Green Bay pushes back against "drunkest city" designation

Posted at 10:39 PM, May 16, 2018
and last updated 2018-05-17 09:49:10-04

Despite a survey this week that named Green Bay the "drunkest city in the country," not everyone in the Wisconsin city believes that designation is fair. 

The 24/7 Wall St. analysis reviewed the adult excessive drinking rate in 381 U.S. metro areas and determined that 10 of the top 20 drunkest cities in the country were in Wisconsin.

The rate of adults who drink to excess in Green Bay is 26.5 percent, the rate of driving deaths involving alcohol is 50.5 percent and the estimated number of restaurants and bars are 204 per 100,000 people, according to the study.

Capt. Kevin Warych of the Green Bay Police Department told our sister station NBC26 that he was skeptical about the results. 

“At face value, it's very concerning. But we have to look at how those numbers were calculated, what is it compared to,” Warych said. “We've had one traffic fatality since that tragic crash in 2016 where those two parents were killed on Packerland Drive.”

Warych said the city and its bars and restaurants have collaborated with different organizations to prevent binge drinking and its consequences. 

“As a community, this is kind of a collective effort. We need to have these conversations with one another make sure that we protect one another so that we can maintain the safe family-oriented atmosphere that Green Bay currently has,” Warych said.  

According to the CDC, excessive drinking includes binge drinking -- which is defined as four or more drinks on a single occasion for women and five or more for men. 

Heavy drinking is defined as eight or more drinks per week for women or 15 or more for men. 

Amanda Watson, the manager at Stadium View Bar and Grille with is a member of the Brown County Tavern League, also believes things are getting better. 

She says servers are trained to cut people off when necessary and to help customers get a safe ride home.

“I think drinking is part of the culture, but I don't think it's excessive,” Watson said.  

“It's how we grew up. My dad drank, my brothers drank, so we all grew up like that,” said Robert Braun of Mukwonago.

But even though it's part of Wisconsin culture, Braun says he believes people are becoming more responsible. 

“I think the laws are more stringent, which they need to be. Nobody wants to die from drinking and driving,” Braun said.

The study compared data from county health rankings, university health studies and the Census. Most of the data was from 2016.

If you or someone you know has a drinking problem, there are resources to help.

Call the Substance Abuse and Mental Health Services Administration's nationalhelpline at 1-800-662-HELP (4357).