New official drinking statistics confirm that millennials are more sober than their lush parents – and drink less than any other age group.
The Office of National Statistics reports that teetotalism is rising among all age groups under 44 and declining with the over-65s.
Despite the lurid headlines, Britain is in fact drying, slowly, according to the figures which confirm last year's findings. Compared to 2005, fewer people drink occasionally, and far fewer people drink regularly (five days a week). The only thing rising is teetotalism.
Although as the population ages, people are more likely to want relax with a drink than before.
"The proportion of adults who reported not drinking at all has fallen significantly by around 5 percentage points from 29.4 per cent in 2005 to 24.2 per cent in 2017," the report states. "This finding is largely explained by a significant reduction in self-reported teetotalism among women in this age group."
"Mindful drinking, a modern-day temperance movement, is becoming increasingly fashionable among millennials who are looking to moderate their alcohol intake, embrace periods of sobriety or even become fully teetotal," The Times reported last year. Choice tipples with today's yoof include the "Pink hotpants cocktail", which consists of "Pimento ginger beer, sparkling water, grapefruit syrup and juice, sprig of mint."
Health puritans needing to create a moral panic can cling to only one finding in the ONS survey – although even that isn't what it seems to be.
The ONS finds that "28.7 per cent of men and 25.6 per cent of women binged alcohol on their heaviest drinking day". But when we look at what defines a "binge", we discover that it's six units for women and eight for men.
Proof that we're not making this up. Source: ONS
That's fewer than three large glasses of Prosecco for women throughout the day – barely enough to get the evening started – or for men, fewer than four pints of 4 per cent ABV beer. I suspect few readers would call a four-pint evening a "binge" – but unlike the wise scienticians who get paid to tell us what's good for us, we are not health "experts", are we? ®