We Missoulians love our beer. Could this be because we love to support our local breweries? Or is it just because we enjoy beer period, no matter where it’s brewed? I think it is both. We just love beer. But are we different than the rest of the state? Do all Montanans love beer as much as we Missoulians do?

I think we can safely answer that question with a yes. Montana is in the top five states for beer consumption per capita, according the Beer Institute. Sadly, Montana didn’t win top honors, that went to North Dakota, who drank 45.8 gallons of beer for each resident over 21 years of age. Montana came in third with 41 gallons of beer for each resident of legal drinking age.

It should come as no surprise that the state with the least amount of beer consumption per capita is Utah. The strong religious influence there makes Utah’s average less than half of North Dakota’s at 20.2 gallons of beer for each resident over the age of 21.

What do you think? Is this an honor or a black eye? Should we be disturbed or elated at our status? If we could prove that these are responsible beer drinkers, then we should have no shame in our status. However, given the number of drinking related car crashes and deaths, shouldn’t we be a bit reserved in celebrating this accomplishment?

I think if you are one of the many responsible beer enbibers, then you should gladly celebrate Montana’s love of beer with what else, a beer or maybe two.

Joy Larson is a mother of four boys, graduate of the University of Montana, animal lover and writer.