"Britain's cities are already among the booziest in the world, and the worry is that they will become more alcohol-sodden once the old restrictions are done away with. The new act addresses some fears by giving local authorities more powers to move against troublesome pubs. But as Andrew McNeill, director of the Institute for Alcohol Studies, an independent think-tank, puts it, “It's not that the Pig & Whistle is badly managed. The problem is that there are 40 Pig & Whistles in a tiny area.”
"Drink has become more of a problem partly because Britons are drinking more. The average adult consumed 11.2 litres of pure alcohol last year—12% more than when Labour came to power, and more than twice as much as in the middle of the 20th century. While most Europeans have cut back in recent years and Americans continue in their moderate ways, the British and Irish are both on seemingly unstoppable benders.
"But the real problem is the way Britons drink. Like Scandinavians, they like to get very drunk, but their drinking habits are as sociable as more moderate Mediterranean tipplers. British institutions such as the round and the pub crawl encourage group boozing and clusters of outlets—a trend that has accelerated since the early 1990s as a result of more liberal licensing. The hope was that allowing people to drink when and where they want would encourage self-restraint. The effect so far has been akin to letting Vikings loose in the piazza."