Wednesday, 27 March 2013

Holiday season

My first holiday of the year starts tomorrow. Where better for the beer lover than Belgium, where the appendage 'brewer' is highly respected by everyone and the alcohol police are yet to hold sway.

I'm staying with my family in Sunparks,in the quaint, slightly up-market resort of De Haan on the coast. Sunparks is a sort of League 2 version of Center Parcs. It's under the same ownership as Center Parcs and bizarrely was re-branded as such last year only to revert to its former name again this year. It isn't in the middle of nowhere  - the only partly true strap line is 'In the Middle of Everywhere' - but that's a plus point for me. A semi-detached house, tropical pool complex and excellent transport routes including a bus to Bruges and the the wonderful coastal tram which runs every 15 minutes from the French border in the east to the Dutch coast in the east.

'De Torre' in De Haan. A stylish Art Nouveau bar, typical of the architecture of the town, just 18 steps from the tram stop.

There's a couple of very good bars in De Haan, and plenty of others along the coast and my day out in Bruges will be especially beery. Op uw gezondheid!

Wednesday, 13 March 2013

Minimum Pricing latest

So David Cameron climbs down on minimum pricing for alcohol. A battle may have been won but certainly not the war.

We know that the health lobby don't just want to tackle binge drinkers but won't be happy until all drinkers are cajoled into paying more and drinking less.

A newespaper advert from my local 'health provider' last week even inferred that reducing alcohol consumption can help people find a better job.

Tuesday, 5 March 2013

Global Burden of Disease Study 2010

Many of you will no doubt seen headlines today proclaiming Britain as one of the unhealthiest developed countries in the world with lower life expectancy than many of those countries. As you would expect, alcohol was identified as one of the problems.

I spent some time examining the report and discovered some interesting facts. There is no denying that liver disease has become more prevalent in the UK over the last 20 years and that certain sections of society do not treat alcohol with the respect that it demands. However, looking at the statistics the UK now ranks 11th of the 19 countries surveyed for deaths from cirrhosis of the liver. Despite Belgium's multitude of extra-strong beers their level of cirrhosis is lower than the UK. We have less deaths than France, Germany or USA. The level of deaths in the UK is statistically indistinguishable from the mean for all the countries.

While I don't deny that there is a problem with some people binge drinking in the UK, to say that the problem is unique to the UK is wide of the mark. That won't stop the health lobby making life difficult for the vast majority who drink responsibly