A national survey suggests beer is big in the U.S., and the best state for beer lovers -- Montana.
Though the top ranking is good for the local service industry, NBC Montana found it also raises concern for safety on the road.
A nationwide study on the best places to drink beer puts Montana in the No. 1 spot, citing less expensive beer taxes, a high number of award winning craft breweries and the most bars per capita of any state. The investment company publishing the study encourages beer lovers to visit Montana soon.
We talked to bar owners and managers who say getting top honors from beer analysts comes with responsibility.
"The more education, the better. We have to be very careful with liability issues. So it's important when my bartenders and bouncers are trained,” said Red’s Bar owner Mike Helean.
He's talking about the Mandatory Server Training that Montana has to keep customers and roads safe. That’s why anyone in the state of Montana who has to serve alcohol goes through mandatory training. The course is designed to help teach them the dangers of putting too much alcohol in drinks and how to spot someone who's had too many.
Despite constant efforts, some have concerns about increasing drinking and driving incidents in Montana. The Department of Transportation Statistics show drunk driving fatalities increased 8.5 percent from last year.
“I think that alcohol is part of the culture in Montana is acceptable. I think that has a lot to do with DUIs," said the Mothers Against Drunk Driving Program Coordinator, Kelsey Denison.
Denison says the program is working to increase education.
"Our concern is keeping impaired drivers off the road with alcohol, drugs or anything like that. That's all we are trying to do, is make everyone safe out here," said Highway Patrol James Kitchin.
Its concerns like that, that have bar owners like Helean updating staff members regularly with safety training.
Wisconsin and Wyoming placed behind Montana in the top three states for beer lovers. Tennessee was last.