back to article Aussies, Yanks may think they're big drinkers – but Brits easily booze them under the table

The top ten per cent of Australia’s boozy population downs more than half of the alcohol consumed in the country, according to new research – and the Brits are even worse. Two researchers from the La Trobe University, Australia, uncovered the eye popping statistic from two surveys: the 2013 International Alcohol Control Study …

  1. SkippyBing Silver badge

    'The duo believe that targeting the price would help cut down on the unsafe levels of consumption.'

    The same tactic that's seen an increase in alcohol consumption in Scotland?

    https://www.thetimes.co.uk/article/scots-are-drinking-more-despite-minimum-pricing-qdspgtrr0

    1. defiler Silver badge

      Re: '...targeting the price would help cut down on the unsafe levels of consumption.'

      I do worry that it's a sign of mental health issues. I'll put my hand up and say that I've used it as a coping mechanism for stress and anxiety in the past. Price goes up? Fuck it - I'm drinking it anyway because it's the thing that numbs me against the daily pressures.

      Then there are the actual alcoholics who'll find a way to get their booze, whatever it takes. It's a real eye-opener having an alcoholic (addict, rather than heavy-drinker) describe the lengths they'll go to to acquire a drink.

      I'd be interested in seeing relative charts of alcohol consumption vs affluence vs mental health across the UK.

      Sod it, it's Friday. I'm pretty-much coasting and doing maintenance jobs today because our customers are almost all on holiday, and I'll be having a nice wee tipple of wine tonight regardless of the monetary cost.

      1. a_yank_lurker Silver badge

        Re: '...targeting the price would help cut down on the unsafe levels of consumption.'

        My experience with drug abusers I have known is mostly they mental health issues that are root cause of their drug abusing. Some could be gotten into treatment and sobered up but others wanted to wallow in their misery. Raising prices or prohibitions do not stop drug abusers from getting their drug of choice.

        So instead of raising prices or restricting the supply consider finding the real root cause and try to treat it. Drug abuse is symptom not the cause.

        1. Anonymous Coward
          Anonymous Coward

          Re: '...targeting the price would help cut down on the unsafe levels of consumption.'

          @a_yank_lurker

          Agreed, and in the years since the 1980s, when pay increases started to fail to meet cost of living increases and globalization caused job loss and wage and work instability for so many, as well as, fewer good jobs for the youf in western economies I think we can find, at least, some of the reasons for mental illness there.

          There are fewer good employment choices for everyone including the young and job instability for the rest of us. I'm in my 50s and have been in various segments of IT for years and am now reading more and expanding my knowledge again to, hopefully, hedge against job loss. I don't mind doing that as I enjoy my work, but replacing my present income would be difficult.

          The present economy is "No Country for Old Men", men is generic here. By the way, "No Country for Old Men" was a great movie. Warning extremely violent and dark.

        2. NeilPost

          Re: '...targeting the price would help cut down on the unsafe levels of consumption.'

          Restricting availability (going against the grain of the last 20-40 years of liberalisation) remember 24 hr drinking and the cafe culture bollocks - and price rises will do nothing to help when alcohol and drug rehabilitation services and residential hostels have been hacked and slayed away.

          Indeed I remember when at University in Scotland in the 80’s alcohol sales were prohibited in supermarkets with the aisles being section off and in England the Supermarkets were all commonly closed due to varyinh Sunday trading legislation.

          Neither that and relatively higher prices made a damn of difference.

          Treat it, don’t prohibit it. FFS.

      2. Mark 85 Silver badge

        Re: '...targeting the price would help cut down on the unsafe levels of consumption.'

        I'll put my hand up and say that I've used it as a coping mechanism for stress and anxiety in the past.

        Which is probably a big part of the "why". One only has to look at job situations, employment opportunities, the political atmosphere, the world has the war drums beating again, etc. to know that there's a helluva lot of stress. When there is no hope of a better life, alcohol is what people fall back on. And today, it's also "legal" drugs. It's been this way for a long time that people turn to alcohol/drugs when there's no hope. And raising the price won't change things.

        1. LucreLout Silver badge

          Re: '...targeting the price would help cut down on the unsafe levels of consumption.'

          One only has to look at job situations, employment opportunities

          We're a very long way away from labours depression in terms of the economic cycle; most millennial's have simply not known a real recession during their working lives. The jobless rate is as low as its been for generations. The young, economically, have never had it so good. Housing is a bit of a piss in the pint of life for them, yes, but that's not significantly more difficult than its been for every post-boomer generation.

          https://ig.ft.com/sites/numbers/economies/uk/

          https://www.bbc.co.uk/news/business-47290331

          the political atmosphere

          Politicians never agree. The government try to govern and the opposition oppose that. Twas ever thus....

          the world has the war drums beating again

          The world has always been at war. No recent generation has ever lived in peace, nor have they ever known a year when the bullets weren't flying.

          https://www.quora.com/Has-there-ever-been-a-period-in-history-in-which-war-didnt-exist-If-so-how-do-we-know

          there's a helluva lot of stress

          I'm sure the war generation would have managed prevalent stress levels the youth contend with today. In fact, I'm sure they dealt with far worse; often without complaint. Yes, there is stress, I don't want to gloss over that, but it's hardly some modern peak of stress.

          When there is no hope of a better life, alcohol is what people fall back on.

          Education has never been more accessible, more up to date, or more varied in scope than it is today. The same for training. Anyone that cannot fashion themselves a better life need only gaze upon the problem in the mirror.

          This is one of the greatest periods to have been alive in all of human history. We've had relative peace in the UK for generations now - not since the days of WWII has anyone tried to invade us. People who want to ignore all of the possibilities will find they fail to achieve a better life, but that does not mean the possibilities were not there.

          raising the price [of alcohol] won't change things.

          On that we agree. At least in positive terms. What it may do is push some struggling addicts off the legal track due to affordability constraints; if they could quit they'd not really be addicts. That will lead to petty crime such as shoplifting etc or worse still the reduction of money available to cloth & feed addicts children post-addiction spend.

          Pricing an addict out of the market doesn't really work; addiction isn't price sensitive.

          1. Robert D Bank

            Re: '...targeting the price would help cut down on the unsafe levels of consumption.'

            jeez, wish I had those BBC rose tinted spectacles to float through life singing kumbaiah.

