back to article Average sozzled Brit sinks 5,800 pints during life

A "shock" survey has revealed that the average Brit will sink 5,800 pints during a lifetime of hardened drinking, washed down with 8,700 glasses of wine, 2,900 bottles of cider, 5,800 shots of spirits, 1,450 cocktails, 1,450 glasses of liquor and a similar number of glasses of bubbly. The cost of this boozing is £962 a year, …


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  1. Mike Judge

    Party on...

    that is all./

  2. Winkypop Silver badge

    Isn't that why....

    ....the "Pint-Triathlon & Hurl" will be a demonstration sport at London 2012?

  3. Martin

    "But add it all up and the amounts become quite staggering..."

    Mine's the one with the copy of "The Drunkard's Walk" in the pocket.

  4. Purlieu

    London pub ?

    £58,201 for 58,00 pints that's almost exactly 10 quid a pint

    Shirley shome mishtake ossifer

    1. Thomas Davie


      You forgot about all the wine and other drinks listed.

    2. Guido Esperanto

      mistake indeed

      you missed the cornicopia of other alcoholic refreshments in addition to the 58,000 pints.

    3. Armando 123

      Then again

      It might include police tickets, fines, cost of repairing cars, medical bills from falling down three flights of metal stairs, buying White Castle hamburgers (and the necessary new undergarments resulting therefrom ...)

  5. Graham Dawson


    I'll drink to that!

  6. edge_e

    It should be noted that the guidlines are made up

    from here

    The Sheffield study admitted that "four out of five cohort studies showed statistically significant reduction of all causes of mortality between 15 per cent and 25 per cent for moderate drinking". And "moderate" was around three pints of beer a day for men, or two glasses of wine for women, per day.

  7. Pete 2

    Sounds like money well spent

    Since the alternative is having to listen to other peoples' boring stories while sober.

  8. alain williams Silver badge

    What is the comparison cost on food ?

    I get annoyed with this sort of shock statistic, it is not meaningful unless compared to the other costs that we have in normal living. So how much does the average Brit spend on: food, fuel, housing, getting divorced, ... ? Unless we have a comparison we cannot judge if it might be excessive!

  9. Anonymous Coward
    Anonymous Coward

    The real shock is...

    ... that these are average figures. A lot of people drink a lot less than that, meaning that some people must drink a lot more.

    Should I be happy that they pay more VAT, or concerned that they exacerbate the NHS bill?

  10. Anonymous Coward
    Anonymous Coward

    £962 a year? Bloody lightweights

    Another, Sir Henry?

    1. Mark O


      I suggest you stay home and complain about it - I'm off to the pub.

    2. Anonymous Coward
      Anonymous Coward


      you should remember that it's none of your damn business

  11. Adze

    So in units of alcohol thats...

    ...somewhere in the region of 42,000 in a lifetime, shall we say? If someone lives until they're 70 and starts at 14 then that's only an average of 2 units a day... did they forget to include Christmas in their study then? Oh... and Scotland.

    Pint icon - no need to qualify that really is there?

  12. Pete 43

    Newcastle on Tyne

    Shirley denizens of that city will quaff that before going out on the Toon

  13. Ian Stephenson Silver badge


    .... Accepted!

  14. Thomas 4


    "This means that by getting through 456 drinks a year on average, many Brits are sailing three sheets to the wind-"

    Fixed that for you.

  15. Jason Bloomberg Silver badge

    Costs are staggering

    Like costs for council tax

    Like gas bills

    Like electricity bills

    Like phone contracts

    Like commuting costs

    Like the mortgage or rent

    Like the cost of government warmongering on an international scale

    Like bank bailouts

    It's enough to drive anyone to drink.

    I am sure everyone will at some time work out the cost of their drinking, smoking or preferred habit and come to the conclusion that it's one of the few cost they have control over and is really a small total in the scheme of things, a small price to pay for a little enjoyment in our lives.

