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Minimise alcohol harms over festive period, urges Drinkaware

12th October 2017

As pubs and bars gear up for the festive season, alcohol education charity Drinkaware is urging operators to take steps to minimise the risk of alcohol related harms in their venues.

Drinkaware chief executive Elaine Hindal said, "Alcohol is part of the festive celebrations for many people and most will enjoy a drink or two responsibly, without causing any harm to themselves or others.

"However, the sheer number of customers visiting pubs, clubs and bars at this busy time of year inevitably means a raised likelihood of alcohol harms. Responsible operators will want to create an environment that both helps customers to moderate their alcohol consumption, and supports those customers who might become vulnerable as a result of drinking too much.

"Drinkaware is keen to help operators to achieve their goals around responsible alcohol retailing, and we'd encourage them to explore the resources we can offer which include downloadable posters and an e-learning course for staff."

Drinkaware tips for reducing festive alcohol harms

  • Stock a good selection of soft drinks for customers who choose not to drink alcohol. If customers have a choice of soft drinks, they are more likely to substitute them for an alcoholic drink once or twice during the evening, which will help to limit their overall alcohol consumption.

  • Include no or low alcohol options on your drinks list. Drinks that are low in alcohol don't have to be low on taste and many brewers, for example, have focused on the lower alcohol sector lately, producing flavourful beers with lower ABVs.

  • Review your wine offer. Choosing house wines that sit at the lower end of the ABV scale will help many customers to reduce their alcohol intake. Similarly, offer wine in a 125ml serve and make customers aware this size is available.

  • Serve food for the same hours as you serve drink, or as close as possible. Food slows the absorption of alcohol, so customers are less likely to become vulnerable as a result of drinking too much, too quickly.

  • Make it very clear that you will not serve alcohol to customers who are drunk, or who are attempting to buy for a drunken friend, both of which are against the law. Drinkaware and the British Beer & Pub Association have produced two posters to help communicate this to customers - ‘Can't Get Served' and ‘Mate's in a State', which can both be downloaded from the Drinkaware website: https://resources.drinkaware.co.uk/downloads/posters

Equipping staff to support vulnerable customers

Earlier this year, Drinkaware launched an Alcohol Vulnerability Awareness e-learning course to give customer-facing staff the skills and knowledge to identify alcohol-related vulnerability and support customers at risk from harm.

The course helps staff to understand what vulnerability means, how to spot customers who are vulnerable to harm after drinking, and gives practical advice on how to support them. It includes scenarios with different types of vulnerable customers to illustrate the appropriate responses to each, and asks questions after each of the three modules. Staff have to score 70% to pass the course.

The Alcohol Vulnerability Awareness course was created following the success of Drinkaware Crew - teams of specially trained staff in venues who support vulnerable customers, currently operating in 14 cities around the country. The course is ideal for smaller venues and costs £20 per team member. To find out more, contact: elearning@drinkaware.co.uk

Hindal added, "We are grateful to the many licensees who already support our goals, whether they're displaying posters, training staff, or taking part in responsible drinks retailing schemes such as Best Bar None. The best pubs and bars are helping us all to change drinking habits for the better."

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