Home > Barometer 2022 summary briefing paper.

Drinkaware. (2022) Barometer 2022 summary briefing paper. Dublin: Drinkaware.

PDF (Barometer 2022 summary briefing paper) - Published Version

The Drinkaware Annual Barometer 2022, provides an overview of adults’ drinking behaviour in Ireland. The first round of its 2022 findings, as reported by the independent national charity working to prevent and reduce alcohol misuse, provides a comprehensive overview of the attitudes and behaviours towards alcohol in 2022, revealing that our cultural relationship with alcohol is shifting, however, how we drink, when we drink is an ongoing and rising concern:


For the third year in a row, over half of Irish adults’ drink alcohol on “at least a weekly basis”

1 in 4 drinkers now engage in binge drinking when they drink

55% of people who drink have engaged in binge drinking in the past 30 days an increase of 20% when compared to 2020 (46%)

Fewer adults ‘don’t drink’ compared with pre-pandemic (17% in 2022 V 28% in 2020)

The research, carried out by Behaviour & Attitudes in May/June 2022 reveals a complex relationship between Irish adults and alcohol.  As a nation we are experiencing a cultural shift, however the “at least weekly” consumption of alcohol remains high and the levels binge drinking continue to increase year on year.


Binge drinking is defined as the consumption of 60 grams of pure alcohol or 6 standard drinks in one sitting. 27% of Irish adults, when they do drink, are now typically binge drinking. Binge drinking increases the likelihood of a person experiencing both short- and long-term harms and the increasing levels of binge drinking being reported year-on-year through the independent national charity’s annual survey need to be urgently addressed. 


One objective of the research is to explore the ‘why’ of alcohol use in Ireland and unsurprisingly the motivations for why Irish people drink alcohol have shifted since the end of Covid-19 restrictions, with people now able to socialise freely:  the most cited motivations for drinking are social and enhancement (both are at 54%); coping, which was previously the main motivation is now third at 51%, down 20% compared with 2021.  However, no improvement on the mental wellbeing of the Irish population was found despite the relaxation of restrictions (2021 V 2022).  With a critically low number of the population, at just 26%, reporting high mental wellbeing in stark contrast to pre-pandemic levels of 63% in 2019. 


Although the above findings clearly indicate cause for concern, significant positive findings suggest an important shift in the cultural expectancies regarding alcohol and the stated positive intentions from the public: 


  • 50% of respondents agree ‘drinking to excess is just part of Irish culture’ – a dramatic drop from 75% reported in 2019
  • 27% or just under 1 in 3 agree ‘we all drink to excess at some stage – it’s no big deal – dropping from 50% in 2019
  • 30% would like to drink less often and 35% agree they have already made small positive changes to their drinking habits in the past 30 days.
  • The top three influences to drink less were reported as: physical health (63%), personal finances (37%) and mental health (32%)

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