    To really piss off the moralisers, next time you're in a supermarket; take £10 of beer, £10 of nappies, produce a £10 note at the checkout and have the nappies removed from the bill :-)

  16. Wommit

    That's Average consumption, right

    So, given the number of teetotalers that I know, the rest of us probably need intravenous drips (or should that be pressure pumps?) to keep up the numbers.

    I should add that my wife drove me to drink.

    God bless her.

  17. LuMan


    So, say 3.5 units a day, this means I can have 24.5 units a week. With one unit equalling about half a pint this means I can safely drink 12 pints when I get home. Or, less safely, drink 12 pints on my way home.

    Brilliant. I like these articles. Is there one for pies as well.....?

  18. Nigel R

    the alternative is highter taxes

    Like petrol, alcohol is one hardy tax-take for govt. Isn't around 50% of the cost of drink tax?

    If all that cash was not being spent on drink, the taxman would slap it on something else.

  19. Usually Right or Wrong
    Thumb Up

    So the new unit of age

    would go along the lines of not being 30 years old, but being 17,000 units of alcohol old.

    (Assumptions, 9 drinks a week is 18 units, drinking started at 14, no sliding scale applied).

    Being a bit long in the tooth and having enjoyed a few tipples during my life, using a sliding scale to correct the weekly intake, I am about 120,000 units old, but there may be some errors in the total due to alcohol related brain cell depletion, where some of the cells have forgotten what they got me to drink.

  20. Charlie Clark Silver badge

    Dodgy maths

    5800 pints a lifetime? Let's assume drinking lifetimes resemble working ones - 40 years so about 150 pints a year or 3 pints a week. That can't be right. I can't be bothered to do any research but I thought there were fairly reasonable EU stats on alcohol consumed.

    As for £1000 a year on booze, that's only £20 a week. Again I can't think of who that would apply to. In London that would cover near teetotallers only! I reckon that barely covers an "average" session let alone a binge. Anyway, if the research is about the health risks then it should be accompanied by the number of curries, kebabs et al consumed! Are boozers more likely to partake of other intoxicating substances such as nicotine, fragrant tobacco, Afghan wholegrain and Bolivian marching powder?

    Has this research been sponsored by the brewers association trying to wake national pride and raise the average?

    Can we have some Reg SI units based research on this? Typical drinkers for both sexes ranging from Mother Teresa to Paris Hilton for women and the Pope to Oliver Reed for men?

    1. kissingthecarpet

      A lot more likely

      to buy shit coke, yes. I know of a couple of guys who've got new cars & flats on the strength of drunks buying inert powder with a tiny amount of actual charles in it.

      1. Anonymous Coward
        Anonymous Coward


        "when I was a teenager, but I grew out of it." shame you didn't grow out of the whole bragging about your criminal connections and thinking it's clever to know all the drug jargon. It's not as big and clever as you seem to think.

    2. Anonymous Coward

      'I should add that my wife drove me to drink.'

      You lazy bastard. You should be walking to the pub.

    3. Anonymous Coward


      Don't call me Shirley!

    4. Cazzo Enorme

      Re: So the new unit of age

      "So the new unit of age would go along the lines of not being 30 years old, but being 17,000 units of alcohol old."

      Someone is going to have to collect all the elReg units and publish them in a handy, one page format.

    5. James Micallef Silver badge

      Average of 2 units a day

      which happens to be exactly the recommended amount to improve health outcomes especially prevention of heart disease.

      The people considerably above average have more liver problems, those considerably below / teetotal have more heart problems.

    6. James Micallef Silver badge

      Oliver Reed

      I've been to the pub (aptly named "The Pub" ) where he drank himself to death. They have newspaper clippings of articles about his death stuck on the wall, which is a bit weird.

    7. Anonymous Coward

      50%? And the rest....

      The rate on spirits is £25.52 per litre of pure alcohol.

