Prost! Germans top drinkers poll
Wed Jul 21, 6:56 AM ET
By Paul Majendie
LONDON (Reuters) - Germans are Europe's worst binge drinkers with almost one in five believing "the point of drinking is to get drunk," according to a survey.
In the past, Britons have been condemned as the continent's prime offenders but the Mintel market research survey of 35,000 people painted a different picture.
"Although the Germans may not go drinking as often as the British, when they do drink, many want to get drunk," Mintel senior consumer analyst Michelle Strutton said on Wednesday.
The survey showed that 17 percent of German adults believe "the point of drinking is to get drunk." This was twice the proportion of adults in Britain who felt the same way.
"The fact that German adults are seemingly more inclined than the British to get drunk could help ease the British reputation for lavish drinking and an over-indulgent pub culture," Strutton said.
But the German Brewers' Association insisted the problem was not widespread.
Its managing director, Peter Hahn, told Reuters: "The majority of Germans are very moderate drinkers. Only a very small percentage don't know how to drink alcohol sensibly. So-called binge drinkers are a very small minority in Germany."
"Germany, like Britain, has a culture of beer drinking that dates back for centuries and so we know how to cope with alcohol," he said.
Britain has just launched a police crackdown on alcohol-fuelled violence with drunken yobs facing on-the-spot fines and rowdy pubs being closed down.
It is part of a government drive to stamp down on excessive boozing which has turned some British city centres into virtual no-go areas at weekends as drunken youths roam the streets.
Mintel said the beer market in France, Germany, Britain, Italy and Spain totalled around 59 billion euros (40 billion pounds) last year with the lion's share-- 40 percent -- taken by Germany just ahead of Britain on 39 percent.
The Germans, who have been ranked as the world's thirstiest beer drinkers after the insatiable Czechs, drank enough beer last year to fill 1,000 Olympic-size swimming pools.
"The high value share in the UK is mainly due to the high price of beer while in Germany it is down to high levels of beer drinking," Strutton said