Do Wisconsites account for 75% of U.S. brandy consumption?

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Dear Cecil: Years ago I read somewhere that the state of Wisconsin accounts for 75 percent of total U.S. consumption of brandy. Having mentioned this in conversation, I now find my credibility (not to mention a fair amount of money) hinging on my coming up with proof. The library and the newspapers have been no help. Do you have any information? John M., Madison, Wisconsin

Cecil replies:

The library? The NEWSPAPERS? When are you Teeming Millions going to learn? For starters, never put money on things you read “somewhere,” as opposed to here in the Straight Dope. Wisconsin’s percentage of U.S. brandy consumption is nowhere near 75 percent. In the mid-70s I’m told it was around 39 percent, but as of 1988 it had dropped to 14 percent (2.8 million gallons out of 20.9 million). That’s still a pretty impressive figure — only California, with five times the population, drank more (4.0 million gallons).

You may be interested to know that in taverns per capita, seven of the top eight U.S. cities are located in the great state of Wisconsin. When it comes to those long winters, Wisconsinites obviously don’t believe in going gently into that good night.

Cecil Adams

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