      So for a 700ml bottle of 40% (typical whisky, vodka, etc), that's £7.15 in tax alone. With one well know retailer selling Value Scotch at £9.97, the tax is 72% of the price.

      Like all good mathematicians, I leave the student to work out the rates for other types of alcohol. All the rates are included in (p226)

      1. nyelvmark

        72%? And the rest...

        I think you're forgetting about VAT. Of that £9.97, £1.66 is VAT, leaving just £1.16 to be split between the retailer, the manufacturer and the supply chain. This £1.66 includes the actual manufacturing cost of the whisky.

        Homebrew, anyone?

    8. disgruntled yank Silver badge

      Is Oliver Reed Italian?

      No, wait, sorry, wrong joke.

      Benedict XVI's is known to favor Franziskaner Weissbeer, a wheat beer brewed in Stuttgart. One assumes that the takes it moderation, but a teetotaler he is not.

    9. Anonymous Coward
      Anonymous Coward

      The Pope?

      At least one unit per day of altar wine - even after transubstantiation still contains alcohol.

  21. Anonymous Coward

    Sounds like...

    a normal weekend in Glasgow to me...

  22. Natalie Gritpants

    Why do you even need to do a survey

    Surely you just divide the output of the drinks industry by the size of the drinking population.

    1. Helldesk Dogsbody

      Unfortunately that wouldn't work

      as it fails to take in to account the amount of home brewed beer and wine consumed in this country which never appears in the industry's figures. You can't just add the number of kits sold to the total either as the majority of the beer and wine home brewers I know don't use them.

      The figures received would also be skewed by the usual insistance that the demographic range is 18 to an arbitrary upper limit, completely ignoring the fact that many people start younger and not everyone stops drinking, has the same lifespan or the same habits throughout their life.

      A survey therefore gives a slightly better picture but then you have to start looking at the target audience asked to provide details and assume that at least 50% of them were lying.

      Basically, anything other than "People in the UK drink more than those in most other countries" (which we knew already) is all a load of cobblers really!

  23. Forget It

    Dead drunk ...

    So on average most of us should be both:



    Dead broke!

  24. kissingthecarpet

    Its a drug

    and a strong, unsubtle, stupid one at that. I can think of nothing more boring than a night spent with drunk people, if theres no loud music or video to drown them out as they repeat their bullshit over & over again. Give me cokeheads,smackheads anythingheads rather than thick-as-shit drunks. You might not think you're like that - but you are when you're pissed. Also keep out of A & E when pissed please.

    I used to drink a lot when I was a teenager, but I grew out of it.

  25. Anonymous Coward
    Anonymous Coward

    Numbers don't add up, or don't add up to anything particularly bad.

    "The yearly financial cost of this level of consumption also gives pause for thought, with £962 a year being no small sum for many families in the UK."

    Surely if the numbers are an average for each person [over 14] then each family will have between 2 and 4.4 drinkers depending on the age of the kiddies. Even taking single parent families into consideration the yearly family boozing cost would be closer to 2 grand than one.

    £20 a week is no big thing in context though. I put about twice that much worth of petrol in my car on an average week, I spend far more than that on food and give the government the equivalent of my yearly booze costs in income tax and NI every month.

    And the big thing with drinking is that it has definite health benefits. OK if you drink to excess it has health risks, but one study suggests that you would have to drink a bottle of wine a day before the harm outweighs the benefits - OK I know alcohol based studies are all bollocks on some level, but your "3-4 units a week" study is no more valid than my "bottle of wine a day keeps the doctor away" study.

  26. Anonymous Coward

    Considering I could get hit by a bus later on tonight...

    Drink and be merry! Who seriously wants to live until their 70+? Bleak(er) miserable(r) thanks. It looks like I drink 1500+ pints a year but I assume that's fine though as I don't drink wine or spirits.

    Mines the one with the 10 pack of Stella in it...

    1. Roger Varley


      > Who seriously wants to live until their 70+?

