The death knell for booze? Young people drinking less and less

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The first alcohol-free pub in London is now pulling pints every night of the week as research shows young people are ever wearier of intoxication. Yet, despite this, alcohol mortality rates have shot up since the pandemic, with some areas in the North of England reporting figures almost double the national average. Check out’s interactive map below to see how your neck of the woods fares.

The Lucky Saint opened its doors earlier this month in Marylebone, central London. It is, however, quite unlike any other pub in the capital.

The cherished institution of the British boozer, incomplete without pork scratchings, a slot machine and of course, lukewarm beer, is in a state of decline, with more and more closing each year. London’s latest flipped the concept on its head by serving no booze at all.

Lucky Saint is the producer of Trustpilot’s top-rated alcohol-free beer. Conceived in the UK, brewed in Germany, sugar-free, vegan and containing a mere 53 calories, it is shaping up to be the tipple of choice for many.

Despite lacking what history would suggest is the key ingredient, the tee-total watering hole has so far received predominantly rave reviews. The demand is sure to be there, as data show the next generation is giving alcohol the cold shoulder.

Published last month on BMC Public Health, new research claims youth drinking is in decline in many high-income countries – with the age young people first start drinking increasing and the volume and frequency of alcohol consumption decreasing — especially in England.

Examining the reasons behind this by survey, the paper identifies three main explanations. The potential for alcohol-related harm was the most common answer, cited by 32 percent of respondents. Both long-term health risks such as liver disease and cardiovascular issues as well as short-term consequences like accidents and damage to relationships were referenced.

Over a quarter (27 percent) said a decrease in socialisation opportunities outside the home – replaced in large part by social media – as well as legislative crackdowns on underage drinking, had also led them to consume less.

Affordability was the third-most-popular answer given (22 percent), with interviewees claiming they simply lacked the financial resources for a night out, particularly in city centres.

The price of a pint in the UK has doubled over the past 20 years, while alcoholic beverages were eight percent more expensive than they were a year ago, according to the Office for National Statistics (ONS).

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Despite these findings, deaths from alcohol hit a record high in 2021, the last year for which figures are available, according to the ONS.

Alcohol-specific deaths – where the cause of death is assessed as a direct consequence of alcohol consumption – numbered 9,641 in England during the year, a 27.4 percent increase on pre-pandemic levels.

The associated mortality rate for 2021 was 14.8 per 100,000 – up from 11.8 in 2019. Broken down by region, this figure was found to be highest in the North East (50.4) and lowest in the East of England (32.3).

At a local authority level, Blackpool stands out as having a significantly higher alcohol-specific death rate than anywhere else at 77.5 per 100,000 residents. The seaside resort was followed by Sunderland (64.4) and Bolsover (59.7). The lowest recorded number was in East Hampshire (20.2).

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