Why is alcohol a big part of British culture?

Image of people holding drinks and standing in the sun

This article about the role of alcohol in British culture was updated by the Great British Mag content team on 3 September, 2019

The UK’s drinking culture is a big part of socialising with friends, doing business and even networking to find your next job.

Whether it’s the traditional rush of office workers at the nearest pub on a Friday evening to get the latest work gossip over a few beers, or having a glass of wine to accompany a meal with friends and family, there’s no doubt that we love a “tipple.”

Drinking alcohol is mainly about being sociable. Us Brits love to get together in bars, clubs, restaurants and pubs to catch-up on gossip, talk politics, watch sport and celebrate friends and families’ successes and anniversaries, like growing another year older. The drinking age in the UK is 18 years old, but many pubs are family-friendly places where small children are allowed.

However, not all social activities involve drinking because not all Brits drink! Some of us practice teetotalism, where we pledge not to drink at all. Meanwhile, others don’t like the taste or have their own reasons for abstaining, but still have active social lives. Believe it or not, a lot of us enjoy watching a movie or playing a game of tennis and don’t feel the need to have a beer afterwards!

In summary, yes some Brits consume alcoholic drinks as a way to relax, and meeting in pubs and bars is a big part of socialising here in the UK. However, that doesn’t mean you should feel any pressure to drink alcohol if you don’t want to. In fact, there are many great alternatives such as alcohol-free beers and spirits. These are often served in pubs, along with fizzy drinks which contain no alcohol.