The eye-popping stat comes from Philip J Cook's 2007 booze-economics book Paying the Tab.
American booze consumption follows a familiar pattern, with the top ten percent of drinkers accounting for 50 percent of the booze drunk. But the implication is that — despite the "drink responsibly" disclaimers in booze ads — the alcohol industry is only profitable because its best customers are drinking dangerous, life- and family-destroying quantities of booze.
This point is hammered home in David Nutt's essential book on drug policy, Drugs Without the Hot Air, where Nutt recounts his experience as the UK's drugs czar, where he clashed with the alcohol industry over this very issue.
Think you drink a lot? This chart will tell you. [Christopher Ingraham/Wonkblog]
(Icon: Drinky Crow/Tony Millionaire)