Not that I’ve checked the numbers but

A British University has closed its Student Union bar because of a dwindling demand for alcohol from its students who increasingly prefer coffee to beer.

Abertay University, located in Dundee, Scotland, said that stocking alcohol at Bar One was no longer viable as the income generated from sales has “dropped drastically” in recent years.

Alcohol sales at the venue, which opened in 2005, have plummeted by two-thirds since 2014, as young people are choosing to spend their money on non-alcoholic alternatives such as coffee.

Might there be religious reasons for this? The religious structure of the population, as with that of race, being very different across the age cohorts.

35 comments on “Not that I’ve checked the numbers but

  1. By 2/3rds in 5 years?

    There’s something not being mentioned here. Like the SU have ramped up prices or a new cheap fun bar has opened.

    It’s s definitely the case that students are drinking less, but that data sounds off

  2. Might there be religious reasons for this?

    I think it’s probably more to do with this generation being so wet they make the millennials look like The Wolf of Wall St.

  3. Anecdotes are not data, but my 19 year old nephew who has just completed first year at a Scottish varsity, drinks very, very infrequently, even when I am paying. He will have a glass of cider and then switch to coffee or water.

  4. I thought soft drinks (and coffee) had higher markup on them (particularly after taking into account taxes) so were more profitable. Certainly when I was at uni the beer was cheaper than the soft drinks.

    So whilst I can certainly believe less students are drinking during the daytime it just can’t be a very good/competitive venue if they aren’t attracting sufficient customers in an evening – its not like stocking alcohol has particularly high costs.

  5. Uni run venues are shite when compared to off campus bars. Their prices are no lower and there’s no real competition to drive standards up.

  6. Don’t the youngsters now prefer to buy cheaper alcohol in the supermarkets and drink at home? I thought that was the big trend.

  7. Barry, yes and also it’s likely to be a taxi ride into town from campus so you may as well start there.

    This has much more to do with a change in drinking culture than religion.

  8. Students get taxis?

    [insert comedy Yorkshireman rant]

    But also habits, not religions. Anecdatally, my generation of students was far more drunken than the previous, and far less than the current.

  9. “Is this the dawning of a new Enlightenment? The students may actually be … studying?”

    Yes but what? Transgender wokeness Studies? Kill All Whites racial grievance Studies? Socialism is the Answer to all our Problems Studies?

  10. Actual Dundee University was institutionally alcoholic when I was there in the 70s and the subsidised Union bar was packed every night with drunks, me included.

    The introductory Gaudie Night for new students left the city looking like bombed out Beirut with all the incapable freshers littering the streets

    https://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Gaudy

  11. Kids have gone off the booze. My 18 year old and all her mates pretty much teetotal apart from the occasional night in a club when they get blitzed on 2 beers. It’s a generational shift. Demand for grog is waning. It’s old farts like me that keep the sales going.

  12. “It’s a generational shift.”

    Rebelliion / embarrassment at seeing their parents sprawled in the gutter with their pants over their head…

  13. Could it actually be a side effect of the alcohol minimum price law in Scotland that makes the SU bar less competitive than somewhere less of a shite hole? Oh, hang on, it is Scotland. But that still makes price a factor.

  14. I just looked at the original article and its illustration. So being a fat tattooed slag is less embarrassing than being pissed out of your head?

  15. @ The Mole
    Times have changed – in some places. My elder son told me that Durham Student Union bar subsidised soft drinks out of the
    profit on beer.
    Most pubs have mark-ups of more than 100% on soft drinks but many provide tap water at no charge.

  16. Also, is a students’ union closing a bar because it isn’t profitable a lesson in free market capitalism, or proof that free market capitalism has failed (and therefore the union bar needs to take even more money off someone else to continue serving its customers)?

  17. @ BiG
    It claims to be a lesson in free market capitalism, aligning the menu to customer demand. They haven’t closed the bar, just stopped selling alcohol.
    @ Allthegoodnamesaretaken
    Depends on who runs it. When I was “up” my college’s JCR Bar was IMHO excellent, charged lower prices than the pubs but made a modest loss because its potential base was a couple of hundred guys and their girlfriends. The JCR underwrote its modest loss.

