The "Social Circle" is a group effort between readers, social networkers and the OnMilwaukee.com editors. Every Monday, we ask a question via Facebook and Twitter and then post the responses from our Facebook "likers" and Twitter followers in this column. Well-known Milwaukee movers and shakers will contribute, too.
Milwaukee consistently makes "drunkest city" lists and anyone who spends time in bars or at festivals (or even at the zoo) knows that there’s no shortage of alcohol consumption going on in this town.
However, based on personal experience, do people really think Milwaukeeans drink more – or is this a bunch of media hype?
Turns out, most of the Social Circlers believe that we do, indeed, imbibe more here than other places. But not everyone agrees.
Read on for a sampling of responses from this week’s question and go to the OnMilwaukee.com Facebook page to read the entire thread.
Melissa Baldwin: "I've had friends visit and they've said they never saw so many older people bobbing and weaving from drinking while walking."
Norman Carly: "With all due respect. Yes. You also hold your booze better than most."
Emily Dunn: "I don't know that Milwaukeeans are consuming more alcohol than other places I've lived, but there are more drunk drivers here than I've dealt with before – including a mind-boggling number of 'driving-the-wrong-way-on-the-highway' incidents."
Abigail Fowler: "After living in other cities, I have felt awkward suggesting a bloody or mimosa on a Tuesday morning because you don't have to go to work and getting ‘that’ look."
Dan Franke: "I've been to a handful of keg parties in Austin and I've met a few people from Wisconsin via them. We were the ones standing around the keg commenting on how the people without any Packers / Brewers / Badgers gear on were lightweights."
Lori Fredrich: "It's a frequent comment I hear from people who've moved here from other places. Some complain that it's hard to find activities, especially in winter, that aren't alcohol related."
Kay Froelich: "I've always been taught that we do, but I would like to know if it's a fact. I'm not sure why, but I hope it's true."
Ronn Gilbert: "All I can say is that anyone who says we do has likely never been to New Orleans or New York City or Louisville or Miami or Philadelphia or Portland or Charleston or any of a dozen other cities I could name."
Lynn Halliburton: "I always thought so until I visited New Orleans recently. You can drink on the street (that includes hard liquor). Cocktails are available everywhere in refrigerated cases including the drugstores and convenience stores. I was so surprised. You can also buy liquor 24/7."
Jeffrey Jordan: "The consumption of alcohol in Wisconsin is a problem, but more troublesome is the binge drinking, particularly among young people."
Karen Kiffel: "No! Chicago and Dallas have us waaaaay beat!"
Tom Marek: "I knew someone who visited the zoo and was very surprised to see they sold beer. She asked, ‘Do families really need alcohol to look at animals?’ I was used to the drinking culture here so it didn't seem unusual to me, but she did make a good point."
Mark Nelson: "Not more than North Dakota."
Maria Holden Raboin: "I've lived in Philadelphia, Charlotte, Milwaukee, Monterey and San Francisco. Milwaukee is definitely tops on the drinking. Philly was close though."
Keith Schmitz: "As Lewis Black puts it, we're professionals."
Jeanne Marie Spicuzza: "Yes. And, in my experience, it's more socially acceptable to drink to excess in Milwaukee than in other cities I've lived in and / or visited, both foreign and domestic."
Cory Trones: "I went on a three-night cruise with friends many years ago and drinking games where part of the festivities including a six-man, quarter-barrel drinking contest. Naturally, my team was all from Milwaukee and we won big. The next day we wanted to do it again and the crew told us, ‘No way. You Wisconsin folks always win and it’s not fair to the other passengers.’ Not sure if I was proud or not."
Eric Von Munz: "I may be biased – my family had a brewery here in the late 1800s –however, as a bicycle messenger I have traveled extensively. Los Angeles and San Francisco couldn't fathom how much we could consume and be fine the next day. We went all night every night in Melbourne with the couriers there and was tagged as a 'professional' by Berliners. Philly, Chicago, Boston and New York come close, in my opinion."
Deanne Wecker: "Even though Boston is known for its Irish pubs, it doesn't even come close to the number of neighborhood bars in Milwaukee. Chicago might come close, but I think Milwaukee prevails above all others in this category."
Adam Zelmer: "I just stopped for some beer the other day. Two women in the store, one from out of state who couldn't stop talking about how large the liquor store was, she's never seen anything like it, we really take our drinking seriously here. Not ashamed to say I felt a bit of pride."