            The jobless rate may appear low, but increasing percentages of jobs are 0 hours contracts, gig economy, youth rates, unregistered and illegal/underpaid. Many jobless are unreported as they've simply given up trying. Of course it could be worse, no doubt it probably will be, but ffs. And better off, maybe in some terms of being cocooned in PC platitudes with about as much substance as a tissue in a furnace. They have none of the numerous baby boomer tax benefits and subsidies, and free education. Health care will become increasingly prohibitive as privatisation takes it's grip and favours only the well or wealthy.

            Poliicians never (more accurately rarely, outside direct threat of war to common detriment) agree. The difference now is that it is bare fist using every tactic available, no holds barred, using all the new tools of the age such as social media, huge lobbying power increased by globalisation and the concentrated power of the 1%. Politics is in a completely new era, infinitely more toxic and in your face than ever before in history. Truth is only what power and money demand and project through the media.

            Of course there has always been war of varying intensity. Now however it has become a video and media game on a global scale. It's disgusting. There may not be the gore on the western doorstep to the extent of WWI/II for now, but it is much more prevalent now than it ever was by far. It has just morphed into something remote, drones, sanctions, private mercenary armies, religious zealot armies either paraded or pilloried. None of the more recent conflicts are ever subject to any international scrutiny anymore because those that finance and prosecute these wars threaten economic sanctions and isolation to those questioning them, while at the same withdrawing from long term anti weapons proliferation or advancement treaties, at the same time pointing the finger at those of equal or lesser transgressions and demanding the harshest penalties.

            The stress of today you gloss over so glibly is equally if not more horrendous than previous generations contended with. It is life long, not confined to a finite military conflict. Mental stress can have the same or worse consequences to physical stress, and is a major contributor to increased cancer levels and general violence, particularly domestic violence which is largely unreported but equally devastating and affecting really wide circles of people, especially women and children.

            Education. In the UK generally £9k per year now against an average income of around £25k, regardless of the quality or location of the university, plus living expenses. Sure, you don't repay the fee's until you earn over £22k or whatever although at an infleible fixed rate, but the taxpayer does, and parents pick up the living expenses and most often house and feed the kids to a large extent until mid to late thirties post university. And the universities increasingly only target research and development to match corporate requirements to get their required funding. Pure research is almost extinct.

            In terms of alcohol, half the problem is about quality. Drink White Lightening 7 days a week and you'll be on a much steeper downward slop than with some quality british ale. But proper british ale is becoming ridiculously expensive, and so many pubs (i.e. social hubs) are closing it's often difficult to even get it in many areas.

            1. Reg Reader 1

              Re: '...targeting the price would help cut down on the unsafe levels of consumption.'

              @Robert D Bank

              You hit the nail on the head, well said.

      3. Dan 55 Silver badge

        Re: '...targeting the price would help cut down on the unsafe levels of consumption.'

        I do worry that it's a sign of mental health issues.

        I challenge anyone to look at the zombie hordes turning on each other on a Friday or Saturday night and claim they're not suffering from mental health issues. The problem isn't the alcohol, that's just a symptom. Fix the cause and you'll fix the binge drinking.

    2. Graham Dawson

      Apparently the title is too long.

      Perverse incentives. A lot of them probably see the increase from tax and treat it as something like a "let me drink more" fee.

    3. Anonymous Coward
      Anonymous Coward

      Re: 'The duo believe that targeting the price would..'

      I think they should just push for all out prohibition because, after all, that worked out oh so successfully when it was last attempted!

      We're living through a time where governments around the world are interfering in our daily lives to an ever more intolerable degree. From net porn bans, to ridiculous hate speech laws and the tyranny of the minority. Something tells me this will not end well.

      1. This post has been deleted by its author

      2. whitepines Silver badge
        Pint

        Re: 'The duo believe that targeting the price would..'

        Something tells me this will not end well.

        It's quite possible we're seeing this already in this article. When your station in life is fixed, your are a prisoner in the open air, and your daily life is sucking up to your boss, sucking up to the government (let you get arrested on one of those "catch all" laws), and tiptoeing what you say to and around various "social" corporations and their huggy feely divisions (OK, slight exaggeration, there's still a slight mobility etc. for the moment, though mainly downward it seems), I gather that case of liquor looks real good. A robot could do all of the above, no need for a conscious, feeling, breathing human being.

        This is no different than the Rat Park experiment, shove the rats in unnatural cages, restrict their movements, and make their lives basically miserable as rats go; they turn right to drugs to numb the pain. Let them behave like rats do, in a proper rat colony, and they don't touch the stuff.

        Nowr if ornly oor polerticins unnerstood thish. *hic*

    4. Anonymous Coward
      Anonymous Coward

      Re: 'The duo believe that targeting the price would help cut down...

      "The same tactic that's seen an increase in alcohol consumption in Scotland?"

      Where do you think the top 4% of booze drinkers live in the UK?

      1. TheVogon Silver badge

        Re: 'The duo believe that targeting the price would help cut down...

        "Where do you think the top 4% of booze drinkers live in the UK?"

        Outside London railway stations?

  2. Ronome

    Err...

    Tax is theft...

    1. Anonymous Coward
      Anonymous Coward

      Re: Err...

      The only part of tax is theft that I agree with is constantly increasing personal tax with constantly decreasing corporate tax. Most western economies were built from the time frame of the 1930s/40s though the 1980s on much higher corporate taxation and lower personal taxation. It seems to me that government services have been declining since the 1980s and that's no coincidence.

      1. Anonymous Coward
        Anonymous Coward

        Re: Err...

        The reason being corporate taxes either (a) get run around, due to many of them having international presence and enough knowledgeable lawyers, or (b) get passed onto the customer, meaning the customer pays anyway.

      2. Rich 11 Silver badge

        Re: Err...

        It seems to me that government services have been declining since the 1980s and that's no coincidence.

        No, it isn't, it's deliberate policy. The wealthy know they don't need the social safety net or much of any other public service so they donate to the political party which promises to reduce their taxes the most, and don't give a toss about the consequences to the rest of us. The parties promise to do something about the underfunding of public services, usually by outsourcing those services to the companies of the wealthy (look at the decades-long rip-off of rail privatisaion and franchising), even going so far as to skew the calculation in favour of privatisation (anyone remember the infamous 'public sector comparator'?). Unless and until enough people stop voting for the arseholes who lie to us again and again, this won't stop.

        1. asdf Silver badge

          Re: Err...

