New study: Charlestonians love their liquor

Charleston was ranked the 12th “drunkest city of 2011” in a study of more than 200 metro areas, according to a list The Daily Beast released this week.

Who likes to party?

Charlestonians, apparently.

The Holy City is on a new list of the booziest cities in America.

With the town's happy-hour culture, college sports loyalists and adult kickball leagues that encourage players to field with one hand while gripping a can of Bud Light with the other, it's easy to see why, some residents said.

"I've traveled around, and Charleston has the busiest nightlife I've seen," said Eric Welborn, a bartender at Henry's House, a popular Market Street bar. "They just keep coming back because of good experiences they're having."

That's the lighter side.

South Carolina also "is one of the worst states DUI fatality wise," according to the state chapter of Mothers Against Drunk Driving.

Charleston was ranked the 12th "drunkest city of 2011" in a study of more than 200 metro areas, according to a list The Daily Beast released this week.

Topping the list were Boston; Springfield, Mass.; Milwaukee; Reno, Nev., and San Antonio.

To compile the list, the online news site analyzed a market-research firm's recent survey on alcohol consumption, factoring in the Centers for Disease Control's figures on binge and heavy drinking. In Charleston, it found:

--Residents consumed an average of 13.8 drinks per person monthly.

--8.7 percent of residents said they are heavy drinkers, meaning more than two drinks a day for men and more than one drink a day for women.

--17.3 percent of residents said they are binge drinkers, meaning five or more drinks for men and four or more drinks for women in a two-hour span.

All that drinking is making the state a dangerous place, according to MADD.

The most recent figures show about 44 percent of all traffic deaths in South Carolina involve drunk drivers. The state had 357 DUI fatalities in 2010, according to MADD's statistics.

Reach Renee Dudley at 937-5550 or on Twitter at @renee_dudley.