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  • Writer's pictureChristine Coulson

EURO 2024: What to do when the nation turns to booze...

Euro football within a goal net

Today heralds the start of UEFA's Euro 2024 - a competition that will see home nations Scotland and England compete against other European nations. For the next month, it's likely to dominate television, news and conversations. Right in the middle of the cricket season too , how rude!

Even if you're not really interested in the game itself, there is one thing that you won't be able to miss - the booze. The Euros. like the world cup and airports, is one of those times where Brits go absolutely crazy for alcohol and normal social conventions are thrown out of the window. Supermarkets entrances will be filled with slabs of lager, pubs will run some crazy promotions to get the fans through the door and the media will joke about the "nations' hangover" the morning after the first England match.

This isn't a new phenomenon, drinks company AB InBev reported sales of Budweiser increased by 19% during the 2010 FIFA World Cup - imagine what happened to the sale of the nice beers!! There has been one change; Euro 2024 is sponsored by Heineken 0.0 - the alcohol free lager - instead of the boozy equivalent. Recently official sponsor Guinness used the Six Nations Tournament to promote their 0% drink, and I've been at test matches where alcohol free beer has been promoted to the crowds during the drinks break. Maybe tides are shifting - but I'm not sure how much is filtering through to the nations' conscious as yet.

So what do you do if you're navigating your way through the tournament trying to protect your sobriety but not wanting to miss out on the collective fun? Well, here are some tips on what to do when the nation turns to booze.

Watching the games

If you're going to watch the games in the pub, know what you're going to be drinking ahead of time so you're not standing at the bar contemplating all that it has to offer. Most pubs now, in my experience, have at least one (often more) alcohol free lagers and ales available - and if that's not your bag; tonic waters, presses and 'adult' soft drinks are definitely available.

If you're not sure what a certain pub offers, phone ahead or send them a message through their social media to find out. I have done this a few times over the years and have never been responded to with anything other than the info I've asked for in a polite and inclusive way.

Drive to the pub, and give yourself permission to leave if you're feeling uncomfortable or tempted to drink.

If you're going to a friend's house, give them the heads up that you're not drinking. Take what you want to drink and - again - give yourself permission to leave when you are no longer enjoying being sober in that environment.

If you're hosting a football match with mates - offer a selection of 0% beers or adult soft drinks whether you know if anyone attending is intending to drink or not! A drinker may be driving, or maybe they just don't want to drink too much and offering a choice gives them just that - a choice - without making a big deal of it.


Oh supermarkets, why do you do this to us? A rhetorical question of course, it's for profit. The prevalence of alcohol in places outside the alcohol aisles can be really difficult to navigate for some who have newly quit alcohol or who are finding something like the Euros triggering. So realistically, what can you do instead if this is going to be a problem for you? My advice would be avoid, avoid, avoid. Maybe get shopping delivered to you so you aren't tempted by the display that greets you - that's either the weekly 'big shop' or a 'Deliveroo' little shop if you have that option in your area. If you have someone willing, send them to pick up the shopping, or head to a smaller shop where they're unlikely to have the space for a big promotion.


Fundamentally, your ability to navigate any footy-related triggers will boil down to whether you feel you're missing out on something by not drinking, or are determined to enjoy the tournament with a clear head.

You 100% have my permission to be internally smug the morning after when everyone else is feeling rotten but you're bright-eyed and bushy tailed. That's internally smug - don't be a dick about it.

Focus on the positives watching football sober can bring - no queuing at the bar in the middle of the game or the half time rush to the toilets. You will remember the details of the match and will enjoy it for what it is. Or not, depending on who you support.

Instead of focusing on the deals on alcohol in the shops, focus on the money you have saved overall - and will continue to do so. Yes, an alcohol free beer may still cost a bit in a pub - they have staff salaries and other overheads to pay - but you won't be drinking it in the quantities you may have with the boozy version.

Think of the taxi fare you're saving by driving to the pub. Think of the takeaway you won't be ordering because you're not too pissed to cook the food that's in your fridge.

And if someone you're with orders a non-alcoholic drink over the next month - or indeed ever - don't question it. Accept it. And when it's your round just quietly buy them the drink they want.

Hopefully that helps, and it just leads me to say one thing - GO TEAM!


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