          Sadly they vote that way because they believe they too are on the edge of joining the donor class. Or they love the taste of boot.

  3. jason 7

    My intake has gone up...

    ...over the past three years. I can't think why...

    1. macjules Silver badge

      Re: My intake has gone up...

      Ten per cent of America’s population guzzled about 55 per cent of all the boozy beverages

      Bloody lightweights. In the UK 90% guzzle all the booze. The remaining 10% are either still recovering from the night before or in hospital awaiting liver transplants so that they can keep on drinking.

      1. Anonymous Coward
        Anonymous Coward

        Re: My intake has gone up...

        "Bloody lightweights. In the UK 90% guzzle all the booze. The remaining 10% are either still recovering from the night before or in hospital awaiting liver transplants so that they can keep on drinking."

        19% of adults don't drink alcohol - the rest drink to make up for it...

      2. Ian Emery Silver badge

        Re: My intake has gone up...

        Dont forget , most US booze is as weak as nats milk. I often joke that "Hello Kitty" beer and wine is "American strength".

        (HK beer and wine are real things and have 1% alcohol content).

        So 100 pints of US brew = 1 pint of UK scrumpy.

        1. jake Silver badge

          Re: My intake has gone up...

          Bad troll, Ian Emery. No cookie.

        2. TheVogon Silver badge

          Re: My intake has gone up...

          Yes as we all know, drinking English beer turns it into American beer.

      3. JetSetJim Silver badge

        Re: My intake has gone up...

        > Ten per cent of America’s population guzzled about 55 per cent of all the boozy beverages

        The top 10% of consumers of anything probably consume about half of that substance/resource. It's just the way things are. The only thing more skewed is personal wealth

    2. Ken Moorhouse Silver badge

      Re: My intake has gone up... I can't think why...

      You've been on the hard stuff, have you?

      https://brexit.beer/

    3. This post has been deleted by its author

      1. This post has been deleted by its author

  4. Winkypop Silver badge

    Cheers

    From Captain Morgan!!

    1. CountCadaver

      Re: Cheers

      Blech, that stuff isn't fit for cleaning drains IMHO, I cannot see how people rave about it, its vile.

      Now Havana Club 7 year old now your talking

      1. jake Silver badge

        Re: Cheers

        Vile? It's not even that good.

      2. Danny 2 Silver badge

        Re: Cheers

        I was first told about Havana Club by an American communist so I assumed it was propaganda, but the good stuff is very, very good.

    2. Anonymous Coward
      Anonymous Coward

      Re: Cheers

      @Winkypop

      The Captain is fine. 35 or 40 years ago I used to buy a 2 litre bottle of Coke dump half of that pour in a quart of the Captains Dark and then wander around. Just a teen out on Saturday night with a bottle of Coke. :)

      1. Anonymous Coward
        Anonymous Coward

        Re: Cheers

        That's so clever, I bet nobody guessed.

        1. Anonymous Coward
          Anonymous Coward

          Re: Cheers

          Well...maybe people weren't sure until I got about halfway through :) The local coppers did dump it on me a couple times through those years. I knew they knew but back then if you weren't causing an issue they were pretty cool. I don't know if that's still the case for cops and teenagers. Mine are just coming to that age. I feel bad for kids that age, it seems that they can't away with anything anymore. The youf need to try things and being a little stupid shouldn't lead to criminalization, in many/most cases.

  5. naive

    Taxes are the snake oil of the lefites

    What ever issue there is, they propose tax increases to make it go away.

    1. Will Godfrey Silver badge
      Happy

      Re: Taxes are the snake oil of the government

      FTFY

    2. Tom 7 Silver badge

      Re: Taxes are the snake oil of the lefites

      Taxes are the things that enable the infrastructure of society that allows capitalists to say really fucking stupid things rather that starving to death because they wouldnt be able to manage all that shit on top of their tiny business.

      1. Yet Another Anonymous coward Silver badge

        Re: Taxes are the snake oil of the lefites

        This didn't say that Brits drank more, just that it was more concentrated in a smaller group. Obviously social justice requires that it is more evenly distributed.

        A typical government response would be to tax it so that the elite 1% of heavy drinkers, drink less .

        A capitalist response would be to lower prices to encourage the great unwashed masses to drink more.

        A marxist response would be to make alcohol free so that everyone could be drunk all the time.

        1. RedneckMother

          Re: Taxes are the snake oil of the lefites

          Hooray for Marxism (especially Groucho)!

          1. Yet Another Anonymous coward Silver badge

            Re: Taxes are the snake oil of the lefites

            I would never be part of a dialectic that would have someone like me for a member

        2. John Brown (no body) Silver badge

          Re: Taxes are the snake oil of the lefites

          "This didn't say that Brits drank more, just that it was more concentrated in a smaller group."

          Yeah, it was an odd stat to use. Why not the top 10% as per the Aus and US they were comparing with?

          1. The Nazz Silver badge
            Pint

            Re: Taxes are the snake oil of the lefites

            Speaking of odd stats, couple of years back there was an article that pointed out that the sum total of alcohol consumption by the UK population from available "research" amounted to only 54% of the alcohol actually sold to the UK population. Why people almost always understate their own consumption is quite understandable but the size of the "gap" is remarkable.

            Who the hell counts how many drinks they have on a night out, during a film at home etc, know the the strengths of the drinks and the size of the measures? Even if someone tried to count, they'd soon miscount or fail to remember.

            As a student i soon learned the best way was to take a fixed sum of money, say £50 and sometime the following day (or occasionally later) i'd locate my trousers and count what's left. Uh oh. only £3.46 left. Allow for fish and chips or a cheap curry and the rest is booze.

            1. Simon Reed
              Windows

              Re: Taxes are the snake oil of the lefites

              "I soon learned the best way was to take a fixed sum of money, say £50…"

              Oh, those were the days.

              (a) Being about to go out on the lash for a night for just £50

              (b) Having £50 spare to go out on the lash

              ;-(

        3. Adrian 4 Silver badge

          Re: Taxes are the snake oil of the lefites

          "This didn't say that Brits drank more, just that it was more concentrated in a smaller group. Obviously social justice requires that it is more evenly distributed."

          It didn't even say that. It said that a smaller group (4% rather than 10%) drank a smaller proportion of the alcohol (30% rather than 55%).

