Alcohol consumption among Colombians increased during the pandemic

Archive image. Colombians reported consuming a few extra drinks during the pandemic. Photo: April 8, 2020. REUTERS / Maxim Shemetov

During the pandemic, alcohol consumption in Colombia has increased. This was recently seen by the Social Pulse survey carried out by the National Administrative Department of Statistics (Dane), in which it was revealed that this has been one of the seven most frequent activities among Colombians during confinement.

Additionally, the most recent balance sheet of the gigantic production company Belgian-Brazilian AB-InBev revealed that the country achieved the highest rate of beer consumption in 25 years. According to the brewer, in the first nine months of this year, revenues from its own direct-to-consumer distribution (DTC) business exceeded $ 1,000. million, with a strong e-commerce ingredient, which grew more than 90%, reaching almost 50 million orders, 1.5 times more than in all of 2020.

According to Euromonitor, the beer industry in Colombia reported sales of $ 9.1 billion pesos with a total production that would be around 22 million hectoliters per year.

According to the international study, in the region only Brazil and Mexico drink more beer than in Colombia.

According to a report by Noticias Caracol, the quarantines and restrictions decreed throughout the country not only impacted the economy of Colombians, but also affected social and family relationships, generating stress and anxiety in citizens, which led some to pass the bitter drink of the pandemic with a few more drinks.

“People were locked up and apart from that stressed”, expressed the citizen María González to the television newscast. For his part, Jesús Torres, another citizen investigated by the same medium, assured that Colombians have drunk too much in recent months, since they are “Taking out what he couldn’t drink at the beginning of the pandemic.”

According to the psychiatrist Rosana Gluk, interviewed by Noticias Caracol, the age range in which the increase in the consumption of alcoholic beverages has been most identified is in people who have between 45 and 65 years, followed by the population group between 25 and 35 years.

However, a recent study carried out by the New Rumbos Corporation and the Bavaria Foundation, in which more than 11,500 high school students were linked up to 17 years of age, revealed that in Colombia minors begin to consume alcohol around 13 years of age.

According to the study, 40% of minors in the country are exposed to the consumption of alcoholic beverages, while another 60% affirmed that these products are easy to access and even 70% assured that they consume liquor in the presence of their parents.

Regarding the figures, the director of the New Rumbos Corporation, Augusto Pérez, explained that alcohol consumption from an early age occurs for two reasons: being constantly exposed to those drinks, which makes them curious to try them, in addition to cultural aspects that encourage the consumption of alcohol before the established legal age.

“First of all, curiosity is a very important factor because it appears as a normal part of children’s development. Second is the lack of controls by adults. Thirdly, in a country like Colombia there are cultural conditions that mean that in many regions it has traditionally been accepted that minors can drink alcohol very early and, finally, there is the desire to appear to be adults ”, explained the director of the New Rumbos Corporation.

A section of the report, known by the magazine Semana, also revealed that one of the most worrying points of the investigation is that today, the number of young people who consume alcohol with their groups of friends has decreased and, on the contrary, the number of minors who ingested these alcoholic beverages with their parents or other relatives increased.

“This last behavior is related to the pandemic and the measures that led them to spend more time at home”, it is read in the document obtained by the same means.

By cities, the report revealed that Bogotá is the metropolis where young people consume alcohol the most days in a row, while Medellin It is the capital where adolescents have the highest levels of intake of alcoholic beverages.

Given the panorama, in an interview with Noticias Caracol, the dean of sociology at the Santo Tomás University, Miguel Urra, warned that, in the coming months, alcohol consumption in Colombia could continue to increase. “They say that now in the post-pandemic they want to make up for lost time, they want to make up for lost parties and leisure”, concluded the specialist.


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