Drinking habits - Sofa replaces the high stool

IT is no great calamity that the centrality of the pub in Irish culture is no longer secure but it would be foolish to imagine that a fall in drink sales in pubs, of 14%, means people are drinking less.

Though publicans and those they employ will be concerned, the drinks sector has adapted by selling a far greater proportion of their products through off-licences and supermarkets than previously. This is confirmed by the increase of 15% in off-licence sales in the first seven months of the year.

The perception that many underage drinkers find it far easier to source alcohol in off-licences and supermarkets will, in this context, give cause for concern.

There were many reasons to change our pub habits but it would be a tragedy if they were replaced by hundreds of thousands of people drinking alone without constraint and the threats that freedom poses.


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