I BELIEVE forced behavioural changes such as reduced drink strength and shorter opening hours for bars, which has been suggested by Tony Brown (‘‘Small bars a smokescreen for sale points’’ Herald 12/6), are weak, temporary fixes that will have no lasting effect and will punish those who drink responsibly.
When we change the community’s attitudes towards alcohol we will change behaviour – not the other way around. I would like to see a shift in Newcastle culture so that alcohol is enjoyed in the same manner as coffee. Young people do not go out and drink four double-shot espressos back to back, with the aim of getting ‘‘alert off their faces’’. They drink coffee slowly and in moderation, often with friends but sometimes alone (and that’s OK), and the good feeling it gives them is only partially because of the caffeine.
Wouldn’t it be amazing if Novocastrians appreciated wine grape blends and beer barley origins, like they do their coffee beans? Coffee drinkers often have a favourite barista, and cocktail drinkers could have a favourite mixologist who makes their martini (a double shot, straight drink) to perfection.
Emma Levine, The Hill