back to article Britain's bingers out-boozed by Irish

It's once again an election issue, but Britain's reputation for binge drinking may be undeserved compared to some of its European neighbours, according to a shock official report. Ireland, Romania, Germany and Austria all have a higher rate of binge drinking than the UK, a European Commission survey has found. Some 34 per …


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  1. Anonymous Coward

    We can't have that

    Time for some catching up: To the pub!

    1. Marcus Aurelius

      Get them in then

      Mine's a pint (or three)

  2. Jimmy Floyd


    I'm guessing, however, that while other European countries might have five or six drinks, they'll probably stop there. Brits just carry on to the point of paralysis.

    1. PirateSlayer

      Island Monkey?

      Have you been to Bavaria, Vienna or Dublin? They don't stop at five. Not all eurotrash are admiring the taste of an expensive red against their sophisticated pallet...most are getting totally wankered and then falling over by the end of the night.

    2. Anonymous Coward


      Other nations might binge drink (Ireland included) but I'd say only the British would class 6 pints as 'just getting started'.

      1. Anonymous Coward
        Anonymous Coward

        Hell yes

        Most Germans I knew would have called a bottle of Tequila a chaser.

      2. Nexox Enigma


        """Other nations might binge drink (Ireland included) but I'd say only the British would class 6 pints as 'just getting started'."""

        That's how quite a few Americans figure it too.

        On another note, American binge drinking is 5 drinks, defined as 12oz beer, 4oz wine, or 1.25oz 80 proof per night. At least over in Europe if you stumble to the next pub, that's a different sitting, so you can reset your count : -)

  3. EvilGav 1

    Quick scan . . .

    . . . through the report and I couldn't find the reports definition of what constituted a drink.

    "5 or more" is great, but is that 5 glasses of wine or 5 pints, the latter being double the alcohol intake.

    1. Bassey

      Re: quick scan

      That depends on the strength of the pint and the size of the wine glass. People commonly drink from 250ml wine glasses nowadays. For a 12% bottle of wine that equates to 3 units. An average pint is about 2.2 units.

    2. Anonymous Coward

      Special Brew?

      So a pint of beer contains between 2 and 3 units of alcohol, depending on the strength. A "glass" of wine contains...between 2 and 3 units of alcohol, depending on the strength of wine and the size of the glass.

      So, in what parallel dimension does 1 pint of beer equate to twice the alcohol of 1 glass of wine?

      Apart from Special Brew, of course, but that's not measured in pints, that's measured in 'Cans'. And these researchers don't tend to interview tramps. Although, maybe they made an exception here?

    3. Steve X


      Depends on your definition of "glass", "wine" and "beer"

      A pub wil serve you wine in a 175ml glass, or a 250ml "large glass". Depending on whether you're drinking a 11% French white, or a 14% Australian red you'll have 19 - 35 ml alcohol.

      Similarly with beer, compare a 568ml Imperial pint of 3.8% English bitter (22ml) to one of 6% Belgian lager (35ml).

      The "double the intake" only applies if you compare a wimpy Loire white with a pint of Leffe. There's a reason why continental europeans don't serve beer in pints, which of course comes back to the question of "what is a drink". Ask for "a beer" in France, you'll get a 33cl glass, just over half a pint. The Brits knock back the same stuff pint-at-a-time, until they fall in the gutter.

      1. EvilGav 1

        Re : Definitions

        A pint is 568ml.

        A glass of wine is 125ml (6 glasses to a bottle).

        Yes, bars do tend to use 175ml as the smallest glass available, but it isn't a glass of wine, it's actually a large glass.

        Therefore, a pint (which averages around 2 measures to a pint) is about double that of a glass of wine (which averages around 1 measure per glass).

  4. N2

    Just as I was

    Thinking binge drinking was one of the few things this country's yoof excelled at.

  5. Anonymous Coward

    Its not the drinking thats the problem.....

    Isn't it the social problems that stem from it?

    The question I want to know is if those countries with a higher binge rate than us, what comparative degree of alcohol fuelled anti social behaviour do they have?

  6. Anonymous Coward

    Never mind Britain's bingers...

    ...what about Britain's googlers and yahooers?

  7. PirateSlayer


    "to a shock official report...Ireland, Romania, Germany and Austria all have a higher rate of binge drinking than the UK, a European Commission survey has found."

    I am interested in other shock reports which reveal completely unexpected results. The habits of bears in woods vis-a-vis defecation. The religious persuation of religious leaders. The list goes on but I am too astounded by this report to think.

  8. Shingo Tamai
    Thumb Down

    That's because... other European countries - for instance during xmas - there are no huge queues of people "assaulting" off license stores struck by the fear that the place could close before they had the chance to buy 36 cans each of whatever booze is left on the shelves.

    Or in simpler words: not all the European countries are obsessed with drinking as Ireland and UK are.

    And the cherry on top weas an idiotic question by a colleague of mine while we were working in paris for a couple of weeks: "Hey, isn't it strange that it is friday and at 3PM I haven't seen drunk people yet?"

  9. Anonymous Coward
    Anonymous Coward

    What is a "binge"?

