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‘Responsible drinking’ on the rise among Indian youth: Study

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More and more Indians are taking to drinking, but also on the rise is ‘responsible’ drinking, limiting consumption within limits and only in social occasions. These are the findings of a study done across three North Indian states recently.

The study finds that there is now across-the-board acceptance of drinking, with festival celebrations being considered incomplete without it. No longer an ostracised activity, 54 per cent of the respondents said they drink at casual gettogethers, festivals or social occasions. “Any celebration, be it wedding, housewarming, anniversaries or birthdays or festivities are incomplete without moderate alcohol. Brand of the drink symbolises status and the host’s worth in society,” notes the study done by IMRB-NFX on behalf of the National Restaurants Association of India (NRAI).

Interestingly, a good chunk of the respondents confessed that they do not drink at home in the presence of elders—this percentage is higher for women who drink. One of the main grouse among the users was the lack of enough number of licensed liquor outlets, be it shops or restaurant/pubs which would offer a legal option for patrons to enjoy their drinks responsibly. In a figure supplied by NRAI, while Maharashtra and Karnataka (essentially Mumbai and Bengaluru) had 11,500 and 7,450 liquor outlets respectively, the figure was just 884 in the national capital.

While the percentage of those consuming alcohol has gone up among millennials (21 to 35 age group), the study observes that younger drinkers are much more responsible when it came to their consumption pattern. While a majority of them said they drink, they also placed great emphasis on ensuring that consumption is within limits, and only in the company of people with proven track record of behaving responsibly after a few drinks.

“These findings are a reflection of the seismic changes we are seeing when it comes to declining binge drinking levels and the cultural shift that is happening in the relationship between India’s millennials and alcohol,” said Rahul Singh, president of NRAI.

A sizeable chunk of those surveyed felt that there should be more licensed retail outlets for alcohol in their cities, with longer and flexible opening hours as well as uniform price points across states. Many also argued that legal premises serving alcohol like bars and pubs should stay open longer.

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