      I bet you'd change your mind if you were 69!

    2. James Micallef Silver badge

      Jeez, who pissed on your chips?

      It's perfectly possible to have a good night out without either getting pissed myself OR running into a bunch of annoying drunks. If pissed people bother you that much, just find a pub patronised by more civilised people, such as (undoubtedly) yourself, and let everyone else enjoy their drug of choice.

      If by the A&E comment you mean to say you're a doctor who gets annoyed by drunk people at your place of work, I sympathise, but in the end you knew what you were getting into? Or did you think doctoring was all Hugh Laurie in House, or Scrubs?

  27. Some Beggar

    Shocked and staggered?

    Really? Take a small-ish annual figure and sum it over fifty odd years to get a somewhat larger figure ... and that's "staggering"? When I went to school that was called "arithmetic".

    Jesus wept. If that's really supposed to shock and stagger the average reader of that press release then that's a more tragic reflection on the state of our education system than the A level results and the Brian Cox effect.

    1. steogede

      Re: Shocked and staggered?

      Next your going to tell me that people who live longer spend an even more staggering amount on booze.

      BTW I wonder if the £58,000 figure takes into account tax rises and inflation. I haven't done the maths, but; I wouldn't be surprised if you extrapolated the rising costs of fuel, a tank of diesel would probably work out about that much in my life time (if there is any left when I die). ** okay, done some rough maths and I reckon I'd have to reach 125 - which given the rate of increase in life expectancy, might not be to unrealistic

  28. Armando 123


    This is nothing new. Remember these classic lines from P.G. Wodehouse:

    "It was my Uncle George who discovered that alcohol was a food well in advance of medical thought."


    "I felt so dashed sorry for poor old Corky that I hadn't the heart to touch my breakfast. I told Jeeves to drink it himself."

    (These might not be verbatim as I'm going from memory.)

    I think this is one of those stats that, as @Some Beggar said, is a smallish annual or daily filter that gets magnified when calculated over the years. You know, like taxation on sports tickets, gasoline, etc. And the more they tax, the more alcohol appeals, so there y'are.

  29. The answer is 42

    Anyone want mine?

    I can't touch the stuff (medical reasons, officer) so does anyone want my ration?

    1. Code Monkey

      Re: Anyone want mine?

      I've had your ration. And that of any other teetotal commentards knocking around. Cheers!

  30. Heironymous Coward

    You can call me Sir...

    Someone here is being pretty lazy, or they never got through decimals. I refuse to believe that the ratios of drink types in the UK just happens to be all nice whole numbers:

    1 glass of bubbly

    1 glass of liquor

    1 cocktail

    2 bottles of cider

    4 pints

    4 shots of spirits

    6 glasses of wine

    It looks to me like someone rounded a lot of this off, saying "instead of 1.2:0.9:1.1:1.8:4.3:3.8:5.7, we'll make the numbers nice..." Alternatively, they took a small sample size and ramped it up to get the "whole picture" Either way, the numbers are difficult to swallow (pun intended).

    But I'm glad that somewhere, someone is picking up my slack on the bubbly & spirits side and leaving me their unwanted pints...

    1. Code Monkey

      Re: picking up my slack

      Similarly I'll trade my cider ration for more pints of lovely ale.

    2. Loyal Commenter Silver badge


      Also 3:2 ratio of glasses of wine:beer? With me, it's more like 1:50...

    3. Jonathan Richards 1

      Exactly so

      I think I detect that the survey numbers (surveying 2000 people, according to the article) have been munged, massaged, rounded, summed, integrated and recycled as firelighters, such that they have very little statistical meaning at all.

      Unless my inclination to reach for a calculator, is just a displacement activity to prevent me from reaching for the gin...

      1. Michael Dunn

        Re: Exactly so

        Not to mention "normalised."

