Counting the cost: Irresponsible alcohol promotions in the night-time economy in Wales

English | Cymraeg

25 January 2010

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Note: This report was funded and/or written by our predecessor organisation Alcohol Concern.

Executive summary

Irresponsible alcohol promotions in pubs, bars and clubs are contributing to excessive consumption amongst the public, resulting in alcohol-related crime and disorder, and adverse health consequences. They propagate an unsafe drinking culture and bold measures are now required to reduce harmful drinking and avoid preventable deaths.

Alcohol Concern has been examining the prevalence of alcohol promotions within the night-time economy in Wales. We commissioned a snapshot survey at three locations in Wales - Newport, Swansea and Wrexham – surveying a total of 43 licensed venues on a Friday evening in November 2009. Data was collected on the nature and extent of such promotions, the prices of the cheapest alcoholic and non-alcoholic drinks, and any health promotion/sensible drinking messages displayed at each venue.

Our survey found that approximately half of venues were offering some form of alcoholic drinks promotion. A number of these promotions, such as three-for-one deals and charging a single fee after which all drinks are free, are regarded by Alcohol Concern as being particularly irresponsible. These deals encourage people to consume large quantities of alcohol over a short period of time, and offer a financial incentive to consume more than intended. In addition, the prices of individual drinks were found to be worryingly low in many instances: at least four venues offered pints for as little as £1, in some cases less than the lowest price of soft drinks available; 12 venues offered spirits, sometimes in double measures, for just £1. At these prices, a woman could drink more than twice the recommended daily amount of alcohol - the usual definition of a binge - for just £3 and a man could binge for as little £4.