Alcohol consumption

The UK is the only country among 21 countries where alcohol consumption has increased during the Covid pandemic

While Europe dries up… Britain drinks! The UK is the only country among 21 countries where alcohol consumption has increased during the Covid pandemic, research shows

  • Researchers have found that the UK is the only country out of 21 to have increased its alcohol consumption
  • The volunteers asked how often they drank and how much they drank
  • A survey questionnaire showed people in the UK were drinking more before the pandemic










Alcohol consumption has plummeted in countries across Europe during the Covid pandemic – but not in the UK.

Out of 21 European countries, the UK was the only one to see an increase in alcohol consumption, a study has found.

Researchers surveyed almost 32,000 people across Europe, including 836 in the UK, between April and July last year.

The volunteers were asked about changes over the previous month in how often they drank, how much they drank, and how often they binged.

Out of 21 European countries, the UK was the only one to see an increase in alcohol consumption, a study finds

Responses were used to calculate an average score of minus one to one, with a negative number indicating a reduction in alcohol consumption and a positive number indicating an increase.

The average score across the 21 countries was minus 0.14, while the UK score was 0.1, according to the study published in the journal Addiction.

This may be linked to the national drinking culture, with the study’s questionnaire showing that people in the UK drank more than those in the other 20 countries even before the pandemic.

In Ireland, average alcohol consumption remained about the same on average, while there were reductions in all other countries – including Albania, Finland, Greece, Italy, Slovakia and Spain.

Researchers surveyed nearly 32,000 people across Europe, including 836 in the UK, between April and July last year

Researchers surveyed nearly 32,000 people across Europe, including 836 in the UK, between April and July last year

Carolin Kilian, lead author of the study from the University of Dresden in Germany, said: “In the UK, the frequency of drinking and the amount of alcohol consumed per day increased slightly, while binge drinking alcohol did not change on average.”

The authors suggest that alcohol consumption is a “maladaptive coping strategy” used to cope with the psychological effects of social isolation, insecurity and money problems.

There were far fewer occasions to drink during the lockdown, the study authors point out, with no more parties, concerts or family celebrations, or travel-related drinking occasions, on planes and on cruise ships or hotels.

But the British still managed to drink more, compared to their continental neighbors.

The online survey, which collected responses between April 24 and July 22, determined the difference in people’s alcohol consumption by comparing it to the amount they usually drank, based on a survey.

For example, people may say that they drank a little or a lot more often, the same amount, or a little or a lot less often in the last month compared to before.

Responses to the three questions on frequency of alcohol consumption, frequency of binge drinking, and amount of alcohol were used to calculate an average score of minus one to one, with a negative number indicating a reduction average alcohol consumption in a country and a positive number indicating an increase.

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