Drinking at home is now the norm for Irish drinkers but knowledge of alcohol guidelines lacking

Lifestyle Reporter

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Lifestyle Reporter

46% of Irish people believe drinking to excess is ‘no big deal’

Drinking at home has become the norm.

Almost three-quarters (72%) of drinking occasions in Ireland take place in the home, according to the latest Drinkaware research, the Drinkaware Index, which also revealed that avoiding alcohol on a ‘work night’ and not drinking for a fixed time period are the most popular strategies Irish drinkers use to reduce their consumption.

During the Christmas party season, Drinkaware is encouraging everyone to get the facts on the guidelines and try out some tips for less harmful drinking, especially at home.

The Drinkaware Index found that setting personal restrictions including avoiding alcohol on a ‘work night’ (50%), not drinking for a fixed time period (42%) and staying out of rounds (40%) are the most commonly used moderation techniques by Irish adults who drink.

Drinkaware has three top tips for less harmful drinking at home this Christmas:

- Always use a measure for spirits or wine. Never free-pour - this can make it almost impossible to know how much you are drinking. Order one for free
- Alternate each drink with a glass of water to reduce the dehydration associated with alcohol. Keep a jug of water handy to make this easier.
- Stock up on non-alcoholic alternatives for you and your guests. There is now a wide variety to take advantage of so it’s a good time to make the swap.

Sheena Horgan, CEO, Drinkaware said: “Christmas is a time for celebration, which is something we all look forward to, but it also presents more opportunities to drink than any other. The Drinkaware Index research clearly shows that the majority of people - 98% - do not know the low-risk alcohol guidelines, which in turn means they don’t have a clear understanding of what misuse is or how at risk they may be. Drinking at home can present its own issues that make it more likely a person will drink more alcohol than intended. For example, we have seen a rise in the number of people who find it increasingly easy to drink a full bottle of wine or six-pack of beer a few times a week, without setting out to or even realising until it’s too late. There are a number of factors at play here – people are comfortable, relaxed - but top of list really is free-pouring of spirits and wine.

"We have found that December is one of the busiest times for Drinkaware where last year 700 people ordered our measure cup and calorie calculator over a two week period, and 9,000 people used our online Drinks Calculator to find out the impact of their drinking habits.

"These practical tools put standard drinks and the guidelines into context and without this information, we can’t expect people to feel a need to change their drinking habits. Our message this Christmas is to plan ahead. If you will be entertaining guests in your home or would simply like to keep track of your own drinking over the festive season, order a free pack now.”