New Alcohol Guidelines

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New Alcohol Guidelines

Post by JimBentley » Fri Jan 08, 2016 2:12 pm

As reported everywhere, there are new sensible alcohol guidelines issued by the government's medical office: 14 units per week for both men and women. There are new cancer-related risks not previously understood, it has been established.

Setting aside the fact that these are only guidelines, not dogma, I still have a few problems with them:

- for a start, they're just revisions of revisions of figures that were originally plucked out of the air;

- alcohol per unit, in general, causes more damage to women than men, simply because of the size (well, volume) difference between a typical man and a typical woman. I mean, no doubt the World's Tallest Woman can probably take more alcohol than the average bloke, but the point is that men are generally bigger than women, so to make the guidelines the same just seems daft;

- now that the guidelines are set so low (I think most people who like a drink would exceed 14 units on a couple of nights, never mind a week) that most people will just ignore them completely;

- what seems to be ignored in the whole reporting of the issue is that the new "discovery" around the cancer risk is that instead of alcoholics and heavy drinkers having something like a 1% risk of developing cancer as a result of their drinking, rather than the <1% previously thought. Since they're far more likely to die of heart or liver-related problems directly related to drinking, this reduction of dying from cancer through alcohol from around 150/1 to 100/1 doesn't really seem significant.

I reckon I drink around 80 units per week, but I am a notorious alky. Anyone else got any thoughts?

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Re: New Alcohol Guidelines

Post by Jon Corby » Fri Jan 08, 2016 2:18 pm

80 seems a bit high Jim. Would you like some change?

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Re: New Alcohol Guidelines

Post by JimBentley » Fri Jan 08, 2016 2:37 pm

Jon Corby wrote:80 seems a bit high Jim. Would you like some change?
Not really. I've got a mate coming to visit for the weekend so we'll almost certainly sail through 14 units each tonight, never mind what happens tomorrow.

As I've said elsewhere probably, we all have to die of something (by rights, given all the things I've done to my body over the years, I probably should be dead already). I might have a horrible death (lung cancer's not very nice, liver disease isn't pleasant but then again, few terminal conditions are) but hey! It'll be more interesting than being run over by a bus.

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Re: New Alcohol Guidelines

Post by Matt Morrison » Fri Jan 08, 2016 4:01 pm

At least guidelines are now being done weekly rather than daily. That's an improvement. But yeah they are too harsh to be at all meaningful to most people who enjoy a drink.

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Re: New Alcohol Guidelines

Post by Gavin Chipper » Fri Jan 08, 2016 5:04 pm

I wonder how much people pay attention to these anyway.

But I've never got the whole alcohol thing. It seems a very expensive way of fitting in.

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Re: New Alcohol Guidelines

Post by JimBentley » Fri Jan 08, 2016 5:39 pm

Gavin Chipper wrote:I wonder how much people pay attention to these anyway.

But I've never got the whole alcohol thing. It seems a very expensive way of fitting in.
Not much attention, from my experience.

I envy your alcohol stance, though, and as you mention, it must save you shitloads of money. But I've never done it to 'fit in', it's just a "thing" that everyone does and has been (for me) for as long as I can remember. That I personally take it to extremes sometimes isn't really a reflection on that.

How did you come not to drink, incidentally? I'm really hoping you had an experience in your teens involving a bottle of tequila and an unspecified number of transsexuals that ended up in the mansion of a Conservative MP.

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Re: New Alcohol Guidelines

Post by Gavin Chipper » Fri Jan 08, 2016 6:05 pm

JimBentley wrote:
Gavin Chipper wrote:I wonder how much people pay attention to these anyway.

But I've never got the whole alcohol thing. It seems a very expensive way of fitting in.
Not much attention, from my experience.

I envy your alcohol stance, though, and as you mention, it must save you shitloads of money. But I've never done it to 'fit in', it's just a "thing" that everyone does and has been (for me) for as long as I can remember. That I personally take it to extremes sometimes isn't really a reflection on that.

