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How has COVID-19, lockdown and social distancing changed alcohol drinking patterns? A cross-cultural perspective between britons and spaniards

  • Rodrigues, Heber1
  • Valentin, Dominique2
  • Franco-Luesma, Ernesto3
  • Ramaroson Rakotosamimanana, Vonimihaingo...4
  • Gomez-Corona, Carlos5
  • Saldaña, Erick6
  • Sáenz-Navajas, María-Pilar7
  • 1 Plumpton College, UK Centre for Excellence in Wine Education, Training and Research, Ditchling Road, Brighton BN7 3AE, East Sussex, United Kingdom
  • 2 Centre des Sciences du Goût et de l'Alimentation, AgroSup Dijon, CNRS, INRAE, Université Bourgogne Franche-Comté, F-21000 Dijon, France
  • 3 Department of Chemistry, Universidad de La Rioja, Logroño, La Rioja, Spain
  • 4 Laboratoire d'Analyse Sensorielle, FOFIFA Ambatobe, Antananarivo, Madagascar
  • 5 XOC Estudio, Mexico City, Mexico
  • 6 Facultad de Ingeniería Agroindustrial, Universidad Nacional de Moquegua (UNAM), Calle Ancash s/n, 18001 Moquegua, Peru
  • 7 Instituto de Ciencias de la Vid y del Vino (CSIC-GR-UR), Department of Oenology, Finca La Grajera, Ctra. de Burgos Km. 6 (LO-20 - salida 13), E-26007 Logroño, La Rioja, Spain
Published Article
Food Quality and Preference
Elsevier Ltd.
Publication Date
Aug 06, 2021
DOI: 10.1016/j.foodqual.2021.104344
PMID: 34545271
PMCID: PMC8443508
PubMed Central
  • Article


During the early months of 2020, the world experienced a novel, violent, and relentless pandemic era. By the end of the year more than seventy-seven million cases of COVID-19 had been reported around the globe. Due to it being a highly contagious disease, the recommended measures adopted by most nations to prevent infection include social distancing and quarantine. How did these measures affect people's relationship with alcohol consumption in cultures where alcohol plays an important social role? A questionnaire-based study, designed to follow the drinking behaviour of people before and during lockdown was applied to two different cultural groups impacted by the pandemic during the strict phase of lockdown. These are the British and Spanish populations (179 participants from each country were interviewed). Considering the frequency of consumption of the alcoholic beverages evaluated (wine, beer, cider, whisky and spirits), the results showed that a significant lockdown*country interaction was observed. Overall, Spanish participants consumed alcoholic beverages less frequently during lockdown than before, while British participants reported no change in their consumption habits. Spaniards’ decrease in alcohol consumption is related to the absence of a social contexts while Britons seems to have adapted their consumption to the modified context. Results suggest that, alcohol consumption is a central core of the British culture, while for the Spanish, socialization is more a cultural characteristic than the alcohol itself.

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