The Forbes 35 (Drunkest)

Now that Dallas-Fort Worth temperatures are plummeting, sleet and ice are thickening and the need for nips is extremely urgent, its time to revisit this story we missed last August in Forbes ranking the nation's 35 drunkest cities. Yeah, Dallas-Fort Worth squeezed its way in. But we pull in a highly embarrassing 27th place. In fact, Dallas-Fort Worth ranked 33rd for heavy drinking and 30th for binge drinking, although we finished in the Top 10 for alcoholism, slipping in at No. 8. Even more disappointing is that we were trounced by virtually every other major Texas city: Houston (No. 18), San Antonio (No. 12, tied with Seattle) and Austin (No. 5).

How did Forbes arrive at its sinful conclusions? It selected its top 35 candidates from a list of the largest continental U.S. metropolitan areas and assigned individual rankings in each of five areas: state laws (the less restrictive the state laws affecting alcohol sales and consumption, the higher the city's drunk rating), number of drinkers, number of heavy drinkers, number of binge drinkers (the latter three based on the Centers for Disease Control and Prevention's Behavioral Risk Factor Surveillance System Survey, 2004) and alcoholism rates (based on the number of Alcoholics Anonymous meetings in each city as a proportion of the city's total legal drinking age population). The five rankings were then totaled into a final score.

What city took the gold? Milwaukee, once the nation's top brewer when it was home to four of the world's largest breweries: Schlitz, Pabst, Miller and Blatz (today Miller is the only major brewer left in town). "Lips" LaBelle, a popular Milwaukee D.J. quoted in Forbes, attributes the top ranking to Milwaukee's cold weather and the subsequent need for Brandy nips. But this may be the real reason Milwaukeeans drink so heavily. Which means Dallas may soon be breathing down Milwaukee's neck. --Mark Stuertz

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