Drinking habits can greatly vary from one country to another depending on the culture and the laws. In most countries in the world, the drinking age is quite low, around 16 and 18 years old, and in some countries, there are not even any restrictions about it. However, in places with a history of freedom fighters like the US the rules can surprisingly be quite strict with an age limit at 21. The younger the limit the more developed the alcohol consumption culture is generally developed. If you plan to travel abroad be mindful to inform yourself of the regulation or you may face a real cultural chock.
1. South Korea with no limit
South Korean people have a strong drinking habit. In many studies, it appears that they drink more than any other population in Asia. Most of the meetings involve drinking. There will always be someone suggesting a round of drinks. Soju, Korean alcohol, is their favorite and tends to be easily mixed up with other beverages like beer for example. Even though the checking of ID is getting stricter, alcohol is quite accessible thanks to the multiple convenience stores. Moreover, this habit came from the belief that drinking helps to get closer to others.
2. France loves its wine
If French people have a long history with the consumption of alcohol, they are still considered as “civilized drinkers”. In other words, most of them drink regularly but don’t binge drink like many of its neighboring countries. However, it does not mean they don’t drink a lot. In the short run, they may not be on the podium, but a comparison over a long time frame points out that they could be labeled heavy drinkers. The drinking habit in France is often linked to the economic situation of the country. Most heavy drinkers are low-income individuals. On a reasonably regular basis, the French like to drink wine during meals or after work to chill out.
3. South Africa binge drinking
When it comes to alcohol, foreigners visiting or living in South African tend to consider the locals as “irresponsible” drinkers. Even though it must not be generalized, this is not far from the truth since the country is rated sixth in the world for binge drinking. The binge drinking habit can be witnessed especially from Friday to Sunday. It is not rare to find some people still drunk when going to work on Monday. One of the reasons for this high consumption is the accessibility of alcohol, quite cheap, and numerous advertisements about it. Alcohol is often linked to sport. These drinking habits also affect the high youth population.
4. Russian drinking pattern
Russian like to drink and this is well-known. However, unlike many other countries, they don’t just drink to drink. Drinking is linked to many interesting customs. If vodka is favored by most as the national alcohol, they are still very open to other kinds of spirit. The trick is that every spirit should have its own consuming patterns like the number of sips, the snacks, the reasons, and surroundings for drinking. After the collapse of the Soviet Union, middle-class Russians tend to prefer foreign spirits like Whisky or Rum. So don’t worry if you can’t handle shots of Vodka, you can still get a cocktail.
5. U.K regular drinking
In the United Kingdom, drinking is especially pronounced in the young population. It is not surprising for locals to see that at the end of the week, many young people are completely drunk at 2 a.m two nights in a row. In the U.K it’s the wealthiest who drinks the most. 90% in the least deprived areas drink alcohol regularly. The concern however is not about the alcohol itself but the tendency to binge drink. Statistics have revealed that drunkenness can be observed among pupils aged only 11 years old. The consumption of alcohol generally follows this trend. This is why the gender, location, and age of heavy binge drinkers can vary from one semester to another.
6. The United Arab Emirates under Sharia laws
Laws in the UAE are very strict about alcohol because of religious beliefs. However as the country is becoming more and more attractive for foreign tourists used to drink, the rules have relaxed in hotels and nightclubs. Those places are generally where most people consume alcohol since doing so or, simply having some at home requires an interior liquor permit. If not, you can risk arrest, fines, and even imprisonment. Alcohol in hotels is reserved for guests. If you are not you must then carry a liquor license. Be aware that drinking or being drunk in public is considered as illegal as not stopping at a red light.
7. US all or nothing
The diversity of the American population makes it quite difficult to define one American drinking habit. America is not really a melting pot but more a federation of different distinct cultures. Therefore, anyone moving will most likely stick with their own cultural drinking habits. However, the lines tend to blur a bit when it comes to the younger generations. Drinking alcohol in America is not part of a daily routine and usually needs to be motivated by a reason. However, when Americans start consuming they don’t stop at one. Sport, get-togethers, and celebrations are the main reasons for drinking alcohol. The binge-drinking inspired by the British is becoming more and more popular.
If rules are in place, it does not mean they are always respected. You will learn more from the locals about the drinking habits than from a book. Therefore, don’t be afraid to ask before adopting your home behavior. Each law has its reasons behind, and even if you don’t agree you must respect them, especially when it’s about religion. Some alcohol consumption habits can be very quite dangerous so elsewhere is not always better than home. European countries have a reputation of being quite tolerant about it but again it’s not a generality like this article proves it.