          Tells you absolutely nothing about the comparison between oz, us and brit. and very little that's useful about them individually.

          1. mikeymac

            Re: Taxes are the snake oil of the lefites

            It drove me nuts that they didn't tell us what percentage of the booze the top 10% of Brits consumed. >:(

    3. TheVogon Silver badge

      Re: Taxes are the snake oil of the lefites

      There has never been any shortage of ways or reasons to tax us. If your government spends more than you want then vote for another one.

      Taxes to make something "go away" are generally designed to make unwanted behaviour more expensive rather than to raise revenue.

  6. N2 Silver badge

    Big drinkers?

    Americans? That made me smile, 22 years in the Royal Navy I've witnessed countless Americans reeling after a few beers which are usually beer in name only, weak larger springs to mind.

    1. defiler Silver badge

      Re: Big drinkers?

      Hahaha - I was out at the pub with my brother a couple of years ago, and we got talking to a bunch of American tourists, all late-20s / early-30s. The only one who could keep up after a while was a US Marine, and we're not heavy drinkers for Scotland!

      1. Steve Davies 3 Silver badge

        Re: Big drinkers?

        Yeah, the gnat's piss (aka Light Beer) that most Merikans seem to drink is [redacted]

        There is a huge gap in many places between that shite and 7%-9% craft beers. not a lot in the 4% AG range unless it is an imported beer.

        I spent a very happy Christmas Day afternoon on a black sand beach on Big Island (Hawaii) drinking Bellhaven Best with a couple of ex-pat Scots. The Safeway in Hilo seemed to sell a lot of it apparently but was too strong for the locals for some reason.

        1. Arthur the cat Silver badge

          Re: Big drinkers?

          Yeah, the gnat's piss (aka Light Beer) that most Merikans seem to drink is [redacted]

          I've always wondered how come they have so many diabetic horses.

        2. Charlie van Becelaere
          Pint

          Re: Big drinkers?

          > Yeah, the gnat's piss (aka Light Beer) that most Merikans seem to drink is [redacted]

          Thank you, Steve, for the business plan.

          I'm off to trademark the brand name "Redacted Beer" with a black bar across the label.

          Swill of any kind my fill the bottles / cans, but I'm sure to be an instant "craft beer" legend!

          1. jake Silver badge

            Re: Big drinkers?

            It's been done. Kind of. Story behind Lauganitas KronikCensored here. It's a fairly decent copper ale, well worth sampling if you can find it.

    2. midcapwarrior

      Re: Big drinkers?

      a competition I'll gladly let your side win

      1. asdf Silver badge

        Re: Big drinkers?

        Out on the Tiles is great fun until your drummer dies from choking on his own vomit.

    3. werdsmith Silver badge

      Re: Big drinkers?

      Problem with this kind of willy waving is, drinking large quantities of alcohol is really nothing to be proud of.

      1. keith_w

        Re: Big drinkers?

        yeah, tends to give you a wavy willie. :)

    4. J.G.Harston Silver badge

      Re: Big drinkers?

      At university there were quite a few Americans students who would fall flat after their first pint of real beer, having been used to American love-in-a-canoe beer.

      1. Glen 1 Bronze badge
        Pint

        Re: Big drinkers?

        Ah love-in-a-canoe beer. Or larger as it's known round these parts. </Onlyslightlytrolling>

    5. Anonymous Coward
      Anonymous Coward

      Re: Big drinkers?

      Met an amazing older American woman a couple of years ago who had drunk all the younger people under the table during a bus tour of Scotland, and then came to Edinburgh to show the locals how to drink, with much success. So there are exceptions.

      1. This post has been deleted by its author

      2. TheVogon Silver badge

        Re: Big drinkers?

        Presumably largely because ability to absorb alcohol is proportional to body mass.

    6. simonlb

      Re: Big drinkers?

      America and Australia: 'We drink more than anyone else!'

      UK: 'Hold my beer!'

      1. Handel was a crank

        Re: Big drinkers?

        UK: "Er, actually can I have it back? And another. And another. And..."

      2. Anonymous Coward
        Anonymous Coward

        Re: Big drinkers?

        Please don't use that tedious cliché

  7. gurugeorge

    As a Brit who’s never actually touched a real gun I was wondering how this worked - and then I remembered that in Australia & USA your local pissheads have access to an arsenal that could outgun the average British police station.

    There was a case in 2006 about a white Kenyan aristocrat who shot and killed A poacher on his land. At first I took his side, because I believe in the right to self-defense - but the more I researched it The weirder it got. His parents were Lord and Lady Delamere. He was educated at Eton. I found out about his land holdings And he has 600,000 acres of fertile land. It’s enough that you can actually see it from space - even on Google earth it’s a sizable chunk. The Africans on the edge of the land live in abject poverty 10 people to a room and The ones lucky enough to be employed by him to toil the land are barely given enough to survive. But looking back the land was drawn up with arbitrary borders, straight lines Just a few generations ago. People that drew those borders had guns, but basically that’s what pissed people with guns can do.

    Lord and Lady Delamere

    1. BebopWeBop Silver badge

      Its to compensate the sods for no longer being able to shoot peasents on their British estates.

    2. Trevor Gale
      Stop

      Brits boozing, what people do...

      "His parents were Lord and Lady Delamere. He was educated at Eton. I found out about his land holdings..." - "The ones lucky enough to be employed ... are barely given enough to survive." - "... looking back the land was drawn up with arbitrary borders, straight lines Just ... generations ago."

      Neither of my parents were titled, just Mr. and Mrs. I was not educated at a public school like Eton, it was a secondary school. A few miles from me there are some people (a few unemployed) who live in small flats with no garden. You can find out about my land holding - it's my garden, about 1/2 of an acre. It was drawn up with borders to fit between other houses. Just before the second world war. Oh and I do like a proper ale when I'm back in Britain, and the odd glass of wine here too.

      Now having got that straight, if somebody came onto my land and did damage I'd surely be ready to give a rather damaging clout to the stupid barstool; he might even fall and one of my stone unicorns could crush his head in.

      Oh well, one more for the morturary but I'll be O.K. because, following your thinking, I'm not listed or referenced in Debrett's, right?

