Blog 6 oclock swill

Neck it. Scull it. Get it down ya.

7th Nov 2017 by Matt Claridge

How many times have you been out with the boys – or girls – and heard this? Common phrases that come out – especially when you’re with a large group – and you’re not keeping pace with the rest of the pack. 

It’s no surprise that the common perception of the Kiwi drinking culture is of excess and binge drinkers. What likely started with the ‘six o’clock swill’ where bar patrons would drink as fast as possible in the hour between finishing work at 5pm and 6 o’clock closing went on to create generations of men who learnt to drink too much, too fast. 

And while most of us get to “know better” when it comes to drinking to excess, many 18-24 year-olds are still drinking in a dangerous way. This year’s out-of-control drunken behaviour at a Victoria University Hall of Residence where students were fuelling up by funnelling straight vodka before throwing chairs at walls, and vomiting over the floor in the common room, shows that drinking to excess is still a major problem for in this demographic. Figures from the Health Promotion Agency say nearly 40% of 18-24 year olds are risky drinkers. What does that mean? Well, it means they drink to ‘get drunk’ – a stat that’s backed up by our own social media polls and surveys. 

Social changes don’t happen overnight. For my generation, getting through a yardie on your 21st was a rite of passage – and I watched it all unravel in front of me on numerous occasions, with plenty of supporters alongside. But lets not forget we used to smoke in bars and restaurants too. We never used to wear seatbelts, or get vaccinated. 

Our vision with Cheers! is for a safer and responsible drinking culture in New Zealand. That comes from better education and understanding around what drinking does to your mind and body so that we can begin to impact the way Kiwis drink and the reasons behind our drinking. 

Here’s to that.