The most silly gesture of the ‘responsible drinking’ campaign and anti-alcohol lobby is the requirement on many websites connected with breweries, wineries, vineyards and drinks groups (alcoholic drinks groups) to tick a box to say that you are aged over 18 before visiting the website. How is blocking those aged under 18 from reading about beer, wine or spirits a way to encourage them to ‘drink responsibly’? (The slogan of the Portman Group of concerned drinks companies). It is an aged 21 requirement in some old fashioned countries where guns are more available than drink. Leaving aside the fact that it is a self-verification system. Encouraging, educating, supporting (in a context of family, friends or as could have been the case with Sixth Formers in the past, teachers) young people – and any age – to drink socially, enjoyably, to enjoy the experience rather than simply volume and getting drunk, these are useful ways to help a better drinking culture in Britain, more like that of many of our continental European friends.

Banning people under age 18 from reading about alcohol on websites is no way to do it. On principle I refuse to put in my details and enter any website that has an age bar. I won’t look at that brewery or company site – I will almost inevitably find another website that tells me what I want to know about the beer, wine or vineyard. I’ve learnt, and try to follow, three lessons in recent years. To concentrate on enjoying the experience and spending time with friends, rather than focusing on drinking and getting drunk. To eat when drinking (as they do usually in Ukraine, Georgia and Spain, sometimes France and Italy). And to drink water or other non alcoholic drinks – to get less drunk less quickly and stay hydrated to get less hungover. My efforts have often led to more enjoyable experiences, both in the evening and the next day. Whether alone or with friends – lessons best learnt with family and friends, to drink enjoyably with food and water as well. Pub companies, the Government, health / anti-alcohol lobby and the big companies and small craft breweries could all take a less preachy, less nagging approach. As the Council and Police advertising campaigns in Liverpool and elsewhere have encouraged – aid people to have a good time, not have a night that ends up bad.

The gallery shows some examples. Mostly screen shots from my phone. On a couple a friend’s Facebook pic in Messenger was also captured so I had to edit that out.

The drinkaware.co.uk and other health related websites do provide a wide variety of useful information, advice and practical tips. All about helping people have better times.