      Yes, as a nation we Brits do drink a fair bit but that's not the same as the concentration of a few percent consuming a large amount of the nation's alcohol. The gun laws in Britain and over here in .eu aren't the same as in the U.S. either, admittedly. (Incidentally the Swiss have more guns than people.) That has no bearing whatsoever on 'aristocracy' or the nobility - you and quite a number of others seem to suffer under the delusion that someone's socioeconomic situation determines whether they are a pariah or not. Also historical events have defined town, county, national and continental borders for thousands of years, influenced by minor things such as an argument between princes to major things such as world wars. Just how far back do we need to remember before we can safely live without guilt? I'd say take that chip off your jacket and go catch some fish - there's plenty of salt and vinegar to go around. Enjoy your dinner!

    3. CountCadaver

      Check out the forums for westeners living in Dubai etc "if your au pair talks back, then get her visa revoked and have her sent home" "(xxx ultra low pay) is far too much, I pay mine a tenth of that and change them regularly" "they should be glad of the opportunity we give them"

      Sickening tbh...

    4. jason 7

      Well if most of the Etonians I see in the media are to go by, Eton is taking the piss with the money it charges. Not value for money educationally.

      That or it's a 'special' school.

    5. asdf Silver badge

      perception vs reality

      Fun fact large majority of Americans don't own guns. Gun ownership rate has actually been declining for decades. The reason there are more guns than people is due to the vocal minority of gun nuts buying dozens of firearms. Live in the most gun friendly state in the US and in my large metro area hardly ever seen guns and heard maybe three gunshots in the last decade. Not like the wild west like see on TV. A gun nut flips everyone now and then but basically just like a terrorist attack anywhere else. Vast majority of gun deaths are suicides. Best way to make sure you don't ever get shot is don't own a gun.

  8. Tom 7 Silver badge

    Have you tasted American and Aussi beer?

    Case closed and hidden in the back of the fridge.

    1. Julz
      Pint

      Re: Have you tasted American and Aussi beer?

      What taste?

      1. Anonymous Coward
        Anonymous Coward

        Re: Have you tasted American and Aussi beer?

        You're confusing the light stuff common folks use to quench thirst in a hot country and just get a mild buzz versus the high-gravity beers and bum wines the serious drunks use to forget about their troubles for another day.

        1. fishman

          Re: Have you tasted American and Aussi beer?

          It's called lawnmower beer. Good on those 90F/32C days when you've been doing yardwork.

      2. jake Silver badge

        Re: Have you tasted American and Aussi beer?

        Ah, yes. The obligatory ignorant comment about Yank beer from someone who has probably never even traveled as far as Hull.

        Hint: Comments like that only make you look "clever" in the Yorkshire meaning of the word.

        1. Tom 7 Silver badge

          Re: Have you tasted American and Aussi beer?

          I've had the misfortune to drink more American beer than the average American!

    2. werdsmith Silver badge

      Re: Have you tasted American and Aussi beer?

      USA is full of top quality brewers making superb ales, which British brewers are now copying the style of.

      1. Phil Endecott Silver badge

        Re: Have you tasted American and Aussi beer?

        > British brewers are now copying the style of.

        Bah. Beer should be brown and taste of beer.

        1. jason 7

          Re: Have you tasted American and Aussi beer?

          I have to say the 'craft' stuff taste way too sour or acidic to me.

          Drain cleaner springs to mind. Not a nice drink. Give me a nice 5%+ strong ruby ale...

          1. jake Silver badge
            Pint

            Re: Have you tasted American and Aussi beer?

            If all you've found is too acidic, you haven't sampled enough yet. In my estimation, fewer than 15% of craft/micro/homebrews could be classified as sour or acidic (assuming proper care and feeding of the yeasties, and more than just a little nod to sanitation, of course).

            "Ruby ale" is just another name for Bitter (kinda). I have a nice Yorkshire Bitter clone on tap as I type. Good stuff. Expand your horizons?

            1. jason 7

              Re: Have you tasted American and Aussi beer?

              I live in Norwich chap, one of the best cities in the UK for real ale and craft.

              Been drinking it a long time and I know what I like.

              Yorkshire Bitter clone indeed. Pffft....

          2. dajames Silver badge

            Re: Have you tasted American and Aussi beer?

            I have to say the 'craft' stuff taste way too sour or acidic to me.

            American-style IPAs are very trendy at the moment -- everyone seems to be doing them. I'm hoping they're a passing fad and we'll see a bit more variety in style again.

            1. Charles 9 Silver badge

              Re: Have you tasted American and Aussi beer?

              Even so, IPAs tend to be very hoppy, which tends to make them bitter (last I checked, acids tend to make things taste sour).

              1. jake Silver badge

                Re: Have you tasted American and Aussi beer?

                Look into the difference between bittering and aroma hops, and how they are used when brewing beer. It's not as cut and dried as you seem to think it is.

          3. Charles 9 Silver badge
            Trollface

            Re: Have you tasted American and Aussi beer?

            "Drain cleaner springs to mind."

            The most common ingredient in drain cleaner is caustic soda, a strong base, so I don't see how a beer that's too acidic can taste like a strong base.

          4. Robert D Bank

            Re: Have you tasted American and Aussi beer?

            it's not 'sour', unless it's a Saison. It's 'hoppy', the effect of a high IBU you get in mos IPA's. That is my preferred style, but I do still enjoy some of the ruby and other styles.

    3. a_yank_lurker Silver badge

      Re: Have you tasted American and Aussi beer?

      The microbreweries produce excellent brew. Now Buttwiper and the rest of their ilk, glorified piss water.

      1. DougS Silver badge

        Re: Have you tasted American and Aussi beer?

        The major breweries like Budweiser have been buying up a lot of the microbreweries so they can take them national. I'm sure Bud/Bud Light are an ever decreasing percentage of their revenue.

        1. jake Silver badge

          Re: Have you tasted American and Aussi beer?

          "The major breweries like Budweiser have been buying up a lot of the microbreweries so they can take them national."

          And as I'm sure you can imagine, ruining them as a result. The hands-on techniques employed in microbreweries don't translate well to the industrial processes of a megaswillery.

          1. DougS Silver badge

            Re: Have you tasted American and Aussi beer?

            That hasn't been my experience. And often they simply expand the existing operations of those smaller breweries. The difficulty in taking a regional brand national is not so much production capacity but more distribution logistics and the inane patchwork of differences in alcohol distribution laws each state has.

            1. jake Silver badge

              Re: Have you tasted American and Aussi beer?

