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Illinoisans are consuming less beer

The Joliet AreHistorical Museum will host  raft import beer tasting will be from 5:30 9 p.m. Nov. 15 museum

The Joliet Area Historical Museum will host a raft and import beer tasting will be from 5:30 to 9 p.m. Nov. 15 at the museum, 204 N. Ottawa St. in downtown Joliet. Guests can sample a vast array of handcrafted premium and import beers and ciders from mor

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Updated: August 4, 2012 6:20AM

At a time when you might think they would need something in which to drown their sorrows, Illinoisans are drinking less beer.

According to the Washington-based Beer Institute, brew consumption annually in the state dropped by three six-packs per person between 2007 and 2011. But don’t worry, Illinoisans can still hold their heads up high — only five other states drink more beer per capita than this one.

Joel Meister, 43, a Wicker Park bartender, has a hard time believing the stats, which show that each person in the state last year drank, on average, 53 six packs.

“You’re kidding?” Meister said, enjoying an evening off and a cold one at Michael and Louise’s Hop Leaf bar in Andersonville. “I know how much people drink on average. ... If there’s a shortage or decline in people drinking beer in the last five years, I would have bet my right hand that wasn’t the case.”

So what’s behind the numbers? Several calls to the Beer Institute were not returned Monday.

But some drinkers at the Hop Leaf guessed the dip may be related to the economic downturn. After all, beer may help ease the pain of the recession but it is not a necessity, they reasoned.

Still, Ryan Lopez, 36, of Andersonville, who now works at the Field Museum, recalled working at a Lincoln Square restaurant a few years back.

“I never sold more liquor than on Sept. 11,” Lopez said.

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