Welsh are the most likely in the UK to be drinking LESS since before lockdown was imposed

Lockdown was predicted to cause a sharp rise in alcohol consumption and binge-drinking but most UK drinkers (65%) actually drank the same, less or stopped drinking altogether during lockdown compared to previously. In the weeks following the reopening of the hospitality sector, this trend has continued. Brits are continuing to drink in moderation, but more and more are choosing to do so at the pub. Wales is no exception to this trend and, though Welsh pubs only recently reopened their doors, more than a third (37%) of Welsh adults have returned to the pub at least once.

Welsh drinkers continue to drink in moderation despite the reopening of pubs

The latest YouGov survey commissioned by the Portman Group (2,296 UK adults, 12-13 August) shows that the moderate majority continues to prevail in the UK, even with the much-celebrated reopening of pubs. In fact, of those who drink alcohol, even more people are now drinking the same, less, or have cut out alcohol altogether, than during lockdown. These figures have increased from 65% in May 2020 to 88% in August 2020. This shows an ongoing trend of people drinking less during this unprecedented time and supports data by Nielsen which showed that in the 17-week period covering lockdown to 11 July 2020 Brits consumed almost 1.3bn litres of alcohol during the UK’s lockdown period, almost half the 2bn litres consumed in the same period last year.

The survey data for Wales shows that:

  • 88% of Welsh drinkers are drinking the same (49%), less (31%) or have cut alcohol out altogether (8%) since the hospitality sector reopened compared to before lockdown.
  • Welsh drinkers are the most likely to have cut down or cut out alcohol (39%), compared to drinkers in Scotland (33.5%), England (31%) and Northern Ireland (24%).
  • 5% of Welsh drinkers said they were drinking more since the hospitality sector reopened than before lockdown, though only by a little. We encourage anyone concerned about their own, or another persons’, drinking to visit Drinkaware or the NHS online for free advice and guidance.
  • The moderate majority of Welsh drinkers (68%) continue to drink responsibly, within the Chief Medical Officer guidelines of 14 units per week. Weekly intakes remain similar to before lockdown.

More than a third of Welsh pubgoers returned to their local

While many of us continue to drink at home, a great number of Welsh adults have resumed much loved habits of gathering at their local pub. Pubs have put in place diligent social distancing measures to ensure that communities can revisit pubs while feeling safe and secure.

It’s not just drinkers who have been making the most of the pubs reopening, pubs have long been a happy and inclusive environment for all members of the community. The recent period has seen Welsh adults making a cautious return to many much-loved venues, with over a third (37%) making their way back to the pub since their doors reopened on 3 August.

Speaking about the results of the survey, John Timothy, CEO of the Portman Group, the social responsibility and regulatory body for alcohol in the UK, commented:

“During the course of the COVID-19 crisis there has been a fear that many people would turn to alcohol and that misuse would increase. Yet the Welsh are showing continued moderation both at home and, happily, now back at the pub. It’s great to see people supporting their community pubs while drinking sensibly and maintaining social distancing”.

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