              The biggest problem in taking a microbrewery from local to national is volume. It's kind of difficult to split a mere 15,000 barrels of hand crafted beer between the hundred million or so beer drinkers in the US. For one thing, each person would get about half an ounce per brewery (not per brew!), which would be sad.

              1. DougS Silver badge

                Re: Have you tasted American and Aussi beer?

                Well sure but not everyone who likes IPAs tries every single IPA out there, so it doesn't matter that there is only a half ounce per person if only 1 out of 100 people will ever try it.

                Even if you had some giant beer Walmart that offered every one, it would take you a decade to try them all. You try the ones you've heard about from friends, have had really good reviews or (I confess I'm guilty) the ones with the really interesting names.

                1. jake Silver badge
                  Pint

                  Re: Have you tasted American and Aussi beer?

                  "it would take you a decade to try them all"

                  Challenge accepted :-)

                  "You try the ones you've heard about from friends, have had really good reviews or (I confess I'm guilty) the ones with the really interesting names."

                  Actually, as a brewer, I try anything new that I run across. Gotta keep tabs on the competition, dontchaknow. For the record, I've found that interesting names and fancy labels are mostly used to market mediocre (at best!) beer. Better to put your money in producing awesome brews than into the pockets of the marketing department. Good beer pretty much sells itself.

                2. D@v3
                  Pint

                  Re: really interesting names

                  Nothing to be guilty of.

                  Some time ago, i decided that with the wealth of brews available in the UK (seems every pub i go into has something i have not seen before) the best thing to do is, for my first pint of the afternoon / evening, pick something new with either a good name or label.

                  Not every one is a winner, and if it isn't then grab something good to wash it down with, and if it is good, enjoy another.

          2. Rhuadh

            Re: Have you tasted American and Aussi beer?

            Back in the day, S&N built a very expensive and technological advanced brewery in Newcastle with the idea that the computers would analyse any beer and be able to program the machines to reproduce exactly and mass produce it.

            Ah! Now the catch, the Edinburgh Fountainbridge brewery produced 80/- heavy which was very popular in Scotland, but didn't travel well but was sold in England as Scottish Bitter, where it was also popular. Most Scots were aware of the name change, and travelling through England tried the Bitter which nearly always didn't meet with approval.

            You should by now be getting an idea of the disaster that was evolving. Yep, S&N took some 80/- beer from Fountainbridge brewery, passed it through the system and so confident were they, the barrels, cans, kegs and whatever were filled with 80/- to go to Scotland and Bitter to England. Remember when I mentioned that the beer didn't travel... The professional beer drinkers in Scotland and England discovered that their favourite beverage now tasted unusual and to their tastes, unpleasant. Bitter no matter how it was branded as 80/- did not sell, and 80/- branded as Bitter was similar.

            Within a short time, Fountainbridge was saved, for a few years at least.

            *For those born in the 80's and 90's and since, 80/-, pronounced eighty shilling, referred to the tax paid on a barrel of beer and was imposed on the strength of the brew rather than the style, but since brewers (and at one time there were 30 different breweries in Edinburgh alone) were well aware of what was selling, the styles became very similar. Amalgamation of the brewers went ahead and we ended up with S&N, cutting costs as the accountants tried to maintain profits, and dividends to shareholders. That history has a bad reputation for repeating itself, I shall not comment on.

  9. Zog_but_not_the_first Silver badge
    Pint

    Call that a pint?

    THIS is a pint!

    1. JeffyPoooh Silver badge
      Pint

      Re: Call that a pint?

      The El Reg beer icon beer is pathetic. --->

      A good beer is dark brown, able to attenuate the Sun's direct rays, or a nearby nuclear blast, to merely dimly glowing impenetrable dark brown.

      I made some 'double oatmeal' stout that wasn't bad. There's a 'Ceral Killer' brew from Cape Breton that's okay. Guinness is the very definition of just barely dark enough.

      Ideally a good dark beer should have bits of moss and twigs in it.

  10. Eddy Ito Silver badge

    It's a funny way to state the Pareto principle but I suppose it works.

    1. Voyna i Mor Silver badge

      However, it does suggest alcohol consumption is not normally distributed.

      1. keithpeter
        Windows

        Can't be less than zero consumption and I imagine there is a pretty fixed upper bound (there are limits) so no not Normal. A log transformation or logistic transform might do it.

    2. keithpeter
      Windows

      Well done, I was wondering when someone would mention Pareto.

      Might also be worth googling Zipf's Law

      Icon: Occasional strong lager me. Not often. Cutting down.

  11. Gomez Adams

    So in a country where one person had one drink and everyone else drank nothing then that would score at 100% and top the tipsy table. Or am I missing something?

    1. You ain't seen me, right?

      Indeed. The way I read this was that 90% of the populations of the US and Aus drink, between them, less than half of all the booze drunk in those countries.

      That doesn't sound like countries with a drinking problem to me.

      1. Tom 7 Silver badge

        People who dont drink have more of a drink problem than people who do!

      2. theblackhand

        "That doesn't sound like countries with a drinking problem to me."

        In the UK, ~5% of the population drink 30% of the alcohol. I believe the figure comes from the NHS and is summarised in the following graph showing drinkers cunsuming more than 35 units of alcohol per week:

        https://www.drinkaware.co.uk/media/293220/figure-1-summary-of-weekly-alcohol-consumption-2017-1.png

        https://digital.nhs.uk/binaries/content/documents/corporate-website/publication-system/statistical/statistics-on-alcohol/2019/part-4/part-4/publicationsystem%3AbodySections%5B9%5D/publicationsystem%3Aimage

        ~5% of all UK adults is around 2 million people.

        1. Anonymous Coward
          Anonymous Coward

          From the actual content of the article I don't understand how the claim can be made that the Brits are harder drinkers. The US and Australian figures are comparable (10% drink x%) whereas the Brit figures are for 4% of the population. You cannot linearly scale this statistic to conclude they are harder drinkers without knowing the shape of the distribution. Otherwise you could conclude that 4*100/30 ~ 13% drink all the booze.

  12. Anonymous Coward
    Anonymous Coward

    Here's to alcohol

    the cause of, and solution to, all of life's problems. -- Homer J. Simpson

  13. Anonymous Coward
    Anonymous Coward

    What kind of pathetic drunk do you take me for?

    *gasp* Somebody spilled beer in this ashtray!! -- Barney Gumble

  14. Dedobot

    I'm finishing my third glass of ouzo, cheers !