    "having five or more drinks in one sitting" is *not* a binge, that's just an average Friday/Saturday. First they ban smoking, now this sounds like a prelude to ban alcohol.

    1. Anonymous Coward

      What a "binge" is

      Yes, having five drinks is a "binge".



      "Binge drinking definition

      • For men: drinking eight or more units of alcohol in one session.

      • For women: drinking more than six units in one session.


      It doesn't matter what your opinion is, that's the medical definition and is what all official advice, statistics and commentary will be based upon.

      Anyway, only yobbos and vile chavs still drink beer in the 21st century. Any half decent person who can spell their own name without resorting to fetching a piece of card with it stencilled on by their mother prefers to start the day with a bottle of merlot.

  10. irish donkey

    Can I have a Guiness Icon

    because Lager is pish!

  11. Craig 28

    No shock

    And that's exactly why this sort of thing doesn't get reported very much. news sources don't rely on good reporting in most cases, they rely on shock. Very sad state of affairs.

  12. andy gibson

    The only difference is

    That the other countries can handle their ale and don't feel the need to fight after X pints or try and consume as much as possible in a short time.

  13. Ken 16 Silver badge

    It doesn't count as a binge

    if you do it every night!

  14. Robert Ramsay

    Having lived in Munich...'s my observation that it's not how much you drink, it's how you behave afterwards...

  15. Anonymous Coward

    5 drinks is a binge?!

    Over 10 I would agree with, but 5 drinks- although unhealthy- is hardly a heavy night. I mean that's 2.5 double Vodkas... I have that before leaving the house for a night out.

    Also, doesn't 5 drinks a night mean you would- at some points- technically be safe to drive? I mean from, say, 9pm to 3am there are are 6 hours. IIRC your body works through about one pints' worth of alcohol an hour (may be wrong, may only be for ratpiss like Tenants). So if the pints were evenly spaced you'd be legal to drive and sober just as you were waiting at the bar. That's not exactly a binge in my book. Ones used up before the next is started. Chain-drinking would be a more appropriate term.

    1. Paul 4

      One pint an hour?

      Um.. one UNIT. Ish. For some people.

  16. Anonymous Coward
    Paris Hilton

    To be sure

    The Oirish, a nation of drunks?

    Who'd have thunk it.

    Next you'll be telling us they love to argue & fight too!

  17. LuMan


    This is disgusting state of affairs. We should be way ahead of everyone else!

    I'm gonna give my vote to the candidate who provides tax relief on booze to enable us to take back our crown!

  18. bingo!


    its 5 units, 2 units in a pint of beer. So 3 pints and your a binge drinker...lot of b****x

  19. Daggersedge

    5 drinks in a sitting is a binge? What nonsense!

    It depends on the time period in which the drinks are consumed and whether the drink accompanies a meal.

    Here's a real life example. I live in France and last time I went out to a restaurant with my husband and a friend, we consumed 5 glasses of wine each in a sitting. There was the apéritif, three glasses over the course of the meal and one with dessert. That's over the course of three hours, consumed with a full meal. None of us were even slightly inebriated at the end of the evening. That's what we typically have when we go out, which we do regularly.

    This is very different from going out to the pub and swallowing as much as what it takes to get totally wasted.

    Reading the report, it is just another nannying document angling to get more warnings on alcohol and to reduce the targetting of alcohol adverts to youth. The definition they gave to binge drinking is just a means to this end.

  20. chr0m4t1c

    I wonder...

    Would many of the UK's "problems" simply vanish or become non-issues if we did something more constructive like introducing the death penalty for the crime of being editor of the Daily Mail?

  21. Owen
    Thumb Up


    In Germany, in Koeln, the beers are 0.1 litres and everybody binge drinks.

    In Munich, home to that great celebration of abstinence - the Oktoberfest - the beers are 1 litre in size and there are fewer bingers.


  22. Dan 55 Silver badge

    5 pints is not 5 half-pints

    Which is what many people drink in Spain and Greece. Or even smaller measures.

  23. Lionel Baden

    bah unfair

    Nobody asked me !!!

    no wonder we lost !!!!!

  24. Charley 1

    5 drinks is a binge??

    "Some 34 per cent of Brits reported having five or more drinks in one sitting - the report's definition of a binge - at least once a week. "

    Sounds more like an aperitif to me.

  25. Jimbo 6

    5 drinks ?

    That's a 'binge' ? Keith Moon must be spinning in his grave.

    1. Anonymous Coward

      Keith Moon

      Perhaps if he didn't binge drink, he wouldn't actually be in a grave?

  26. Anonymous Coward
    Anonymous Coward

    "five or more drinks in one sitting"

    that's got to be skewing the numbers, any binge drinker who takes pride in what they do wouldn't class 5 drinks as a binge. got to hit at least 10, maybe 15

  27. hplasm

    Binge? Bloody stupid word!

    Five pints in one sitting is just a spree.

  28. Subtilior


    How do Britain's googlers rate?

  29. NoOnions

    I'm doing my best!

    Who's letting the side down? :-)

  30. Wommit

    But Shirley

    if you down 20 pints _EVERY_ night, its not binge drinking.

