Morgantown: A Drinking Town that might have a Drinking Problem

By. Joe Lipovich

West Virginia University students love their beer. We drink it all the time. We drink during tailgates, snow days, sunny days, rainy days, or any type of weather. We drink when we win, we drink when we lose, and sometimes even in ties. We love our beer, and it shows when we are rated a the top of playboy’s party school rankings every year. Even our football coach likes the more-than occasional ale. According to CBSSports.com, Morgantown consumes 1% of Anheuser-Busch’s (AB) alcohol sales.

But what type of beer do students drink? Where do they buy it from? How does the product get from producer to consumer? We took a convenience survey of 65 students, and asked them a few questions.

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Firstly, according to our survey, 42 percent of students surveyed purchased a beer outside of the “big three” beers, Coors, Miller and Budweiser. Although Coors and Miller have merged, they still fall second to AB in overall beer sales. 29% of students most commonly purchase Natural Light, AB’s lower-end cheap beers. Only three students says that they prefer Coors over the other beer choices. Although “other” was an option on the survey and doesn’t necessarily reflect this, it’s a good sign for craft brewers looking to import their product into Morgantown.

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The largest beer-sellers in the Downtown area; Dairy Mart, Ashebrooke Liquors, and BF Liquors by the post office surprisingly did not account for the majority of the beer sales in Morgantown. 48% of students who reported buying alcohol reported that they purchase their golden goodness outside of the downtown areas. This isn’t necessarily surprising, because a student can purchase a “thirty-rack” of Natural Light at Wal-Mart for $13.99, and Dairy Mart charges around $18.00 for the same product.

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It’s not surprising that most students choose to consume their beer out of a can. According to our survey, 63% of students consume their beer out of a can. Surprisingly, however, students did not report drinking as much keg beer as we thought they might have, as 31% of students surveyed that they drank beer from a bottle, and only 6% drank from a keg.

Although buildings like University Place have shut down the historic SunnySide neighborhood, Morgantown will always be a drinking town. However, new legislation such as “home rule” could affect the beer market in this town. Regardless, let’s rais our can, glass, or whatever you choose to the massive beer vat that is Morgantown, WV.

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8 thoughts on “Morgantown: A Drinking Town that might have a Drinking Problem

  1. I really like this post, I will say I drink a lot of Natty cans during the week and for me its the cans because you get more and its cheaper. I also agree with people don’t like kegs because for me I only get them when there’s going to be a lot of people at my house or its an occasion like this year I got one for Halloween and St. Patrick’s Day. If anyone here says they don’t like drinking beer they are most likely lying or just don’t drink but I really think this post is great.

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  2. I though it was just a rumor that Morgantown was responsible 1% of all anheuser busch sales, I’m glad you were able to confirm this via CBS Sports. Having lived here the last 4 years I can say that I have noticed the drinking and party culture here slightly dying down each year compared to my freshman year when I first got here.

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  3. That is a crazy statistic that a small town like Morgantown is responsible for 1% of all the sales of a specific beer. It just shows how much alcohol is consumed in Morgantown. Unfortunately, Morgantown and WVU have had the reputation of a party town and school, but the university is slowly and surely trying to do away with that with all of the construction and new rules.

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  4. dillondurst says:

    Really liked this article and found it very insightful. It’s crazy how much more a place like Dairy Mart charges for a 30 pack of beer than Wal Mart. I usually buy everything at BFS, and I feel like the location and prices there are the best in town. I also thought the fact that WVU consumes 1 percent of AB’s beer sales is crazy.

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  5. abdulazizq8 says:

    I really like this post. I thought that all the statistics about college drinking in Morgantown were not 100% true, but after this weekend I think that alcohol consumption in Morgantown is more than we know. Almost, everyone in Morgantown drinks heavily on weekends, especially students. I do not see it as a bad thing because it is just a college phase and students will move on once they graduate.

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  6. Anheuser-Busch most love Morgantown! The amount of people who reported drinking from kegs surprises me because I feel that there are always house parties with kegs of flowing beer. I like how you incorporated where people can get cheaper beer compared to the downtown areas. WVU will always be a party school no matter what efforts the town makes to change it.

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  7. I definitely think a lot of the students here have developed serious drinking problems since their freshman years, at least a lot of students I know. I’ve always been intrigued as to how much money Dairy Mart makes in a year, because it has to be A LOT. If you aren’t buying liquor, then you are most likely buying beer from Dairy Mart, and with its prime location being downtown, that is where everyone goes. I would just love to know how much they’ve made off of selling beer to students alone.

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  8. I really love how you incorporated so many statistics into your post. Obviously, there are so many other places to get a better deal on drinks, rather than just downtown. But people will always pay more for the convenience. It would be really interesting to know the yearly amounts that places like the Dairy Mart take in exclusively from students.

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