“Drinking habits across the UK are changing. Last year a You Gov poll revealed that one in five adults don’t drink alcohol – that’s 15% of men and 21% of women, whilst three in ten say they are now drinking less than before the pandemic.
The UK’s most extensive study of drinking behaviours in 2019 also showed that 26% of 16-to-25-year-olds didn’t drink at all! As an older millennial, this is a very different drinking landscape from the one I grew up in. I entered adulthood in 1999 during the height of laddette culture when women were encouraged to frequently drink to excess with little regard for the consequences. Back then, alcopops were widely advertised, and drinking trends were spiraling, such that by 2004 British drinkers were each consuming, on average, the equivalent of over 100 bottles of wine every year.
No wonder, then, that my social life for the next twenty years revolved around a work-hard-play-hard cycle of weekend binge drinking, poor decisions, and inevitable hangovers, which for me and many people my age felt not just socially acceptable but expected