Dry January seems like a distant memory, and after weeks of lockdown, we no longer need our arms to be twisted to have an alcoholic drink. Before the pandemic, 25% of pub visits were alcohol-free, and another 45% opting for low-alcohol offerings.
The anti-booze agenda says that fridges should be stocked and predominantly promote alcohol-free drinks, as a response to consumer demand, and the ‘sober-curious’ idea. This would imply that anyone who enjoys a drink is a hopeless drunk. While a binge culture is also evidential, some enjoy just a drink or two.
Marketing campaigns and press releases are also on the booze-free bandwagon. A Glasgow based brewery has made ‘a vitamin C-rich alcohol-free pale ale launched to fight the common cold’, and ‘boost battered immune systems across the UK.’
Sick of alcohol being demonised?
More annoying are the ones are written in the manner of Mary Poppins, all of which are ‘super excited’ to share the latest alcohol-free alternative that makes me want to shout expletives. Not because they all sound the same, but because I am so tired of people going on about cutting alcohol consumption. I feel sorry for those who can drink responsibility, as alcohol is becoming demonised. Is the Temperance movement going to make a comeback?
No more social distancing
While we have all been able to stay connected and reconnect during the COVID-19 worldwide crisis, we have missed being social. People do not want to speak to their screens, but to faces and new faces too – and hear the stories and antidotes that come with that. Loneliness is a big killer, and we should be promoting the benefits of getting out to the pub more.
Friends on Tap, the study funded by the Campaign for Real Ale (CAMRA), shows that people who use “local” pubs near where they live or work tend to have more close friends. It says that pubs help to provide a robust social network that improves happiness and overall health.
Furthermore, researchers from the Department of Experimental Psychology at Oxford University found that smaller “community-style” pubs are better than larger city-centre pubs for maintaining more close friends.
People who drink alcohol in pubs tend to have more extended conversations with those around them. For city bars, people tended to check their phone often and leave conversations more than at local places.
There is no pretending that alcoholism is a problem, and many may feel that they have drunk more than they usually would during the lockdown. Having been in the trade a long time, I have known many people that should not have been served, and have offered advice and support too. As with any addiction, it is up to the individual to change their outlook.
Too much alcohol will impact your liver, skin, raise your testosterone levels and even hamper your muscle growth. However, making time to respect the drink will provide a bounty of wellbeing benefits.
Go to the pub!
Whether your just visit to be social and increase your sense of wellbeing, or if you are there to enjoy a drink, it is clear that the pub is the place to be at the moment. Plus, it will help boost the economy too!