choice, according to a summer Gallup poll. In recent years, wine has crept closer to beer in terms of consumption; however, this year, 41 percent of U.S. drinkers reported that they drink beer most often, whereas 31 percent reported drinking wine, and 23 percent reported drinking liquor, Gallup reports.

 Although craft beer remains a small portion of the U.S. beer market, as craft beer varietals and breweries continue to proliferate, perhaps Americans’ per-capita beer consumption will increase, one day placing our nation in the Top 10. To learn more about the U.S. craft beer market, read our cover story on page 18.