By philipedwards, Aug 14 2017 07:09AM
Why an alcohol alternative? The true cost of drinking
Benefits of the alcohol industry
The production and retail of alcohol contributes £46 billion a year to the UK economy. It also creates some 770,000 jobs, most of these being in pubs, clubs and bars. The export of spirits generates £1.7 billion a year and £11 billion is collected by the government in England in alcohol excise duty2.
Economic cost of alcohol
The true economic burden of alcohol is more difficult to calculate, but estimates are possible. There are several categories to be considered when attempting to generate a figure; These include directs costs (to the healthcare system, criminal system and welfare system), indirect costs (reduced productivity, absenteeism, unemployment, decreased output, reduced earnings potential and premature pension or death), and intangible costs (pain and suffering and reduced quality of life)1.
A report from the Institute of Alcohol Studies has revealed that alcohol consumption significantly reduces productivity at work with 28% of UK workers admitting to going to work hungover; and that’s if they even make it in. Studies show high risk drinking can increase the probability of absenteeism by 53%2.
The report also found that being a problem drinker dramatically effects an individual’s chance of employment and is equivalent in career terms to not having a university degree. Finally, alcohol related premature death or early retirement was responsible for 167,000 years of working life lost in England in 2015 alone2.
Wider evidence compiled by Public Health England estimates the total cost of alcohol in England at between 1.3% and 2.7% of the gross domestic product (GDP)1,2. One growing concern is that the enormous socioeconomic burden of alcohol’s impact on society is not being met by the alcohol industry, but instead by the taxpayer.
Alcohol alternative - an economic solution
So, it’s not just the devastating health effects that result from limited drinking choices. With today’s rapid progress in science, there is no excuse for society ignoring the potential for healthier alternatives that would have a positive economic impact on all of us, drinkers and non-drinkers alike.
Alcarelle are targeting an alternative adult beverage which would induce relaxation and encourage jollity and social interaction. If successful, such a new product would ideally be licensed for alcohol companies to manufacture and distribute in the conventional way, through shops, bars and pubs, and therefore would not threaten the vital economic role that the alcohol industry currently performs. Fewer people with hangover and more people living longer and more productive lives would generate socioeconomic benefits for everyone.
1. The Public Health Burden of Alcohol and the Effectiveness and Cost-Effectiveness of Alcohol Control Policies: An evidence review, 2016 Public Heath England
2. Splitting the bill: alcohol’s impact on the economy, an Institute Of Alcohol Studies Report, February 2017