  31. Dick Head

    You will shortly be contacted by Microsoft legal...>>

    ...pointing out that Bing (as in 'bingers') is a Microsoft trademark which must not be infringed. The term 'bingers' may only be used for those enjoying the Bing experience.

  32. Alan Bourke


    5 drinks is binge drinking ? It's political correctness gone mad.

    Anyway, as an Irish person I don't know whether to be proud or ashamed. Probably the latter.

  33. Anonymous Coward

    As the article says...

    ...and judging from your comments, it is indeed undeserved!

  34. irish donkey

    Why can't I see any comments

    Oh my good I have gone blind... where are all the comments ... I can leave comments but I cannot view .... would somebody think of the children!!!!##

    how can I go a day without my dose of ill-informed rants from the great unwashed!

  35. Red Bren

    From the fraudsters that brought you 21 units per week.

    This 5+ units in one go == binge drinking was dreamed up by the people who plucked the 21 units per week figure from their backsides, when they realised people were "saving up" their units for a blow-out at the weekend.

    The inconvenient truth is that moderate to heavy drinking is healthier than staying sober. I read that on El Reg somewhere, but can't be bothered looking for the link.

    If we're all drinking too much, how come so many pubs are closing?

    1. Anonymous Coward
      Anonymous Coward

      @Red Bren

      "If we're all drinking too much, how come so many pubs are closing?"

      Because a few years ago, the brewing industry worked out that there was a better and more profitable business model. Instead of having to run their own pubs and deal with all the hassle and expense of that, they worked out that by supplying supermarkets in mass and cutting out the 'middle man' of the public house, they'd cut a load of hassle and expense and be able to load a smaller number of arctic lorries directly from the brewery, dump it all on Tesco and leave them to worry about licensing laws, rowdy customers, storage space, distribution and everything else.

      Overall it meant the brewing industry would shrink, but it would become far more profitable and the shareholders loved it.

      So, now instead of people going into a pub to sit for a few hours and drink three pints, they go into a supermarket and pick up a tray of 24 cans.

      However, it's backfired on the breweries a bit because by severing the association between booze and pubs, they opened people's minds to alternative drinks. The upshot of this is that the wine industry has gone through the roof in the UK and instead of supermarket aisles stacked with beer from end-to-end, it's mainly wine they well.

      And since the breweries weren't into wine, it's means they were caught napping and now all these Australian, South-African, South American and Californian brands have become ubiquitous on supermarket shelves, while Carling and Fosters just have withered into one small section of shelving to host their weak and heavy (as in 'to carry') products.

      The future of pubs is as entertainment and lifestyle venues, a bit like nighclubs and music clubs. People (most of whom will probably own iPhones) will want to go there for the 'scene' rather than for the drink itself. if they want that. they'll stay at home and have a bottle of wine with their dinner. Old fashioned pubs will become a novelty. Even in the country, now that young people have cars and Facebook, they won't want to hang around a pub when they know what else is available, so they'll either drive 10m to the nearest city for their nights out or the village pubs will have to adapt to retain local business. A bunch of 60-year-old farmers who like standing quietly at a bar whilst chewing straw, with no music or TV to "ruin the atmosphere" aren't going to keep those pubs going for very much longer.

      1. Red Bren

        Bit Fiddler - What a depressing picture you paint

        There are other factors as well such as stricter policing of drink-driving and a lack of public transport alternatives. The smoking ban is also cited as a factor, although I know of people that now go to pubs who were previously put off before the ban.

        So how can the demise of the local be stopped? Perhaps alcohol sales should be licensed and taxed differently for on and off site consumption? Drinking in a local pub generates local employment and community cohesion, so reduce the tax on over the bar sales in venues that can seat 80% of their maximum capacity (city centre vertical drinking warehouses don't get the reduction). Lower the age limit for purchasing alcohol to be consumed in a pub. That way, younger drinkers can legally drink in a controlled environment, instead of getting smashed on cheap "cider" down the local park.

        All this talk of beer is making me thirsty. Pub time I think!

  36. Stephen Byrne

    Mine's a Guinness

    Another reason why these reports are nonsense.

    Around 2 million of us leprechauns get hammered drunk on a regular basis.

    But over 20 million British people do the same.

    With figures that large, surely percentages start to seem a bit pointless?

  37. Anonymous Coward
    Anonymous Coward


    How the hell can it be a "binge" if you do it once a week?

    Anyway, I'm ok, I do that at least twice a week.

  38. RJPH

    There is some hope ..

    Pg 24 of the report:

    "QC3 On a day when you drink alcoholic beverages, how much do you usually drink? (to those who claimed to have drunk alcohol in the last 30 days - base = 17827 respondents)"

    We share top spot for those that drink 7-9 & 10 or more drinks @ 6% along with Finland and Malta (although I reckon a fair number of those responding from Malta were British Expats!)

    Right I'm off for a liquid lunch.

  39. Jason Yau

    Irish drunks?


  40. Anonymous Coward

    5 or 6 ????

    Five or six is a good afternoon, which is followed by seven or eight more in the evening..

    A binge is 14 in one evening, followed by the inability to do the blonde on top of me.

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