Welcome to the Midwest - Beer Belly of America

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Before you read anything else here, make a note to visit FloatingSheep, the brilliant blog that details all manner of entertaining - and even usable - stats via mapping. Hours of your life will be spent poring over fascinating facts and figures - like the fact that we like booze more than food.

OK, rampant oversimplification alert. But still, from their research, you can infer that it's easier to find a tap around these parts than an aisle full of pre-packaged food.

us_bars_groceries_100122.jpgAccording to one of their latest forays into forensics, the Midwest likes a good drink. And salty bar snacks aside, food may only be a secondary concern. Check out the map to the right for a look at just how much we like our pubs. The spaces marked in yellow show the spots in the U.S. where grocery stores outnumber bars. In red, the bars rule the day.

The bloggers, who use various data from the Census, Google and other sources, explain their findings:

We had expected that grocery stores would outnumber bars and for most parts of North America that is the case. But we could also clearly see the "beer belly of America" peeking out through the "t-shirt of data".

Starting in Illinois, the beer belly expands up into Wisconsin and first spreads westward through Iowa/Minnesota and then engulfs Nebraska, and the Dakotas before petering out (like a pair of love handles) in Wyoming and Montana.

This is probably no surprise to those of us who slog through long, cold, sloppy winters in our Midwest wonderland. Socialization is fine, but bars are warm and welcoming. And have beer. Grocery stores only offer the cold comfort of food - and not in the form of a delicious midnight tamales served right at the stool.

The rest of the country, clearly, has a skewed sense of the important things in life. Preferring to roll through the offerings of the local Shop-More than enjoy knocking the cold ones back with the mates. Illinois and Wisconsin, in particular, barely have groceries according to the explosion of red here.

As the folks at Chicagoist point out, though, it's hardly a surprise. Wisconsin is Wisconsin, after all. And Milwaukee is the country's drinkingest city. Chicago, um, weighs in at No. 6.

Bottoms up, friends and neighbors in the region. And don't forget to pick up some bread on the way home - if you can find a store.

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    This page contains a single entry by Craig Newman published on March 9, 2010 9:13 PM.

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