How did you come not to drink, incidentally? I'm really hoping you had an experience in your teens involving a bottle of tequila and an unspecified number of transsexuals that ended up in the mansion of a Conservative MP.
Well, asking the question like that makes the assumption that drinking is the default thing to do. I suppose in a way it is in that most people drink, but everyone starts as a non-drinker and they have to actively make the first step. And that's the thing. A lot of people gives reasons why they drink, smoke, takes drugs etc., but the reasons rarely explain why they started. I suppose I'm thinking more about more harmful drugs now because while I may have sympathy for heroin addicts, I can't really think of any reasonable excuse for becoming a heroin addict in the first place. Taking heroin for the first time is not something you just slide into.

But anyway, alcohol - alcoholic drinks taste horrible, beer especially so (and this isn't just me - lots of people say it was horrible when they started). So it's not like you just pick up a drink and start being a drinker in the same way that you become a chocolate eater. You have to make an active decision. As in - "Right, regardless of how shit this tastes, I'm going to power on through to the other side when it starts becoming palatable because I'm going to be a drinker. And why do I want to be a drinker? Well everyone does it - to fit in!"

So, basically I decided I couldn't be arsed with it. However, I have on occasion tried drinking. Twice I have been sick, and on no occasion have I felt in any particular way "merry". And I simply don't believe that you have to have alcohol to have a good time. But I think people can become dependent on it for a good time (not in a full-blown alcoholic way). They're used to being in a certain mental state when they go out, so if they're no in it, they don't enjoy themselves as much. And then you get people who decide to stay in rather than go out with their friends because they can't afford to drink as much as they'd like, even if they can actually afford to go out. And that's mental. And you get people moaning about the price of beer or the taste of it, but seemingly without the option of just not fucking buying any more of it. Drinking seems to be something that drinkers have to do every time they socialise. There has to be an excuse not to drink when they go out, like they're driving, pregnant, skint or a recovering alcoholic. Never "I just don't feel like drinking tonight." Well, probably with some people, but for a lot of people I think that just wouldn't compute.

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Re: New Alcohol Guidelines

Post by Jon Corby » Fri Jan 08, 2016 6:14 pm

Beer is amazing. Maybe when you try it as a 5 year old or whatever it tastes rank (the same as coffee and other adult drinks), but from 15 or so onwards (by which I mean 18 if my dad reads this), no way. It's just amazing. I'm putting some furniture together later, and I'm holding off my Friday night beers until I've done that so I'll feel like I've earned it even more.

(And I guess, just to make the point, I'd still look forward to it if it were alcohol-free. I wouldn't similarly look forward to it to, say, a glass of milk or a cup of tea. And this is just me having a couple of quiet beers at home on my own, nothing to do with getting drunk or fitting in.)

But I do get what you mean. A lot of my mates smoke weed, and have done harder drugs, and I've just never fancied it. I didn't look at them doing this stuff and think "that looks like fun". I do think that when you see people drink though. They get funner. You're obviously on top bubble already though.

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Re: New Alcohol Guidelines

Post by JimBentley » Fri Jan 08, 2016 6:36 pm

Gavin Chipper wrote:
JimBentley wrote:How did you come not to drink, incidentally? I'm really hoping you had an experience in your teens involving a bottle of tequila and an unspecified number of transsexuals that ended up in the mansion of a Conservative MP.
Well, asking the question like that makes the assumption that drinking is the default thing to do...
It is the default thing to do if you're over 18. I'd link you to many stats on that if I wasn't in such a hurry.

Interesting story on how you've come not to drink though. I'm in no position to make judgments on alcohol or anything but you know what Gevin - I'm proud of you.

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Re: New Alcohol Guidelines

Post by Mark Deeks » Fri Jan 08, 2016 6:40 pm

Gavin Chipper wrote:
JimBentley wrote:
Gavin Chipper wrote:I wonder how much people pay attention to these anyway.

But I've never got the whole alcohol thing. It seems a very expensive way of fitting in.
Not much attention, from my experience.

I envy your alcohol stance, though, and as you mention, it must save you shitloads of money. But I've never done it to 'fit in', it's just a "thing" that everyone does and has been (for me) for as long as I can remember. That I personally take it to extremes sometimes isn't really a reflection on that.

