British Drinking Culture

British people may be seen as more reserved in comparison to other nationalities. We can seem more uptight and, at times, socially awkward – cue very British Problems. The very-British solution to this is simple: have a drink. Or maybe five.

The British certainly can drink and this aspect of our culture is widely acknowledged. Beer in pubs, wine at parties and shots on nights out; it seems as though alcohol is the focus for every social event.

Nothing can get a Brit to come out of there shell quite like alcohol. However, it’s what we do when we’re out of our shell that can be problematic. Whilst many see alcohol as the key ingredient to a good time, if not consumed in moderation it can lead to some embarrassing and even fatal consequences.

So, why do we drink so much?

Do we really appreciate the taste of alcohol or is the only goal to get drunk? The British are infamous for their drunk behaviour and having those ‘funny’ stories which can be whipped out at a moment’s notice. However, it is debatable whether this is something we should be proud of.

This issue is particularly prevalent among students. For many University is the first taste of complete freedom. In other words, nights out and house parties are a must. You don’t have to worry about the wrath of mum and dad or even whose house you’ll crash at. At last you are in possession of that revered student loan facilitating the purchase of cheap wines or beers from Tesco Express – and that’s just for pre-drinks. You can stay out until the early hours of the morning and drink to your heart’s content.

If only the alcohol made your liver just as happy.

Despite the fun had by many inebriated students, Britain’s drinking culture is becoming increasingly worrying and is leading to a rise in alcohol-related illnesses and deaths. This is particularly true amongst men. According to published statistics, in 2016 men made up two thirds of the 7,327 people who died from alcohol-specific causes in the UK. Older generations are also known to drink more than they should, with the 30-39 age group being particularly notable.

Nowadays issues such as stress, anxiety and depression are sadly more common than ever in our modern society. As a result more and more people are turning to alcohol as a method of escapism. The reality, however, is that alcohol itself is a depressant and although it may successfully relieve you for a few hours, it is not a long-term solution.

We need to stop disguising our binge drinking habits as part of our British culture. Alcohol is not a solution to any problem and although it’s nice to go out for drinks with friends, it’s important that we learn when to stop.
British people may always be perceived as being more reserved than other nationalities, but we don’t always have be perceived as a drinking nation. It’s perhaps time we take pride in our actions instead of being shamefully reminded of them the next day.

Emma Prentice