I’ve been through lots of different phases of drinking in my life. From social pub drinking to Benidorm binge drinking. Nowadays, hangovers put the fear of death into me.
I LOVE a good drink, I LOVE the taste of a random Belgian beer or a nice champagne. Who doesn’t like a refreshing ice cold beer on a hot sunny day? Drinking is ingrained in our culture.
Over the past few years, I have been on a few major health kicks and binned the alcohol for over 100 days at a time on 2 separate occasions. During these times I, like other people who abstain from drink, found it difficult to socialise in pubs and clubs. The frowns you get when you ask for a glass of coke or a water, the people who look down their noses at you because you don’t want a drink like there’s something wrong with you. Drinking is my choice, I drink when I want to drink. The problem is other people’s.
I flipped in a bar recently when the bar man questioned why I wanted an Iron Bru rather than a beer, he badgered me for an answer, so I told him I had liver problems… he soon crawled back in to the hole he’d just dug for himself. I wonder if he frowns at pregnant women who won’t take a drink? It’s always other people’s problem when you don’t want to drink.
In Spain, drinking culture isn’t the same as in Britain. Yes Spanish people drink, but it’s not the biggest thing in their social lives.
Spain is behind the times in many respects, but in one, they are years ahead of Britain; non-alcoholic beer.
It is everywhere. Every bar sells it, in the supermarket there are over 10 different varieties to choose from. It’s roughly 1/3 the calories of normal lager, you’ll never be over the drink driving limit, and it’s cheap.
Many nights when I’ve wanted to go out for an hour with friends, I grab myself one alongside their full fat Heinekens. They are completely non the wiser. The bottles look the same, the taste is like lager, and there is no need to be questioned why you’re drinking a can of coke or a bottle of water.
It may sound like a rant against drinking but it isn’t. I just want to be able to choose not to drink and not make it a big problem or talking point when out with a group of people.
Non-alcohol beer is available in the UK but it’s still frowned upon and dismissed as a stupid idea. I wish we would catch up and start stocking more of these bottles so you have the choice. People are more and more calorie conscious too, even on that front, it gives people on a health kick an option.
A few people I have spoken to on this subject have brought up another view on non alcoholic drinks. The go-to drink when not drinking alcohol is coke or diet coke, the problem is these usually cost the same for a pint as beer does. People then choose to drink the alcoholic drink instead because you think you’re getting better value for money. The solution, make non alcoholic beer subsidised by the government to encourage people to give it a try and provide a healthier alternative. Worth a try?
The social pressure to drink these days is overwhelming. Other people find the need to justify their own drinking by making sure you do too. Maybe one day the people who are drinking will be the ones stigmatised? I’ve seen too many people move to Spain lured by the €1 bottles of wine and €1 pints, I’ve also seen a lot of them die too young.
Fingers crossed this can be one Spanish export even more successful than David Silva.