How did you come not to drink, incidentally? I'm really hoping you had an experience in your teens involving a bottle of tequila and an unspecified number of transsexuals that ended up in the mansion of a Conservative MP.
Well, asking the question like that makes the assumption that drinking is the default thing to do. I suppose in a way it is in that most people drink, but everyone starts as a non-drinker and they have to actively make the first step. And that's the thing. A lot of people gives reasons why they drink, smoke, takes drugs etc., but the reasons rarely explain why they started. I suppose I'm thinking more about more harmful drugs now because while I may have sympathy for heroin addicts, I can't really think of any reasonable excuse for becoming a heroin addict in the first place. Taking heroin for the first time is not something you just slide into.

But anyway, alcohol - alcoholic drinks taste horrible, beer especially so (and this isn't just me - lots of people say it was horrible when they started). So it's not like you just pick up a drink and start being a drinker in the same way that you become a chocolate eater. You have to make an active decision. As in - "Right, regardless of how shit this tastes, I'm going to power on through to the other side when it starts becoming palatable because I'm going to be a drinker. And why do I want to be a drinker? Well everyone does it - to fit in!"

So, basically I decided I couldn't be arsed with it. However, I have on occasion tried drinking. Twice I have been sick, and on no occasion have I felt in any particular way "merry". And I simply don't believe that you have to have alcohol to have a good time. But I think people can become dependent on it for a good time (not in a full-blown alcoholic way). They're used to being in a certain mental state when they go out, so if they're no in it, they don't enjoy themselves as much. And then you get people who decide to stay in rather than go out with their friends because they can't afford to drink as much as they'd like, even if they can actually afford to go out. And that's mental. And you get people moaning about the price of beer or the taste of it, but seemingly without the option of just not fucking buying any more of it. Drinking seems to be something that drinkers have to do every time they socialise. There has to be an excuse not to drink when they go out, like they're driving, pregnant, skint or a recovering alcoholic. Never "I just don't feel like drinking tonight." Well, probably with some people, but for a lot of people I think that just wouldn't compute.
I agree with much of this but beer is pretty delicious.

ADDITIONAL - The drink drive limit should be zero.
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Re: New Alcohol Guidelines

Post by Gavin Chipper » Fri Jan 08, 2016 7:59 pm

Jon Corby wrote:Beer is amazing. Maybe when you try it as a 5 year old or whatever it tastes rank (the same as coffee and other adult drinks), but from 15 or so onwards (by which I mean 18 if my dad reads this), no way. It's just amazing. I'm putting some furniture together later, and I'm holding off my Friday night beers until I've done that so I'll feel like I've earned it even more.
Mark Deeks wrote:I agree with much of this but beer is pretty delicious.
This reminds me of another thing. Some people say that beer never tasted horrible to them and that they wouldn't have carried on drinking it if it did. Well, what a coincidence that all the people who wouldn't have given it another go happened to like it straight off.

Oh and coffee is shit too, Corby.
Mark Deeks wrote:ADDITIONAL - The drink drive limit should be zero.
I'd probably have it slightly over zero - basically so that people wouldn't be penalised for having a residual amount of alcohol in their system. But the message would be - "Don't drink anything if you're going to drive." It annoys me when people sit there calculating how much they can drink. Is it just the law you're worried about rather than your ability to drive safely?
Corby wrote:But I do get what you mean. A lot of my mates smoke weed, and have done harder drugs, and I've just never fancied it. I didn't look at them doing this stuff and think "that looks like fun". I do think that when you see people drink though. They get funner. You're obviously on top bubble already though.
Some people get annoyinger.
JimBentley wrote:It is the default thing to do if you're over 18. I'd link you to many stats on that if I wasn't in such a hurry.
I'm sure it is the default thing in statistical terms, but it's still something you have to actively decide to do. Just like almost all members of the female population decide to make holes in their ears. It's statistically the default, but that doesn't stop it from being stone cold mental (borrowed that phrase from Corby - thanks).
JimBentley wrote:Interesting story on how you've come not to drink though. I'm in no position to make judgments on alcohol or anything but you know what Gevin - I'm proud of you.
Well, thank you very much. I'm proud of you too. Just generally.

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Re: New Alcohol Guidelines

Post by Jon Corby » Fri Jan 08, 2016 9:45 pm

Maybe you just have the taste buds of a child Gev?

Do you like breast milk?