  15. Blofeld's Cat
    Facepalm

    Cheers!

    A friend of my father is a retired clergyman who came to the calling late in life after many years working in an iron foundry.

    His first parish was a rural community where several pubs surrounded the market place.

    In one of these pubs, a group of farmers decided it would be fun to try and drink the new vicar under the table.

    It was a one-off incident...

    1. Anonymous Coward
      Anonymous Coward

      Re: Cheers!

      And the in the other direction .... while at Univeristy many years ago one of my fellow CU members decided that as "a witness" at our college's annual celebration (which involved much drinking) that he'd match his friends pint for pint but with orange juice ... needless to say he didn't try that again!

      1. Vometia Munro

        Re: Cheers!

        I'm slightly embarrassed to admit I did pretty much that on a daily basis: never one for subtlety, "more is more" still being a bit of a motto, I figured that since fruit juice was sold back in the day as a healthy alternative that several pints of it a day would make me awesomely healthy. Approximately nobody was surprised when I had a heart attack in my early 40s. Fortunately it got better and since reverting to beer my diabetes has also stopped menacing me.

        I dunno. I suppose listing "misadventure" as a hobby is amusing; more amusing than actually doing it.

  16. jake Silver badge

    I find it amusing ...

    ... that there is always a minority of loudmouths trying to stop the rest of humanity from having fun, regardless of what kind of "fun" we are talking about.

    Hint to the loudmouthed minority: Prohibitions against ANYTHING have NEVER worked. Not once. In the entire history of humanity. In fact, it usually has the opposite affect. What makes you think you are doing anything more useful than contributing to global warming with all your blather?

    1. werdsmith Silver badge

      Re: I find it amusing ...

      There’s fun involved in drinking, which I really enjoy myself and have been in the beer garden in the gorgeous sunshine today.

      Then there is that curiously British definition of “fun” where a person drinks until they are drunk and then keeps drinking more until they piss themselves, puke, pass out, gets a beating, gets robbed and spend the next day wishing they were dead and call that a “great night out”.

      It’s not a great night. I know, because I’ve done it a few times but have no intention of ever going near it again.

      1. jake Silver badge

        Re: I find it amusing ...

        That's not purely British. From experience, I'd say it's a normal part of the human condition to get blotto. I've seen it on 6 continents, in places untouched by so-called "British Rule", and have it on good authority that most of it (sans beating and getting robbed) happens in Antarctica, too.

        1. werdsmith Silver badge

          Re: I find it amusing ...

          I’m not saying the drinking to oblivion is uniquely British, but the immaturity about it tends to be. I have been in countries other than UK where this goes on, but they don’t seem to do the childish laugh and “that was a great night” thing.

          1. Charles 9 Silver badge

            Re: I find it amusing ...

            You've never been to an American Fraternity Row then, have you? When I was in college, I spent nights with a campus police station, spending half the night running the dispatch phone and the other half doing building walks (mostly to make sure they were empty). The most common call at the dispatch phone came from someone at Frat Row, and the most common sight during the walks, especially near the dorms, was the small group of college guys hooting and hollering at the top of their lungs, obviously drunk as a skunk and without a care in the world. This carefree attitude carried over to the following morning, when they seem glad to have hangovers, even as midterms and finals loomed.

  17. Robert Helpmann?? Silver badge
    Joke

    Correlation vs Causality

    ...shops like Woolworths contributed to crime and injury.... each additional chain outlet is associated with a 35.3 per cent increase in intentional injuries, including assaults, stabbing, or shooting, and a 22 per cent increase in unintentional injuries, including falls, crushes, or being struck by an object.

    Seems like we have identified the problem. Just shut down all the Woolworths. Problem solved!

  18. PaulVD

    I call bullshit on these statistics

    "... each additional chain outlet is associated with a 35.3 per cent increase in intentional injuries, including assaults, stabbing, or shooting ..."

    Some years ago, New Zealand allowed wine and beer to be sold in supermarkets. There are several hundred supermarkets in New Zealand. Conservatively supposing that this increased the number of chain outlets by 200, then 1.353^200 means that intentional injuries must have increased by a factor of more than 10^26. I am sure we would have noticed even a much smaller increase in injuries (say a factor of 10^5, which would leave everyone in the country injured every day).

    But when an alcohol academic can quote a frightening number in support of his wowserism, the fact that the number is nonsense is no consideration. After all, modern journalists can safely be assumed to be innumerate (always excepting our favourite Vultures, of course).

    "Rum: Generically, fiery liquors that produce madness in total abstainers." Ambrose Bierce, The Devil's Dictionary.

    1. jake Silver badge

      Re: I call bullshit on these statistics

      WINE, n. Fermented grape-juice known to the Women's Christian Union as "liquor," sometimes as "rum." Wine, madam, is God's next best gift to man. —Ambrose Bierce, The Devil's Dictionary.

    2. jockmcthingiemibobb

      Re: I call bullshit on these statistics

      Yep, and prohibition worked so well in New Zealand :-( My pet hate is the fun police in most small rural towns who implement unnecessary booze bans. There are already laws to target violence, drink driving, theft and anti-social behavior but somehow the goons reckon it's not OK for anyone to have a beer at the sidelines after a game of footie or have a glass of wine with the Mrs at the beach. Free country my arse.

      1. Anonymous Coward
        Anonymous Coward

        Re: I call bullshit on these statistics

        "There are already laws to target violence, drink driving, theft and anti-social behavior..."

        ...which don't mean squat when people DIE as a result of domestic violence, accidents, riots, etc. How do you explain to the widows and orphans why you couldn't get them off the streets before they drank too much? Then there are the less-certain instances where people drink themselves silly, miss their work schedules and mess everyone else up...

    3. Anonymous Coward
      Anonymous Coward

      Re: I call bullshit on these statistics

      "Some years ago, New Zealand allowed wine and beer to be sold in supermarkets. There are several hundred supermarkets in New Zealand. Conservatively supposing that this increased the number of chain outlets by 200, then 1.353^200 means that intentional injuries must have increased by a factor of more than 10^26. I am sure we would have noticed even a much smaller increase in injuries (say a factor of 10^5, which would leave everyone in the country injured every day)."

      I'm not sure you can directly compare this to what the study indicated.

      A better comparison would be areas of NZ that have had strict controls over alcohol sales as supermarkets have been allowed to sell alcohol (possibly west Auckland?)

