Nightcap Anxiety: Are Brits Worried About Their Current Drinking Habits?

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Emma-Leigh Hull

Digital PR and Campaigns Manager

Beer subscription boxes and impassioned elegies about the pub has become the norm in the Liberty (digital) office, so we’re right there with you.

Britain has always had a strong drinking culture compared to other countries, but has our drinking increased too much due to the lockdown?

Well, we’ve analysed the UK’s search habits to see how the lockdown has affected the UK’s drinking habits to discern whether we’re worried about our evening nightcaps.

Are We Feeling More Anxious About Drinking?

Where do we go when we have a semi-serious, burning personal question? To Google, of course!

According to our research, Brits are asking the web more questions about their drinking habits compared to last March, including informational searches related to alcoholism.

For example, the query “what are the symptoms of drinking too much alcohol” has gone up by a huge 156% compared to this time last year.

Terms such as “Do I drink too much?” has gone up by 82% compared to March last year, too, with “Am I an alcoholic?” worryingly increasing by 12% over the same period.

So, even though our local haunts are shut and we can’t see our favourite drinking buddies, it appears we are drinking more to pass the time and ease anxiety, and are much more aware – and worried – of it.

Are We Actually Drinking More?

Sure, the odd weekend night of binge drinking and making friends with a local curb may be over for now, but in terms of units consumed over the week, it’s easy to opt for an extra glass of wine or can of beer in the evening compared to normal.

For those working from home who like to drink on the weekdays, the loss of our commute time may lead to our evenings starting a little earlier or ending a little later, equating to a few extra units of alcohol compared to our normal consumption.

According to Alcohol Change, one-in-five Brits have admitted to drinking more since lockdown began on March 23rd, while UK supermarkets have reportedly sold 30% more alcohol than pre-lockdown averages. Of course, all this drinking is going to have a negative consequence on public health. Doctor Aragona Giuseppe, GP and Medical Advisor at Prescription Doctor, says:

Our relationship with alcohol hasn’t just changed in terms of consumption, however – as a nation, there has been a significant shift in buying habits too.

How Have Our Buying Habits Changed?

With the pubs shut and shopping habits shifting to online orders, queries for “alcohol delivery” have gone up by a massive 442% compared to last March.

We have also found that search terms for specific types of alcohol deliveries have also increased over the same period:

  • Spirit delivery – 395%
  • Order cheap alcohol – 371%
  • Beer delivery – 265%
  • Wine delivery – 252%
  • Cheap beer – 156%
  • Beer subscription – 71%

GWI’s Coronavirus Research also suggests that the UK are more likely to order alcohol online than any other European country.

What Does This Research Really Tell Us?

While we’re not an advisory body on alcohol consumption, and few of our staff are teetotal, it’s fair to say that the UK’s increased anxiety over drinking habits comes down to this reason: drinking more often and having more time to ponder, hungover.

When we’re drinking in social situations, it’s easier to forget about the consequences of our actions. If we’re at home, however, it offers more of an opportunity to reflect on how much we’re drinking, as well as the reasons why we may want to do so.

So, if you’re dealing with the stress of the lockdown with alcohol like many other Brits, and worry you may be overdoing it, be sure to visit Drink Aware and take the self-assessment test.

In the meantime, we’ll be keeping an eye on those search volumes!

If you have any questions about our research or methodology, please email

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Emma-Leigh Hull

Digital PR and Campaigns Manager

Emma- Leigh previously worked at a travel PR agency and a number of tourist boards. At Liberty she has had a keen interest in e-commerce, getting clients in as many of our clients in ‘best buy’ guides. Finance, particularly property finance, mortgage rates, creating campaigns around housing and interest rates and legal. Creating reactive PR…

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