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Re: New Alcohol Guidelines

Post by Mark Deeks » Sat Jan 09, 2016 10:06 am

It annoys me when people sit there calculating how much they can drink.
That's not a calculation anyone can actually do, though. It's way too subjective, way too much guesswork. And that's why it should be nil. I understand the leniency for residual alcohol but that ought be more of a case-by-case thing, because the aim SHOULD be nil.
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Re: New Alcohol Guidelines

Post by Gavin Chipper » Sat Jan 09, 2016 11:38 am

Jon Corby wrote:Maybe you just have the taste buds of a child Gev?

Do you like breast milk?
No. If you like beer and coffee, you might as well like broccoli. You're probably one of those people who would eat non-good-for-you broccoli like non-alcoholic beer and decaffeinated coffee.

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Re: New Alcohol Guidelines

Post by Jon Corby » Sat Jan 09, 2016 1:02 pm

Broccoli's delicious as well, you weirdo.

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Re: New Alcohol Guidelines

Post by Gavin Chipper » Sat Jan 09, 2016 4:37 pm

Jon Corby wrote:Broccoli's delicious as well, you weirdo.
Now, I definitely think you're the weirdo here.

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Re: New Alcohol Guidelines

Post by Gavin Chipper » Sat Jan 09, 2016 4:40 pm

Also, another thing about people having to get used to the taste of beer - if people gave Marmite the same chance, then everyone would like it. The whole "love it or hate it" thing is bullshit. You might as well say you hate salt. Maybe people are spreading it on like jam - I don't know. But basically, Marmite is objectively more palatable than beer (and coffee and broccoli) and people who say they hate it are weirdos.

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Re: New Alcohol Guidelines

Post by JimBentley » Sat Jan 09, 2016 5:13 pm

Gavin Chipper wrote:
Jon Corby wrote:Broccoli's delicious as well, you weirdo.
Now, I definitely think you're the weirdo here.
Sorry, I'm with Jon here. I love spinach, broccoli, sprouts, cabbage, all the really green ones. I also like cauliflower, carrots, turnips, swede, potatoes, that sort of thing, but not so much. Don't particularly like stuff like yams and squashes though. They seem like they should be fruits rather than vegetables. They seem confused.

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Re: New Alcohol Guidelines

Post by JimBentley » Sat Jan 09, 2016 9:14 pm

Gavin Chipper wrote:
Mark Deeks wrote:ADDITIONAL - The drink drive limit should be zero.
I'd probably have it slightly over zero - basically so that people wouldn't be penalised for having a residual amount of alcohol in their system. But the message would be - "Don't drink anything if you're going to drive."
That's the trouble with drink-driving limits. Obviously the ideal is for everyone to drink nothing before driving, but it's an unrealistic goal for a lot of people, not because they're pissed off their heads while driving, but they might have been pissed off their heads the previous night and that's going to be a positive test on a zero tolerance basis the following day. But then again different people metabolise alcohol differently, so Person A might have five pints on a Thursday night and have a negligible reading the following morning, but Person B could have the same five pints and still be over the limit on Saturday morning.

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Re: New Alcohol Guidelines

Post by Jennifer Steadman » Mon Jan 11, 2016 6:15 pm

None of this really matters that much, because apparently the hell-raising, binge-drinking yoof of today are drinking way less than our predecessors.
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Re: New Alcohol Guidelines

Post by Rhys Benjamin » Mon Jan 11, 2016 11:22 pm

The Sunday Telegraph nailed this yesterday:

"I would go to Church, but I'm afraid the Communion wine would push me over the new alcohol limit."
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Re: New Alcohol Guidelines

Post by JimBentley » Tue Jan 12, 2016 4:13 pm

Jennifer Steadman wrote:None of this really matters that much, because apparently the hell-raising, binge-drinking yoof of today are drinking way less than our predecessors.
I hope this is true. I was born in 1971 and when I was growing up, I thought the late-1960s counter-culture must have been the tops for drink 'n' drugs (my conception of the period was that everyone was just throwing anything down their necks with no regard for their health whatsoever). But when I got to being 17 or 18 I think I realised that I was wrong and in fact the late 1980s were probably more hedonistic in terms of the people involved; in the late 1960s it was really only a smallish subsection of society that bought into the normalisation (and everyday use) of drink and/or drugs, but by the late 80s it was more or less a societal norm and I think that maybe worsened during the 1990s with the "lad culture" crap.