  19. jwo

    There is no enjoyment that wouldn't better be prohibited

    Up with taxes, down with fun!

  20. ThatOne Silver badge
    Pint

    Law and Order

    So, that study reveals that not all people drink the same amount of alcohol? Oh my, that revolutionary. Who would had guessed!

    Obviously the only possible conclusion is that we need more laws. Ideally a law which dictates how much, what kind and at which moment alcohol consumption is allowed. I guess Sundays, wine, at church, a spoonful, with a wafer/piece of bread.

  21. Unicornpiss Silver badge
    Meh

    Manipulating the price of alcohol

    Regardless of where or why some folks (that probably never drink) are thinking of punishing the unwashed masses by increasing prices, it's just more "feel good" legislation that will not solve anything except to give the powers that be the ability to say that they're "doing something about this tragic problem" In reality, they are just punishing everyone else that enjoys alcohol more responsibly. True addicts of any kind will find a way to finance their habit, whether it breaks them or takes food from the mouths of their kids.

    1. davenewman

      Re: Manipulating the price of alcohol

      Actually, when my brother was an alcoholic, the price did matter. He often went without alcohol for days when he ran out of money. So unit pricing can have an effect. But it doesn't matter so much for better off people.

      1. MonkeyCee Silver badge

        Re: Manipulating the price of alcohol

        Had a part time job in a bottle shop* and the alcoholics and "power drinkers" all knew their bang for buck preferences.

        Fill your owns, especially if you can weasel a bit extra. Fortified wines, such as port, are generally the highest ratio of alcohol to cost, after that fill your own spirits, where filling it to the top might get you another shot or two.

        Then it's wine, the preloading rugby heads would go for a bottle of cheap fizzy to get the buzz on. Cask for bulk, and easy disposal of the empties.

        After that it's all pretty much even. The main tax breaks are on wine, and on wine with spirits added.

        * UK: Off licence, USA: Liquor store

        1. Danny 2 Silver badge

          Re: Manipulating the price of alcohol

          Alcohol fans are great at arithmetic. 70cl at 35% versus 100cl at 40% at varying prices, and they can tell at a glance the cheapest. The cheapest booze is not sold in shops but brought in by eastern Europeans - 80% Polish spirit, Slovak Borovika. And then there is champagne yeast, a tub of fruit and a few weeks delay for the long-sighted and adventurous.

          You can buy a passable Islay malt out of Lidl and Aldi for £17.50, and if you can't afford that then you really shouldn't be drinking.

  22. Anonymous Coward
    Anonymous Coward

    Increasing the price of alcohol doesn't make the drinking go away. It just increases the financial problems of the heavy drinkers leading to homelessness, crime etc.

  23. Danny 2 Silver badge

    Drinking at an international level

    I did a test on the BBC website. Apparently Belarussians drink more than any other nationality, and I drink more than twice as much as them. I moved to the Netherlands to work, and started smoking a joint after work, and my alcohol consumption plummeted. I still drank, because I've developed a taste for certain beers and Islay malts, but nothing compared to what I'd been drinking. Back in the UK I don't know anyone who smokes so back to the booze. I'd suggest decriminalising cannabis is the easiest, cheapest method of reducing alcohol harm but you are all intelligent people and must already know this - presumably the alcohol industry would suffer.

    I'm following the work of David Nutt and his non-damaging alcohol replacement with interest.

    1. jake Silver badge

      Re: Drinking at an international level

      Even the usually chemically deluded Freak Brothers knew that smoking grass and drinking alcohol together is like pissing into the wind.

  24. James Anderson

    Misleading Statistics

    If you take any plot which measures consumption against population where there is a noticeable difference between minimum and maximum consumption. There will always be a point on the graph where you can say the top n % consume N% of the stuff.

    I personally consume infinitely more alcohol than my tea-total cousin.

    1. A K Stiles

      Re: Misleading Statistics

      In a graph of my siblings alcohol consumption you'd see that the younger 50% drinks 100% of the booze. Does it tell you anything significant though?

  25. BGatez

    Cheap "fix" that's a proven failure

    High prices have never deterred substance abuse in the past but of course is MUCH less expensive to implement than actually fixing the cause of abuse.

  26. bigtimehustler

    Clearly the state needs to intervene? Why? Let people live their lives, if that is what they want to do and it kills them, so be it. God, its not for some of society to decide what's right for the other. Freedom to choose.

  27. TsVk!

    Typical that statistical academics aren't able to defferentiate between cause and outcome.

    All that raising the price of alcohol will do is cause people who are already experiencing social and psychological issues to experience financial issues as well. Widespread alcohol abuse is clearly a symptom of unhappy people, not the cause.

    1. BluesDealer

      Re: Typical that statistical academics aren't able to defferentiate between cause and outcome.

      I definitely agree. However, it is a self-perpetuating cycle of unhappiness, as many forms of escapism tend to be. People without hope resort to dull/escape pain rather than dealing with the root cause(s).

      1. Anonymous Coward
        Anonymous Coward

        Re: Typical that statistical academics aren't able to defferentiate between cause and outcome.

        Perhaps because they have no way to address the root causes and they are simply dead-ended, meaning escape is their ONLY recourse beyond escape of a permanent sort, which then leaves us to deal with the widows and orphans...

  28. Colthefish

    "Give my people plenty of beer. Good beer. Cheap beer.

    And you shall have no revolution among them"

    Queen Victoria

    Good enough for me.......

    <")))))><

  29. BluesDealer

    That's OK. It's more affordable to be a lightweight. (^.^)

    Plus, I think a lot of Americans here underestimate the echoes of Prohibition. That had a lasting impact on our culture. The average American per capita consumption of alcohol back that was astronomically higher than it is even today... to the tune of 3.9 gallons.

    1. Charles 9 Silver badge

      But the population was also a ton smaller, too, and less diverse. With more people and a higher degree of less-tolerant cultures, that could have an effect on the per-capita figures. What if you narrowed the population just to those types that were present during the Depression? Where would the per-capita figures go: up or down?

  30. EBG

    lies, damned lies, and stats

    top ten per cent of Australia’s boozy population downs more than half of the alcohol consumed in the country

    Designed to misslead, of course. That stat within a specific demographic might be meaningful, but I would expect a 25 y.o. male to drink more alcohol than a 2 y.o. baby.

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