Are You Drunk Now?


This morning.

Via Irish Times Letters:

You quote new research in the Addiction medical journal which found that “Ireland is one of only two countries in Europe where alcohol consumption did not decline” during the Covid-19 pandemic and that “average consumption remained unchanged” during the period .

It’s difficult to take these findings seriously when you consider that figures published last month by the Revenue Commissioners showed that alcohol sales have plummeted during the Covid pandemic. In the first quarter of 2021, the sale of all types of alcohol – beer, cider, wine and spirits – fell by 19.7 per cent.

If sales have fallen by a fifth, then how could consumption have remained steady, as the new research claims?

Are we to believe that lockdown boredom has led to a sudden explosion in home brewing and the operation of poitín stills across the country?

I would have expected you to have applied a more rigorous and questioning analysis of the research you quoted.

The only thing which has “remained unchanged” during Covid is the puritanical attitude of the political and public health systems to even the most moderate and responsible consumption of alcohol.

Barry Walsh,

Dublin 3.



Irish Times Letters


23 thoughts on “Are You Drunk Now?

  1. Bitnboxy

    I wonder if that is the same “Ladies, yiz are all bee-atches” Barry Walsh? Similar address and writing-style. Were Kate O’Connell and Mary Lou puritanical in their zeal to take him down a peg or two?

  2. D-troll

    bad enough broadsheet publishes Irish times articles, but now venturing into the letters section.

    let me explain it simply:

    guy pre covid goes to pub for a 5euro pint – he pays excise and vat totalling about 2 euro.
    guy during covid buys a 1euro can off beer in off-licence – excise and vat totalling about 50 cents.

    hence the reason for the difference between revenue commissioners pre and during covid.

    1. SOQ

      Yes that makes sense- the revenue intake is more a reflection of drinking habits rather than amount consumed.

      I would think most people have been drinking more during lockdowns?

      1. Johnny

        -most bars/restaurants in ny/la invited their regulars over and sold off all opened bottles,some also sold their cellars for cash,a tremendous amount top shelf,booze has been swilling round NY for sale cheap,last year,how much taxed no idea.
        -anyone i know who relied on the guardrails of appearing at work/office to temper their alcoholism is by now a big fat sweaty raving lunatic,howling at the moon and tilting at windmills:)

  3. george

    Doesn’t Revenue publish figures based on the euro value of the alcohol rather than the volume of alcohol? Alcohol bought in off-licenses is cheaper.

  4. D-troll

    Bodger i reckon there is real potential for Broadsheet long term based on the competition going downhill. The quality of the Indo and the IT has disintegrated badly in the last couple of years.

  5. scottser

    bloke in a restaurant. waiter asks him ‘are you ready to order, sir?’. he replies ‘i don’t really know what to have’. waiter says ‘what about the duck?’ the duck replies ‘ i’ll just have the lasagne’..

  6. Junkface

    Drinking has been mostly fun for me over the last year. Although the urge to run to a beer garden on a sunny day is now irresistible.

  7. Brian

    Interesting comments. Revenue also publishes litres of alcohol on which excise was paid. The journal report collected data in April to July 2020 so the Q1 2021 figure in the letter is a bit off (also they are provisional figures and Feb 2021 has fallen hugely for some reason).

    However in Q3—Q4 2020 there were falls in beer, spirits, and cider drinking – wine consumption increased though! The letter writer seems to have a point. The survey had a small Irish sample (about 500) and was an online survey which could undermine the Irish results. I haven’t bothered doing the maths but the drop in consumption in 2020 is probably in the 10%—15% range.

  8. Des

    New Revenue figures show that per capita alcohol consumption fell by 6.6% in 2020

    Figures based in consumption, Not tax take.

    1. SOQ

      This data indicates that Ireland’s alcohol consumption during the national COVID pandemic crisis, when most licenced premises were closed, has fallen by a little over 6% to 10.07 litres per capita.

      This is a reduction on the 2019 alcohol consumption figure of 10.78 litres per capita.

      Net Alcohol excise receipts for the year ended show only a 2.4% decline, demonstrating that the public finances have experienced little impact because of the pandemic experience.

      Within the sectoral receipts’ breakdowns, Wine shows a 12% consumption increase, Spirits a further 0.7% increase, year on year, while Beer indicates a 17.3% decrease and Cider a 11.4% reduction.

    2. Johnny

      -if you just knew your bar/restaurant was simply not going reopen but headed into liquidation along with many,many others would you still collect the tax bite and return it,to the same govt that just bankrupt you-or sell it cheap?

  9. SOQ

    I expect that someone people have been drinking more at home and some less- and the deciding factor is children. But in the minority of cases where alcohol is consumed with children around, you can be pretty certain that levels of abuse and violence etc has increased.

    It will take years to tease out the social implications of all of this.

  10. ian-oG

    Well I’ve made a few gallons of home made beer, easy enough, just need patience and a steady hand.

    Its OK stuff, drinkable but I do it more for something to do, when its done I usually give a few bottles around to people who might enjoy them then start a new batch. So far I have not had any complaints and requests for more so clearly its not bad stuff? To be honest though I do prefer the professionally made stuff.

    I also managed to get my hands on some good quality (tripled distilled) barley GNS which I have aging now in a small sherry quarter cask which was a job to get my hands on and even harder to get one that wasn’t nearly gone. I reckon I will leave it until possibly 2025-27 before bottling, should get about 30 ish bottles from it after the angels take their share. Biggest problem is storage but I have a good spot in the shed that is in perpetual shadow (the shed itself, two big trees either side and one behind means there is never much direct sunlight on it except in winter so fingers crossed.

    I will call it Whiskvid-19.

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