It's got to be good that today's teenagers are rejecting a lifestyle that involves deliberately doing themselves harm, I reckon, as long as it doesn't lead to some sort of bizarre New Puritanism and ultimately a Logan's Run-style scenario.

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Re: New Alcohol Guidelines

Post by Ian Volante » Thu Jan 14, 2016 1:29 pm

JimBentley wrote:
Jennifer Steadman wrote:None of this really matters that much, because apparently the hell-raising, binge-drinking yoof of today are drinking way less than our predecessors.
I hope this is true. I was born in 1971 and when I was growing up, I thought the late-1960s counter-culture must have been the tops for drink 'n' drugs (my conception of the period was that everyone was just throwing anything down their necks with no regard for their health whatsoever). But when I got to being 17 or 18 I think I realised that I was wrong and in fact the late 1980s were probably more hedonistic in terms of the people involved; in the late 1960s it was really only a smallish subsection of society that bought into the normalisation (and everyday use) of drink and/or drugs, but by the late 80s it was more or less a societal norm and I think that maybe worsened during the 1990s with the "lad culture" crap.

It's got to be good that today's teenagers are rejecting a lifestyle that involves deliberately doing themselves harm, I reckon, as long as it doesn't lead to some sort of bizarre New Puritanism and ultimately a Logan's Run-style scenario.
I think it probably depends on age and social class too. My (working class) parents spent their late teens/early twenties (late 60s/early 70s) in the pub more or less every night, hence the east Leeds pub circuit had at least a dozen pubs pretty much within sight of each other. It sounds to me like their entire social scene was based around that - what percentage of the wider population that represented I'm not sure, but the boozing that still went on in that age group throughout my childhood was easily comparable to all but my most committed friends at uni. By the time I knew that area, the pubs were in decline, and that decline has continued to this day.
meles meles meles meles meles meles meles meles meles meles meles meles meles meles meles meles

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Re: New Alcohol Guidelines

Post by Gavin Chipper » Thu Jan 14, 2016 11:59 pm

Gavin Chipper wrote:Well, asking the question like that makes the assumption that drinking is the default thing to do. I suppose in a way it is in that most people drink, but everyone starts as a non-drinker and they have to actively make the first step. And that's the thing. A lot of people gives reasons why they drink, smoke, takes drugs etc., but the reasons rarely explain why they started. I suppose I'm thinking more about more harmful drugs now because while I may have sympathy for heroin addicts, I can't really think of any reasonable excuse for becoming a heroin addict in the first place. Taking heroin for the first time is not something you just slide into.

But anyway, alcohol - alcoholic drinks taste horrible, beer especially so (and this isn't just me - lots of people say it was horrible when they started). So it's not like you just pick up a drink and start being a drinker in the same way that you become a chocolate eater. You have to make an active decision. As in - "Right, regardless of how shit this tastes, I'm going to power on through to the other side when it starts becoming palatable because I'm going to be a drinker. And why do I want to be a drinker? Well everyone does it - to fit in!"

So, basically I decided I couldn't be arsed with it. However, I have on occasion tried drinking. Twice I have been sick, and on no occasion have I felt in any particular way "merry". And I simply don't believe that you have to have alcohol to have a good time. But I think people can become dependent on it for a good time (not in a full-blown alcoholic way). They're used to being in a certain mental state when they go out, so if they're no in it, they don't enjoy themselves as much. And then you get people who decide to stay in rather than go out with their friends because they can't afford to drink as much as they'd like, even if they can actually afford to go out. And that's mental. And you get people moaning about the price of beer or the taste of it, but seemingly without the option of just not fucking buying any more of it. Drinking seems to be something that drinkers have to do every time they socialise. There has to be an excuse not to drink when they go out, like they're driving, pregnant, skint or a recovering alcoholic. Never "I just don't feel like drinking tonight." Well, probably with some people, but for a lot of people I think that just wouldn't compute.
Just to add to this - I suppose I didn't really go out much when I was younger (like pre-University), and when I did, people were already established beer drinkers, so it was like I missed the boat anyway. So I'd get a lemonade or something and people would be like "Don't you drink then?" and I'd be like "Well, I don't not drink - it's just never come up." And then I was out all the time at university and people were obviously very well established drinkers by then (despite still mostly being 18) and I didn't really feel the need to go out of my way to become a clone of them.

