Friday, 2 August 2019

Under pressure

The Morning Advertiser reports on a survey which claims that Millennials feel five times more likely to be pressurised into drinking alcohol when socialising than older generations. Now, this has to be taken with a considerable pinch of salt, as it has been produced on behalf of a maker of low- and zero-alcohol punches, but it completely flies in the face of my own experience.

I would say that, over the past twenty years, the pressure to drink alcohol on social occasions has greatly reduced, and in many situations not drinking has become the norm. This is particularly the case with anything connected with work, after hours as well as at lunchtime. Indeed, it is often the person who chooses an alcoholic drink who stands out and ends up being stigmatised. When visiting friends and relatives, you are much less likely to be routinely offered an alcoholic drink than you once were.

Back in 2002 I asked Can a responsible person ever be seen with an alcoholic drink in their hand?

Twelve people from my workplace went out to the pub one Friday for someone’s birthday. Apart from myself and one other, it was a round of ten Diet Cokes, including one for the person who was supposed to be celebrating. Anyone would think that a pint of bitter or a glass of wine would have them throwing up over the boss or copying their backsides on the photocopier. Is it any wonder that the licensed trade and the brewing industry are in such a bad way?
And it certainly hasn’t got any less so in the intervening years.

It would be interesting to be given examples of precisely in what kind of situations people do feel pressurised into drinking, as I really don’t see this at all. One area where this is often mentioned is in social life in higher education institutions, but they provide a huge range of activities, most of which don’t involve drinking in any way. The fact that someone has organised a Carnage pub crawl doesn’t mean you’re under any obligation to go on it.

The article says that people don’t drink alcohol on two out of three social occasions, so the pressure can’t really be that intense. If they truly were having their arms twisted to drink, surely we wouldn’t be seeing so many pubs closing. And, if you really don’t much care for drinking, but most of your friends seem to do nothing else, maybe it’s time to find some new friends.

In reality, this is an example of the common phenomenon of something attracting more criticism as it becomes less popular. We have seen exactly the same happening with smoking. Forty years ago, there undoubtedly would have been more social pressure to drink, but nobody complained about it back then.

23 comments:

  1. I'd have to agree with all that. Only last week we went for a night out round Chorley and me and Mrs Bucko were the only couple that was both drinking. The others all had one driver and din't even bother cadging a lift like we did. (And we're all in our thirties / forties)
    There seem to be a lot of articles these days about how younger people are bothering with booze less and less, so your conclusion that the authors may be biased is likely to be correct

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  2. I am really not sure what I find more irritating, these endless surveys and articles about how the Millennial generation has it hard/are changing markets/blah, blah, blah, or the fact that society seems to judge a person's fitness for their job on what they do outside the office environment. At the same time if a person wants a diet soda in the pub that is their choice and good luck to them, though maybe next time arrange to go to a fucking pret-a-manger. I wish I could remember the comedian I saw who basically pointed out that the Millennial generation are actually the most universally sterile and boring cohort in human history. He has a point, and yes I am sure we all know exceptions, but still the basic premise remains.

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    1. Can't agree with this. I work with many young people and also chat with them in bars here in the US. I think you undersell them. I find them engaging in their ideas, active in their lives and a joy to talk with.

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  3. I love it when those born into a generation where a degree was a passport into the middle class, houses were affordable and a burning campaign was something as bourgeois as real ale, have a pop at the kids. Yeh Daddio. To quote the commies the kids all like. "They will bury you"

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    1. You're misreading my point - I'm not having a go at Millennials, rather at a survey that to my mind bears little relation to reality.

      And back in the day degrees were a lot harder to come by than they are now.

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    2. Harder to come by? They were free and they didn't come with a load of old codgers claiming all your efforts were for devalued paper.

      If I was a kid today, I'd mug off boozing in a world where employers can google your name and see all your youthful indiscretions.

      You all created this world, they only inherited it. It's your fault, not theirs.

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  4. Always used to shock my colleagues in the USA when we went out for lunch, by having two pints of beer with the meal usually. They drank water. Drinking an alcoholic drink off premises was not banned by the organisation.

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    1. Noon drinking is pretty much banned at this point for most US employees. Other than an "outing" daytime drinking is pretty much over. Even a pint would be frowned upon.

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    2. How on earth do they get to sleep in the afternoon without a lunchtime drink?

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    3. Hope you are OK in view of the current situation in Whaley Bridge :-)

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    4. Thanks Mudge.
      I live well high so no danger.
      But difficult to get out. My nearest open watering hole is Bugsworth Club

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  5. I agree with you Curmudgeon; the results of this survey don't really correspond with what I see when I go out for a drink. There has always been an element of young people egging each other on in drinking terms; it is scarcely a new phenomenon. In fact, I've seen it this week with groups of young people all simultaneously knocking back shots in one go.

    I'm not sure why Cooking Lager has chosen to make this some kind of intergenerational conflict when the MA article is quite clear that so-called millennials feel pressured by their peers to drink more. I also wonder about the methodology of the survey and whether the 2,000 participants were self-selected because, if they were, the survey is largely meaningless.

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  6. The Stafford Mudgie5 August 2019 at 15:33

    DCM,
    Earlier this year I was in the Shepherds Arms which I think backs onto the Goyt and so won't be selling any Marstons this week.

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    1. Sheps is about a furlong from the Goyt and 25ft above so should be safe. If it wasn't for the nanny state who have declared the area to be an exclusion zone there would be plenty of us enjoying a pint there.

      White Hart and Goyt Inn are a lot more vulnerable. I am about to embark on an expedition to see if the Drum and Monkey (former Board Inn) is open.

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    2. The Stafford Mudgie6 August 2019 at 17:23

      DCB,
      I hadn't noticed the walk up from the railway station to 'Sheps' but am pleased it's safe.
      Have a pint for me next time you're in there !

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    3. Hmm, looking at the map, the Goyt flows behind the houses on the opposite side of the main road from the Shepherd's Arms, so surely more like fifty yards than a furlong, although it is in an elevated position.

      I know it was the 1830s, but with hindsight it's hard to imagine a reservoir being built so close to a town and at a much higher level. That thought has often occurred to me when driving past it.

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    4. The Stafford Mudgie7 August 2019 at 10:29

      And looking at the map the Toddbrook Reservoir is a piddling little one compared to the Ladybower reservoir which if properly breached would wash away several villages in t'Derwent Valley.

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    5. As measured on my digital mapping package it is 99 metres along and 7 meters down from the Sheps to the nearest point of the River. For Staffie: the climb starts where you leave the main road by the White Hart and is one in six.

      Yet they are proposing to rebuild, though it would take a lot to convince me that it could ever be safe by modern standards, given the complexity of the geology on which it is built.

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    6. The Stafford Mudgie7 August 2019 at 18:40

      "Under pressure" is the title of this feature and thankfully the Toddbrook Reservoir no longer is.

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  7. The Stafford Mudgie5 August 2019 at 15:40

    I can't believe that Millennials feel five times more likely to be pressurised into drinking more alcohol than older generations.
    My wife keeps telling me I ought to get out more and I didn't get that when I was young.

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  8. University must be one of the few places where you might still feel pressured into having a drink, it's hard to imagine it happening in a workplace now. The lunchtime or after work pint are like something out of a period drama and the works night out will be full of teetotalers and drivers.

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    1. Apparently Millennials are the 22-37 age group; those currently in higher education being Generation Y. I really would like to know in what circumstances they feel they are being put in this position, as it is the complete oppositie of what I (admittedly a Baby Boomer) see around me in society.

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  9. None of the millenials I know need the slightest encouragement to go drinking.

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