Europeans toast to tradition as drinking habits show little sign of change

Old drinking habits die hard. That’s the broad conclusion of a study this week that bundles Europeans into six main cluster groups when it comes to alcohol consumption.

Using data from the World Health Organization, the researchers tracked drinking trends in the EU, Iceland, Norway and Ukraine from the years 2000 to 2019.

Unsurprisingly, cultural factors and geography were seen to deeply influence the drinking patterns of Europeans – with little change observed over the years.

Published in the journal Addiction, the study offers up a comprehensive snapshot of continental quaffing habits while also weighing the related social and health impacts.

Not just cliches

Stereotypes such as wine-soaked Mediterranean dinners and frothy beer garden gatherings in Germany ring true. Stout still flows fast in Irish pubs, while Eastern Europeans continue to bond over shots of flavoured spirits.

“Europe’s distinct drinking patterns seem to be deeply rooted in culture and are therefore difficult to change,” said the study’s co-author, Jurgen Rehm.

Falling into the wine-drinking cluster are France, Greece, Italy, Portugal and Sweden. Despite drinking the most wine, this group had the lowest overall alcohol consumption because of its moderate appetite for beer and relative disinterest in spirits.

The wine cluster charted the lowest level of alcohol-related deaths.

Standing out for their high consumption of beer and moderate taste for spirits were Western European countries Germany, Austria and Belgium, as well as their Nordic neighbour Denmark.

Read more on RFI English

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