Drunk guy

New Year’s is nearly here and booze is about to flow like blood from the gaping ribs of a zombie skeleton chasing you down a crack alley at midnight.

If you’re celebrating New Year’s in the USA, this list could be useful for you: The Daily Beast has released its list of America’s 25 Drunkest Cities for 2011.

The media outlet created the city rankings by crunching data from a research firm that surveyed residents in more than 200 cities. Their goal? Find out how many alcoholic drinks are consumed on average every month, and how prevalent binge drinking is in each city.

Does the list of America’s 25 Drunkest Cities contain notorious party cities like Miami, New Orleans, L.A., or New York? Nope. None of those cracked the top 25.

Below are the top 10 drunkest U.S. cities, plus my gut thoughts on why their locals love the sauce so much:

10) Tucson, Arizona

Tucson gets 350 days of sunshine a year. Plus it’s surrounded by the world’s largest concentration of Saguaro cactus. I can only assume that the locals are no doubt terrified of how ominous (and scary-mutant-human-like) these evil cacti appear after dark.

9) San Diego, California

San Diego has perfectly pleasant weather, which can depress you into getting cross-eyed drunk, because when your city’s perfect, there’s nowhere to go but down, is there.

8) St. Louis, Missouri

St. Louis is an evil place to live, apparently. In 1949, St. Louis was the site of the demonic possession that inspired The Exorcist book and films.

7) Austin, Texas

Austin is a liberal Democratic outpost that’s almost entirely surrounded by Texan Republican butt-kickers. That siege-mentality could drive anyone to drink. Plus there’s a great live music scene in Austin and I have noticed in my travels that live music is sometimes performed in establishments that happen to serve alcohol.

6) Chicago, Illinois

Chicagoans get so comboozelated all the time, because the Chicago River is the only river in the world that flows backwards. Which seems evil to me and that can only lead to insanity and drunken depravity. 

5) San Antonio, Texas

This fine city’s citizens average 14 drinks per person a month, with almost 20% of the population being binge drinkers. Why so much boozin’? Here’s one clue: the San Antonio area has four major military bases: Brooks Air Force Base, Fort Sam Houston, Lakeland Air Force Base, and Randolph Air Force Base.

4) Reno, Nevada

I once shot a man in Reno just to watch beer flow from his retired ribcage. This gambling mini-Mecca is filled with one-armed bandits and gambling addict golden agers who keep their retirement buzz alive with two-fisted cocktailing.

3) Milwaukee, Wisconsin

Milwaukee is jammed with breweries. Instead of Christmas bonuses, local factory workers have a choice: they can bring home as many crates of Old Milwaukee as they can carry, or the option to climb into the vat and drink as much as they can swallow.*

2) Springfield, Massachusetts

If you can’t afford to live in Boston, then you can live cheaper in nearby Springfield (129 kilometers outside of Boston) which means you can afford to drink twice as much as before.

1) Boston, Massachusetts

Bostonians drink an average 15.5 drinks a month, heavy drinkers make up 7.4% of the Boston population, and binge drinkers make up more than 20%.

Yep, as a Boston-lover and lifelong Bruins fan, this #1 ranking is no surprise at all. Every Boston Bruins’ home game (and the bars surrounding the arena like The Four’s and Sullivan’s Tap a.k.a. the best dive bar in Boston) are filled with ruddy-faced, barrel-gut Irish Americans guzzling Sam Adams beers like it’s their job. And that’s just the women.

Coming tomorrow: my top 10 travel moments from 2011

— Ken Hegan

*I totally made this up but maybe it’s true

Read all of Ken’s MSN posts here and follow Ken to victory on Twitter