Tuesday, 15 December 2009



Drinkaware launches nationwide review of festive drinking habits

At least 602 million units of alcohol will be consumed at festive celebrations in December according to new research launched today (10th December) by alcohol awareness charity Drinkaware*. The equivalent of 265 million pints, 602 million shots of vodka or 286 million glasses of mulled wine will be guzzled on Christmas Day and work Christmas parties, with nearly half (47%) predicting they will drink more than the recommended daily unit guidelines.**

To determine the extent of British festive drinking, Drinkaware is today unveiling a live examination of the nation’s drinking habits. A seven square metre screen in Covent Garden in central London will link to a festive version of the charity’s unit calculator on the Drinkaware website*** available at www.drinkaware.co.uk, allowing people to enter what they’ve had to drink in the last 24 hours, compare their drinking to the rest of the nation and see how their calorie intake from alcohol fares against other festive food treats. Similar events in Glasgow, Leeds and Birmingham will make it easy for people across the country to take part in what is believed to be the largest-scale interactive assessment of the nation’s drinking ever undertaken.

According to Drinkaware research, one in seven GB adults (14%) drink more than they mean to over Christmas while one in six (16%) say December is the one month of the year they can drink and not feel guilty. More than one in three Brits (36%) will go to three or more festive-related events and more than half (53%) say they will drink alcohol at most or all festive parties they attend. More men are expected to drink over their unit guidelines during the festive season (54%) than women (41%).

Chris Sorek, Chief Executive of Drinkaware, says: “For many people, December and the festive season is a time for getting together with loved ones and celebrating over a drink or two, or even more! It might feel like party time, but it’s still really important to keep track of how much you’re drinking - the long term effects of drinking to excess can last for much longer than Christmas.

“Although it seems an enormous amount, it’s likely that 602 million units is actually an underestimate of how much alcohol we’ll slug over the festive season. Conducting an experiment to find out what Britain is drinking this Christmas will encourage people to think about how much they’ve had to drink over the last 24 hours and help to educate them about units at the same time.”

Information gathered from the live screen in Covent Garden and other events across the country will be captured on the Drinkaware website with a rolling average for each day. The survey will run for a month, the screen in Covent Garden will be live for one week while Glasgow, Leeds and Birmingham activity will run for five days. Results of the Drinkaware interactive survey will be reported in early 2010.


For further information, including interviews with spokespeople, please contact:

020 7693 6999/07890329191, drinkaware@frankpr.it

Drinkaware – 020 7307 7465 or 07827 971744, smccann@drinkaware.co.uk

Notes to Editors:
*Unit equivalents calculated by multiplying the average number of units consumed at festive occasions in December by the average number of occasions attended and extrapolated to the wider population of adults of drinking age. ICM interviewed a random sample of 2010 adults aged 18+ in GB from its online panel between 27th-29th November 2009. Surveys were conducted across the country and the results have been weighted to the profile of all adults. ICM is a member of the British Polling Council and abides by its rules. Further information at www.icmresearch.co.uk
**1 pint of 4% beer = 2.27 units; 1x175ml glass of mulled wine (12%)= 2.1 units; 1x25ml shot of vodka (40%)= 1 unit.

Drinkaware advises men to stay within the recommended guidelines of 3-4 units of alcohol per day (equivalent of a pint and a half of lager) and women to stay within 2-3 units per day (equivalent of a 175ml glass of wine).

***The unit calculator will be a focal point of the Drinkaware home page ‘takeover’ for December and will also be placed as an MPU on third party-sites such as MSN and Yahoo throughout the month. (An MPU, otherwise known as a multi-purpose unit is a square online advert usually found embedded in a web page in a fixed placement. Called ‘multiple purpose’ as it is a flexible shaped blank ‘canvas’ in which you can serve flat or more interactive content as desired. See also Rich Media, Universal Advertising Package).

• Drinkaware provides consumers with information to make informed decisions about the effects of alcohol on their lives and lifestyles. Our public education programmes, grants, expert information, and resources help create awareness and effect positive change. An independent charity established in 2007, Drinkaware works alongside the medical profession, the alcohol industry and government to achieve its goals. For further information visit www.drinkaware.co.uk

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