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Other Views: Enjoy beer, but be responsible

North Dakota has quickly risen up the ranks of the top oil-producing states in the nation, with the state sitting at No. 2 behind only Texas. The state's rising population has also likely contributed to another boom in North Dakota: We are the top beer-drinking state in the nation.

According to the Beer Institute, which represents the beer industry, North Dakota's 21-and-older population of 509,226 people chugged approximately 45.8 gallons of beer per-capita in 2012, nearly two gallons more than second-place New Hampshire's 43.9 gallons. The other top five states were Montana (41 gallons), South Dakota (38.9 gallons) and Wisconsin (36.2 gallons).

The states with the lowest levels of beer drinking were Utah (20.2 gallons), Connecticut (22.1 gallons), New Jersey (22.4 gallons), New York (22.4 gallons) and Maryland (23.2 gallons).

North Dakota had plenty of beer drinkers before the oil boom started in the western part of the state. But certainly the mostly male workforce that has arrived in the state has undoubtedly helped boost the state's beer consumption. The Beer Institute said the nation-leading suds swilling contributes $512 million a year to North Dakota's economy.

Obviously there are North Dakotans over the age of 21 who aren't drinking 45.8 gallons of beer each year, so that means there are some folks living here who are drinking more than their share. In all seriousness, that's not necessarily a good thing, considering increased drinking almost certainly boosts the state's levels of arrests for drunk driving and alcohol-related accidents.

Let's hope those who helped North Dakota become the top beer-drinking state in the nation always remember to drink responsibly. Relaxing after a hard day's work with a few cold ones is one thing, but never forget the need for personal responsibility and that means making sure you have a safe ride home if you've been drinking.