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2,000 years of binge drinking (in Britain)

 
 
goodfielder
 
  1  
Reply Tue 22 Nov, 2005 05:51 am
I remember going into a supermarket in Sankt Goar. One half of the store was devoted to was groceries the other half was devoted to beer. I was torn. Luckily I wasn't travelling alone. We split up. I grabbed a trolley and got the beer. She got the groceries.
0 Replies
 
Walter Hinteler
 
  1  
Reply Tue 22 Nov, 2005 06:18 am
Yes, some the Lorley isn't only a pretty looking girl but helpful and understanding as well (only for those, not steering a ship on the Rhine river I should add).

Nowadays, the 'drinking departments' in supermarkets here are smaller - they got their own, much bigger buildings and only a few are on display in the markets itself. (So the small building is the supermarket, the huge one is for beer.)
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Walter Hinteler
 
  1  
Reply Tue 22 Nov, 2005 11:54 am
More serious than just amusing:
Quote:


SWEDEN: State monopoly launches PR offensive

22 Nov 2005
Source: just-drinks.com editorial team



Sweden's state-owned retail monopoly Systembolaget is launching an SEK8m (US$960,000) ad campaign to defend its hold on alcohol sales in the country.

Systembolaget, which owns and operates all liquor stores in Sweden, made the case for the monopoly in a letter to European Commission President Jose Manuel Barroso, and in a newspaper ad to be published today in the Financial Times.

The ad, headlined "Dear Mr. Barroso, Here's why you should consider cutting down on drinking", highlights drinking problems in Europe, and suggests the Swedish monopoly has helped keep down the country's alcohol consumption.

The campaign also includes ads in Swedish papers and a short film on the Internet promoting the monopoly.

"The message we want to aim at Barroso is that the alcohol issue is important," Systembolaget president Anitra Steen told Swedish radio. "The other thing is that we have a working model in Sweden that we want to keep."

Sweden has faced pressure to relax its stringent controls on alcohol sales since joining the European Union in 1995. EU officials say the monopoly is inconsistent with the free movement of goods in the single market, while Sweden argues it is needed to protect public health.

Sweden has been forced to ease some of its import restrictions on alcohol, but maintains high taxes on alcohol.

Systembolaget's sales have dropped, especially in the southern part of the country, due to the increased cross-border shopping to Denmark and Germany, where duty is lower.

Source
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hamburger
 
  1  
Reply Tue 22 Nov, 2005 02:34 pm
binge drinking
here is a link to the BBC story...SWEDES SENSIBLE DRINKERS ?... quite a good report on drinking habits and social costs. hbg

nb. in ontario, spirits(by the bottle) can still only be purchased in government stores, but while the stores were quite drab and unwelcoming when we came to ontario, they are now almost opulent and their advertising has become quite slick :...LCBO...
canadian wines can now be puchased in some grocery stores where they have to be displayed in a separate section.
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AngeliqueEast
 
  1  
Reply Tue 22 Nov, 2005 02:46 pm
Wow
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Walter Hinteler
 
  1  
Reply Wed 23 Nov, 2005 01:32 am
Quote:
24-hour drinking: a sober assessment
The licensing laws change at midnight, but is the glass half-full or half-empty?


Published: 23 November 2005
Binge Drinking: Will 24-hour licensing laws increase it?

Ministers say the move will lead to Continental-style drinking. Instead of gulping down pints towards 11pm, drinkers will be under no pressure. Police can close rowdy bars and fine licensees for selling to drunkards and children. Disorderly drinkers will face £80 on-the-spot fines.

Medical and academic experts are pessimistic: by increasing availability, the amount of drinking will rise. It is likely to follow existing patterns which will mean binge drinking, particularly among young people. Academics cite experiments in Iceland, the Republic of Ireland and Australia as evidence.

Long-term health: Will the new laws lead to a rise in health problems caused by excessive drinking?

