You wouldn’t believe it, but this is the seventh year in the past nine that there has been a decline in the amount of alcohol consumed.
1. So this is basically the average British town centre in the evening, right?
2. Not the case.
3. In 1980 Britons were consuming 7.4 litres of alcohol each year.
Consumption rose to 7.9 litres in 1990, and reached its peak in 2004 when it hit 9.4 litres per person.
But since then it’s continued to drop, with this being the seventh year in the past nine that there has been a fall, according to the British Beer and Pub Association.
It’s actually rather hard to say. In the past the rise and fall of sales has happened in line with recessions, and no doubt the fallout from the 2008 financial crisis will have had an impact.
But this fall began in 2004. This was the year the Drinkaware logo appeared on beer adverts, and the health dangers were increasingly discussed in the media.
Dr James Nicholls of Bath Spa University, who researches the social history of alcohol has told the BBC: “The media picked up on it around the time that the 2003 Licensing Act was being introduced – when all the talk was of ‘24 hour drinking’. And that’s when the whole ‘Binge Britain’ thing kicked off.”
It seems there really has been a shift in social attitudes towards booze in the Twenty First century, with repeated Office For National Statistics surveys showing people may now be “less inclined to admit to how much they have been drinking”.
5. However, celebration would be premature.
As you can see, the wider historical picture shows a rise in alcohol consumption.
And recent research suggests as many as three-quarters of people may be drinking above the recommended daily alcohol limit.