Well according to the British Beer and Pub Association (BBPA) it has. They say that 2009 consumption of wine, beer and spirits was 6% down on 2008 and is now 13% less than in 2004. They also claim that UK consumption is below the EU average.

Well not in Chez Taylor it isn't!

With one in ten pubs shutting its doors in the last five years and UK brewery and distilling jobs on the line, it is the responsibility of every patriotic Brit during this recession to prop up the bar and down the pints of bitter, mild and cider as well as scotch and UK distilled vodka.

Having for many years assumed that one bottle equals one unit I have been battling to reach the government guidelines on consumption with mixed results. Many times this has resulted in embarrassing events (if I can even remember them). I have been doing my bit, have you?

Seriously though, looking at the figures from the BBPA quoted in the Independent there is a definite disconnect between this and what health chiefs and tax hungry politicians are saying.

"In January, the Office for National Statistics said that adults consumed 12.2 units of alcohol a week on average in 2008 compared with 13.5 units in 2006. “This reflects the downward trend in consumption that has been observed since 2002,” the ONS said."

But the health service claims it is creaking under the strain of alcohol and the government swiftly steps up to the mark with its revenue collection hat on. The public in general are being daily branded as secret drinkers in denial of their 'real' personal consumption. Makes you think that most of us wander around all day in an alcoholic haze with a brown paper bag wrapped bottle inside our jacket pockets or handbags (OK I admit it). Then they say we stumble into our cars and cause mayhem on the roads.

The answer said the last government is to have pubs and clubs open longer. More exposure to the presence of alcohol will dim out want for it. Well that worked didn't it? Actually yes it may have done as consumption is falling.

But  if surveyed consumption figures are dropping, either those that fill in the surveys are lying or the fewer people that are drinking are causing a disproportionate amount of cost to the NHS and carnage on the roads.

Many put the problems down to binge drinking by the few. So raising the cost of alcohol overall may just lead people to only binge drinking at weekends. Saving up during the week for that big blow-out on Saturday night.

It may be the addiction some in our society have for binge drinking and achieving the state 'paralytic' that is the problem. A sort of belief for these mostly young people that the only source of 'enjoyment' or 'fulfilment' is the contents of a bottle. Has it not always been thus for some? A sad indictment and something a hike in tax or cost will not address.

Now where's that Cabernet Sauvignon?

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