The Culture Secretary, Tessa Jowell, believes people will become more sensible drinkers, so the prevalence of illness will decline. In any case, Britons are not the heaviest drinkers in Europe. In a European study last year, Finland and Ireland were the worst offenders. Britain was third.

Doctors expect more liver and heart disease, mouth cancer and injuries from accidents, fights and falls. Liver disease is rising among heavy drinkers, particularly women. Martin Shalley, president of the British Association for Emergency Medicine, says: "The laws will make things worse."

Violence: Will the new laws increase drink-fuelled disturbances?

Violent crime has risen relentlessly over the past decade, fuelled by alcohol, and convictions for being drunk and disorderly have doubled. Ministers say inflexible licensing laws are the problem, encouraging binge-drinking and forcing revellers on to the streets at the same time.

The Institute of Alcohol Studies concluded liberalisation led to more violent disorder. A police report predicted an "increase in the number of investigations of drink-related crimes, such as rape, assault, homicide and domestic violence". Hospitals fear there will be more victims of crime.

Culture: What cultural impact will late-night opening have?

Ministers are seeking a "café society", where families can drop in at all hours to share a bottle of wine or have a beer. Tessa Jowell said existing laws implied the French, the Germans, the Italians, the Australians and the Scots were "more biologically civilised than the English".

The new flexibility will produce a booze free-for-all that blights, rather than benefits, towns and cities. Unlike England and Wales, other countries with relaxed licensing laws have a mature attitude to alcohol that sees no merit in all-you-can-drink promotions and happy hour deals.

Profits boom: Will 24-hour drinking be a financial bonanza for the pubs?

The industry says few pubs will open for 24 hours. Most will open an hour or two longer, and may lose money if they attract few drinkers. They will have to pay for extra running costs. The new system increases the cost of licences. The British Beer and Pub Association predicts "little or no profit".

Pub industry takings could rise significantly. One estimate is that the turnover could increase by £1bn for 30,000 pubs seeking an extra five hours. Andrew McNeill, of the Institute of Alcohol Studies, said: "These new laws are about selling more alcohol and larger profits for the drinks industry."

Public support: Is there widespread backing for 24-hour licences?

The Government believes the silent majority backs liberalisation, and argues that people are frustrated when on a night out they cannot enjoy a drink after 11pm. Ministers say holidaymakers returning from the Continent wonder why this country cannot have the same late-night bar culture.

A Populus poll in September found that 62 per cent opposed the changes. Women were three to one against later opening. Only those in the 18 to 24 age group were in favour. Four out of five of people over 65 were opposed. More than three fifths of the public feared "serious problems for society".

Source
0 Replies
 
Walter Hinteler
 
  1  
Reply Wed 23 Nov, 2005 11:52 am
Quote:

Wednesday, 23 November 2005, 13:00 GMT
'A third of pubs' to open longer

About one-third of all the pubs, clubs and shops in England and Wales licensed to sell alcohol are to get longer opening hours, BBC research suggests


New licensing laws which allow pubs to apply for 24-hour drinking in some areas come into force at midnight.

Of the 375 licensing authorities surveyed, 301 responded in full. BBC News 24 researchers found 60,326 outlets can sell alcohol for longer.

But only 1,121, including 359 pubs and clubs, are getting 24-hour licences.

Licensing Minister James Purnell said the new laws would be coupled with the "toughest ever crackdown on alcohol fuelled violence".

A rise in the number of arrests could be a measure of the success of powers in the Licensing Act, he said.

Mr Purnell told BBC Radio 4's Today programme: "We are not saying that crime itself will go up.

"What we are saying is that we are giving the police more powers and we do expect there to be more prosecutions."

Mr Purnell added that premises which sell to underage youngsters will be putting their licence at risk - and he stressed that this would include supermarkets.

"It is absolutely clear that the current system has not worked," said the minister.

"Let's not penalise the majority of responsible drinkers because of the crimes of a minority.

"There should be a very clear principle here - that if people are not causing harm to others, government should get out of their personal lives."