By the way, I think pubs are missing a trick. Regardless of how much people like drinking, drinking is never going to be as good as eating, right? Eating is just better than drinking. So pubs need to do more about this. Obviously you can get a meal in pubs, but it's a big deal and a hassle. You sit down and find out your table number and order your meal and then wait for it to arrive. But once you've eaten it, that's it. Unlike with drinks where you just keep going back for more. Yes, you can get snack stuff like crisps and peanuts but that's not good enough. So really they should be cooking pizzas or something and selling already-cooked slices at the bar. You'd go up and say "I'll have a pint of beer and a slice of marg (margherita, obviously) please". And not just pizzas. You could have things like onion bhajis and samosas and probably several other things too. Stuff that's proper food, and that you get at the bar rather than having to wait for it.

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Re: New Alcohol Guidelines

Post by JimBentley » Fri Jan 15, 2016 12:21 am

Gavin Chipper wrote:By the way, I think pubs are missing a trick. Regardless of how much people like drinking, drinking is never going to be as good as eating, right? Eating is just better than drinking. So pubs need to do more about this.
Is that necessarily good? You've basically just described the process that enabled Wetherspoons to put a shitload of small pubs out of business (although doubtless their Branson-style-hippie owner will deny that having preferential business rates from councils, deliberately undercutting tied-in publicans on popular beers, serving food at below cost and all that had nothing to do with it).

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Re: New Alcohol Guidelines

Post by Gavin Chipper » Fri Jan 15, 2016 12:23 am

JimBentley wrote:
Gavin Chipper wrote:By the way, I think pubs are missing a trick. Regardless of how much people like drinking, drinking is never going to be as good as eating, right? Eating is just better than drinking. So pubs need to do more about this.
Is that necessarily good? You've basically just described the process that enabled Wetherspoons to put a shitload of small pubs out of business (although doubtless their Branson-style-hippie owner will deny that having preferential business rates from councils, deliberately undercutting tied-in publicans on popular beers, serving food at below cost and all that had nothing to do with it).
I dunno. I don't know anything about the politics and economics of pubs. But Wetherspoons don't do what I have suggested anyway as far as I can see. And why can't small pubs do it?

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Re: New Alcohol Guidelines

Post by JimBentley » Fri Jan 15, 2016 1:02 am

Gavin Chipper wrote:And why can't small pubs do it?
To boil a very long and tedious post down to three words: economy of scale.

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Re: New Alcohol Guidelines

Post by Mark James » Fri Jan 15, 2016 3:37 pm

Gavin Chipper wrote:By the way, I think pubs are missing a trick. Regardless of how much people like drinking, drinking is never going to be as good as eating, right?
Nope. Being drunk is an unnecessary, brain altering experience that is pleasurable. Eating can be pleasurable but mainly because it satisfies a need. If I didn't have to eat I would eat far less often unless eating caused an equivalent effect of being drunk. Pub restaurants are ok but it's a different atmosphere from a regular pub. I can get a toasted sandwich in my local but I doubt I've ever gotten one after 7pm. Food in a pub just gets in the way. Eating is better after you've finished drinking anyway and its the drink that makes eating better. There's nothing better than a greasy kebab tray at 3am when you're hammered.

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Re: New Alcohol Guidelines

Post by Mark James » Fri Jan 15, 2016 3:41 pm

Also a person who doesn't drink trying to advise on how to make pubs better is like an atheist trying to suggest how to improve mass.

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Re: New Alcohol Guidelines

Post by Gavin Chipper » Fri Jan 15, 2016 4:22 pm

Mark James wrote:Also a person who doesn't drink trying to advise on how to make pubs better is like an atheist trying to suggest how to improve mass.
OK, let's think. Jam on the holy communion wafer thing? It could represent blood as well so it's win win.

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Re: New Alcohol Guidelines

Post by JimBentley » Fri Jan 15, 2016 11:19 pm

I think people should set up drug pubs where you can not only drink whatever you want, but also buy (appropriately dosed) drugs in the same way for consumption on the premises. No heroin though, that could lead to bad things. Or ketamine. Anything else though. Actually, no benzos. Come to think of it, this is a stupid idea. Ignore me.

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