  18. This is a phenomenon all over the country.

    Social media is probably the biggest driver. Partly it’s about wanting to be fit and look good on Instagram/tinder/snapchat, as that’s what gets you the mating opportunities. Partly it’s because everyone has videophones and any silly behaviour will be evidenced forever.

    After that, it’s the fact that people do tend to take the studying side more seriously relative to partying, given they are paying for it.

    Also, booze is more expensive these days. There are more Muslims around (don’t expect that applies much to Abertay mind).

    The social media thing is pretty sad in many ways, though it has its benefits too. But it makes people become very conformist in their not-so-private life in many ways.

  19. @ Pcar if they banned burgers to promote decent nutrition, they could have an argument …
    As for almonds – it’s only Californian almonds that create a significant problem, cotton: ban Uzbek cotton.
    Of course, since Imperial and UCL quit London University, the number of people there who can actually think is greatly reduced

  20. john77 said:
    “When I was “up” my college’s JCR Bar was IMHO excellent, charged lower prices than the pubs but made a modest loss”

    Mine was 17.5% cheaper than the pubs, and sold a lot of beer, until the VAT man discovered that they should have been registered for the previous five years.

  21. Business 101: Balance margins and volume.

    I suspect it never occurred to the university geniuses to cut prices.

  22. @john77

    UCL still part of UoL.

    Wye College has gone though – folded into Imperial who as you say have also left, and Wye campus and its courses were closed.

    Heythrop College closed in 2018, a shame as it was 400 years old but seems there isn’t the demand for Catholic theologians anymore…

    Couple of other colleges have folded into others – School of Slavonic and Eastern European Studies and the UoL Institute of Education folded into UCL.

    But there have been new joiners too since 2000: City, Royal Academy of Music and the Royal Central School of Speech and Drama.

  23. My daughter, now 22, has always been teetotal. She seems to have influenced her boyfriend to more or less give up the booze too. Interestingly we recently went to the Edinburgh Fringe and had a spare place in our accommodation and gave a free place to one of our daughter’s friends who is a Muslim. To thank us for our generosity, she gave us a gift bag that included an excellent single malt whisky for me. I had assumed that she had asked my daughter about what stuff I preferred but it turns out that she is quite knowledgeable about whisky and had bought accordingly. It would appear that her and her family are Muslim in name only. This makes me wonder about how many others are the same.

  24. @Stonyground

    Possibly a misleading indicator to look at as many Muslims (who would class themselves as both practising and believing) have a taste for some forms of alcohol. What’s culturally accepted / tolerated varies from place to place – whisky in Pakistan, wine in Turkey and so on, with some countries being “drier” than others. Also different traditions emerge within migrant communities – I’m informed that beer consumption is relatively normalised among British Pakistani men of the first or second generation, to a greater extent than it is accepted in Pakistan (and the older generation of British Pakistanis still look down on their youth for this infraction, even though many of them will drink whisky!).

    On the other hand there are lots of people who might best be described as “cultural Muslims” (from that heritage but largely non-practising but who would self-describe as “not really religious” or “spiritual but not religious”) who will still refuse pork. That taboo is much stronger than the alcohol one.

  25. @ MBE
    I am happy to accept your correction.
    UCL’s website pronounces itself “a multi-disciplinary university” not “part of …” so I presumed that it had left – which would have rendered its name inapposite.

  26. @john77

    QMUL, KCL, Birkbeck, SOAS, LSE, City would all describe themselves as “universities” rather than “colleges” or “member institutions” too though. It’s obviously more complicated than how colleges work at Durham or Oxbridge since they can have a wide range of faculties and have responsibility for the academic provision and assessment, and indeed many of them (but not all) produce their own certificates. Not sure if this is how the old Victoria University (Liverpool/Manchester/Leeds) used to work.

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