The BBC survey found:


• There have been 60,326 extensions in hours for selling alcohol - this is from 301 of the 375 authorities, so the final figure will be higher.

• 1,121 establishments will have 24-hour licences and of these 359 are pubs or clubs.

• South East England has the largest number of approved licences - 10,500.

• Some 5,200 extensions have been approved in London - but just 14 pubs or clubs can open for 24 hours.

• More than 150 pubs or clubs in the south and west of England gained 24-hour licences, with just eight in the West Midlands.

The survey results come after ministers warned that the introduction of more relaxed licensing laws on Thursday is likely to lead to an increase in alcohol related arrests.

Shadow culture secretary Theresa May said the logic of the government's plans was "absurd".

She told BBC News: "The government has got it the wrong way round.

"They should have been doing something about binge drinking before looking at extending the licensing hours."

'Urban myth'

Mrs May said it was of "great concern" that a "significant number, if not a majority" of premises that would have 24-hour drinking were supermarkets and petrol stations, which she said were often frequented by underage drinkers.

She concluded that the change "will lead to more disorder", adding that "government ministers have accepted that there will be more crime as a result of these laws".

But Mark Hastings from the British Beer and Pub Association welcomed the changes.

He said: "We've been saying for a long time that the result of this change would be a relatively modest increase in overall licensing hours, that 24-hour opening was an urban myth, and certainly 24-hour drinking would be an urban myth.

"What we're actually seeing is that at last in this country adults are going to be treated like grown-ups and given a little bit of choice about having a social life beyond 11 o'clock at night."
Source
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Steve 41oo
 
  1  
Reply Wed 23 Nov, 2005 12:00 pm
goodfielder wrote:
Despite the then restrictive hours you could get a drink at any time if you knew where to look (legally). We have very, very liberal licensing laws now and our society hasn't fallen apart (it was always like this).

Very Happy


Laughing
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Steve 41oo
 
  1  
Reply Wed 23 Nov, 2005 12:06 pm
Of course what our elders and betters are trying to do is turn us into responsible drinkers. That is mature people who understand alcohol, what it gives, and what it takes. Instead of pouring 4 5 or more pints down one's neck in a race against closing time, the Government wants us to relax a little and grow up realising that if drink is what you really want, then its available.

Of course there is a basic flaw in the argument here. It assumes Brits as normal mature adults will assume a normal mature attitude towards alcohol. Brits are not like that.
0 Replies
 
Walter Hinteler
 
  1  
Reply Fri 25 Nov, 2005 01:20 am
Quote:
The liver specialist then went on television to criticise the introduction of 24-hour drinking. It reflected a society that was "falling apart," he said. "People will go in and start drinking earlier, drink larger amounts of alcohol and, because there is no closing time, go on and on."


The end of the road: George Best 'enters his final hours'
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Walter Hinteler
 
  1  
Reply Fri 25 Nov, 2005 01:27 am
And from another report in today's Independent:

Quote:
France regards itself as a nation which knows how to take its drink, unlike, say, the Scandinavians or the British. But a hard-hitting report presented to the government suggested the entire country is in a state of alcoholic denial.
[...]
The semi-official study undermines an argument used by the Blair government for extending Britain's pub opening hours. Spreading drinking over a longer period, as France does, does not necessarily reduce alcohol-related social ills.

France does have a drink problem, survey reveals
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goodfielder
 
  1  
Reply Fri 25 Nov, 2005 02:01 am
A couple of very interesting links there Walter.

I'm going to go all middle class now and say that the answer is - "education."

In my state until 1967 we had 6 pm closing. It was called, with good reason, the "Six o-clock Swill." I was too young to indulge back then but I saw plenty of blokes staggering out of the pub just after six as I came home from footy training. It was disgusting. Then in 1967 we had opening until 10 pm. No more Swill. People's drinking habits changed almost overnight. Coming home from footy practice was no longer as interesting Very Happy

Restricting hours for alcohol sales may well be a useful social policy tool in some situations but I would think it's better to relax the hours but educate people in "responsible" drinking.