  31. Anonymous Coward
    Anonymous Coward


    Drink 3 times a week, 5 pints a night for 55 years (English male life expectancy 75, started drinking regularly at 20ish) gives me 28600. And that doesn't count sessions, beers at home, etc.

    "most likely exceeding guidelines" Please can I see the evidence behind those studies? No? Why not? What's that? Louder! You say you pulled them out of your arse? Gosh, I'm shocked, shocked I tell you!

  32. James Micallef Silver badge

    Not really a lot

    Taking a life expectancy of 75 minus initial drinking age of 15 gives 60 years of boozing. 5,800 pints work out to a year, or less than 2 pints a week. Plus a bit more than a couple of glasses of wine etc etc. That's actually rather pathetic.

    1. Pete 2

      Re: 2 pints a week

      What about those (the _other_ gender/sex) who don't drink pints? Presumably they are the balance for a lot of the wine and liquor(???? do they mean liqueurs? sweet, alcoholic drinks like my granny knocks back?) and maybe even some of the cider. Swap it around a bit and you're up to a more "respectable" 4 pints a week

  33. Velv Silver badge

    I didn't need a reason to drink tonight, but it's good to know I've got one.

    "If you resolve to give up smoking, drinking and loving, you don't actually live longer; it just seems longer." -- Clement Freud

    I didn't need a reason to drink tonight, but it's good to know I've got one.

  34. Anonymous Coward

    Only £962 per year!

    I certainly spend more than that. As usual these nannying arsebags forget that guidelines are (surprisingly) just guidelines. Besides you've got to make up for all the nights you don't have a drink or four and also the fact that you only get one life, I know I'd rather to spend mine enjoying myself and alcohol does make for fun and adventures.

    Counting down the minutes til I get out of work and go to the booze shop :).

  35. Paul Landon

    2nd Highest Tax in Europe

    We have the second highest beer tax in Europe.

    Second only to Finland.

    8 times France

    11 times Germany

    CAMRA Briefing

  36. Dave in the States

    I raise my glass...

    "...but as Vivian Stanshall's Sir Henry Rawlinson once put it: "If I had all the money I'd spent on drink, I'd spend it on drink"."

    Being a Merkin I'm not familiar with the author or the character, but Sir Henry sounds like my kind of guy.

  37. carter brandon

    Sir Henry

    <quote>"...but as Vivian Stanshall's Sir Henry Rawlinson once put it: "If I had all the money I'd spent on drink, I'd spend it on drink"."

    Being a Merkin I'm not familiar with the author or the character, but Sir Henry sounds like my kind of guy.</quote>

    Look for a CD or vinyl called "Sir Henry Of Rawlinson End" by Vivian Stanshall. Just brilliant. It was made into a movie, but I've not seen it, though with Trevor Howard playing Sir Henry, I can imagine it being good..

    Pints? My whisky comes in 70cl bottles.

  38. Furbian

    Never had one..

    ... and never intend to, and the same goes for my family and extended family, and most friends. if I mentioned why I'd get a torrent of abuse I can do without.

    So there are a lot of people like us bringing the average down, the true figure's probably a lot higher. Provided some drunk driver doesn't kill one of us, I don't care much, as saying anything is wrong with it brings a short sharp rebuke, and much abuse, so drink away.

    Increased cost to the NHS? As I am genetically prone to some diseases, apparently, unfairly burdening the NHS (not yet though) with the wrong genetics by existing, we'll call it evens.

    1. Anonymous Coward
      Thumb Up


      More power to your elbow. And good luck with the genetic predisposition.

  39. TheDoug


    A retiring sports writer in St. Paul, Minnesota (USA) was asked what he'd done with all of his money. "I spent most of it on booze and women", he replied, "but I wasted the rest of it."

  40. Anonymous Coward

    Average sozzled Brit sinks 5,800 pints during lunch

    Fixed it for you.

  41. Michael Dunn
    Thumb Up

    I should add that my wife drove me to drink.

    And drives me home again afterwards!

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