The 2017 data was released by Eurostat on January 1, a day not unknown for the lingering results of alcoholic over-indulgence.
In 2017, households in the European Union spent 1.6% of their total consumption expenditure on alcoholic beverages. This represents a total expenditure of over €130 billion, equivalent to 0.9% of EU GDP or over €300 per EU inhabitant. That figure does not include alcoholic beverages paid for in restaurants and hotels.
However, the Baltic states easily drink that 1.6% figure under the table.
"In the EU in 2017, the share of total consumption expenditure spent on alcoholic beverages was the largest in three Baltic States: Estonia (5.2%), Latvia (4.9%) and Lithuania (4.0%)," said Eurostat.
They were followed by Poland (3.5%), the Czech Republic (3.3%), Hungary (3.0%) and Finland (2.8%).
At the opposite end of the scale, Spain (0.8%), Greece and Italy (both 0.9%) spent the lowest proportions of household spending on alcoholic beverages, ahead of Germany, Austria and Portugal (all 1.4%).
As previously reported by LSM on numerous occasions, the hard-drinking habits of Estonians do come with some financial benefits to Latvia. Higher duty on alcohol in Estonia means thousands of Estonians, Finns and others make the trip to Latvia to stock up on booze.
The start of January is also a time when smokers try to give up the evil weed of tobacco. When tobacco consumption is factored into the spending data too, Latvia emerges in fourth place behind Luxembourg, Estonia, and the Czech Republic.