Lord E has made the point that people don't know how to have a few sociable pints in the pub any longer. I agree. Perhaps the question should be asked as to why that is.
0 Replies
 
Walter Hinteler
 
  1  
Reply Fri 25 Nov, 2005 02:07 am
Fully agree with you, both of you.

(As it is mostly known here, I'm an acloholic myself.
One of my primary aims - when I did 'drug prevention' with kids/youth - was to educate responsibility when drinking.

Got some - more then - quite astonished flash-backs. :wink: )
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Ceili
 
  1  
Reply Fri 25 Nov, 2005 02:51 am
I worked in the bar/pub industry for years.I learned one thing very quickly, if people want to get drunk - they will. The more time you give people, the less convictions they have. The new hours won't lessen so much as prolong binge drinking.

Alcohol in Alberta is sold in private stores, under very strict guide lines.
No minors 18+, hours of operation are anywhere between 11 am - 1 am. Or as offsales in select bars depending on the liquor license - bars can serve between 11am and 2 am - all patrons must vacate the premises by 3 am. No exceptions.

It hasn't cured alcoholism.
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Steve 41oo
 
  1  
Reply Fri 25 Nov, 2005 06:30 am
Alcohol is basically a poison. We even use the expression "whats your poison?" when offering a drink.

Its also addictive. So its a drug like many others.

But that doesnt mean it should be banned. Nor in my view does it mean the Government has the right to restrict the individual from ingesting into their own body what ever substance they want. I think there is a very good case to make for legalising all drugs. In an ideal world people would understand what affect various narcotics have on the human body, realise their long term harm, and basically just stay away from them. So it would not be illegal to purchase cocaine, but the market would not be there because people would be too sensible.

BUT PEOPLE ARE NOT SENSIBLE. This is the problem. We dont live in an ideal world. There are some really dangerous and addictive substances out there (the worst because of its widespread mis use is probably alcohol) and some people will always form a ready market. Govt.s imo must assume a duty of care to minimise the harm done, if necessary by keeping drugs out of the hands of the potential consumer.

But everyone knows you cant eliminate a problem such as excessive drinking by decree. The key as gf said is education.

In theory I'm a libertarian on this issue, but in practice we need regulation and education. The sad demise of George Best and the pictures of him in hospital that the family wanted published do a valuable public service imo.
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Francis
 
  1  
Reply Fri 25 Nov, 2005 06:50 am
Steve - how about if I told you: dont touch that Chablis!
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Steve 41oo
 
  1  
Reply Fri 25 Nov, 2005 07:03 am
which year?
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Francis
 
  1  
Reply Fri 25 Nov, 2005 07:20 am
1990 or 1997
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Steve 41oo
 
  1  
Reply Fri 25 Nov, 2005 07:22 am
go on then send me a crate of each. Invoice to my account c/o a2k
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Merry Andrew
 
  1  
Reply Fri 25 Nov, 2005 07:23 am
I doubt that the new laws will make so much so much a scintilla of difference in the general drinking habits of the majority of Brits. The only differece will be that the habitual drunks and alcoholics will now have more leisure to indulge their addiction. The sensible drinkers will continue to drink sensiblt. Drunards are conspicuous by their behavior. This blinds us to the fact that they are a minority. You see half a dozen drunk zombies staggering out of a pub at closing time and assume that everyone who frquented that pub got drunk there. Not so. What will happen -- to use Goodfielder's anecdote -- is that you'll see drunks reeling out of pubs at different times of the day and night, not just at 5 o'clock or 11 o'clock closing. But they'll still be a minority.

Like Walter, I, too, am an alcoholic in recovery. Closing times never had any effect on my drinking when I was drinking. Unless, of course, I suddenly realized that it was 10 minutes to closing and there wasn't much left in the house to drink. Then I moved like a speeding bullet to remedy the situation! So, maybe you'll just see less people running down the street to beat closing time. Smile
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