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SABMiller issue report on 'Beer Etiquette'

24 January 2008

Woman holding Peroni bottle 
British women are the most independent in Europe when it comes to buying drinks on dates, according to a new report into European beer drinking culture by SABMiller, one of the world’s largest brewers.

The research found that 19% of British women interviewed indicated they would expect to pay for all the drinks when on a date with a potential new partner, and exactly half said they would split the bar bill down the middle.  This contrasts to figures of just 8% in France and 10% in Germany.   By comparison, 82% of British men think they should pay for the drinks themselves when out on a date, meaning they could save themselves some money.
SABMiller’s ‘Beer Etiquette’ report which surveyed 7,500 men and women across 15 countries revealed many more surprising insights.   These include:

Britain and Sweden are Europe’s leading round-buying nations, with 82% of Britons preferring to buy a round for their friends rather than split the cost. 

  • Britons compare favourably with Germany which came last, with only 37% of German respondents happy to treat their friends to a round.   The vast majority of Germans (90%) prefer to split the bill and meticulously work out exactly who had what.
  • The South West is home to Britain’s biggest round-buying region with 93% preferring to buy drinks in this way.
  • Midlanders are the least likely to get the drinks in for their friends with a quarter (24%) splitting the cost of the round instead.

Britons are unconditional round buyers as over three quarters (77%) would buy someone a drink regardless of whether they thought they would get one in return.

  • This generous spirit is highest in London where 85% of beer drinkers would buy someone a drink without a guarantee of getting one back. 
  • However, only 70% of Southerners would buy a drink without knowing if the gesture would be returned.
  •  Across Europe, Romanians are the least concerned with having the favour returned when putting their hand in their pocket at the bar. 91% are happy to buy a drink without a guarantee of getting one back – compared to just 16% of German and Spanish beer drinkers.

Britons are happy to buy for up to six people per round (5.9).  Additionally:

  • 15% of beer drinkers would be generous enough to buy for ten people or more per round.
  • The Scots and Welsh buy Britain’s largest rounds – they are happy to buy for up to 6.8 and 6.9 people per round respectively.
  • Northerners set the lowest limit of 5.4 people per round.
  • Belgium is home to Europe’s biggest rounds with Belgians prepared to buy for up to 7.1 people per round. 

Britons are happy to drink beer across a wide range of social occasions. 

  • The majority would drink beer on a first date (76%), at a wedding (81%), at a family meal at home (77%) and with dinner at a restaurant (81%).  The only occasion deemed unacceptable to drink beer by the majority was business meetings (28%).
  • Britons’ acceptance of drinking beer on first dates was the second highest in Europe (behind Sweden) and also over 50% more than the European average of 48%. 
  • In Britain, Northerners are most likely to reach for a beer on a first date (82%).

Alan Clark, Managing Director of SABMiller Europe said: 

“The findings of our ‘Beer etiquette’ report illustrate that each European nationality enjoys its own unique beer culture and intriguing social idiosyncrasies.  Beer was popularised in Europe thousands of years ago, and it is immensely encouraging to see that it remains at the heart of so many cultures, providing the all important ingredient to how we relax and celebrate, no matter what country you are in.”

SABMiller’s exclusive second report – “The Beer Drinkers Guide” focussing on beer consumption – will be published in March.


For more details, please contact:

Freddy Davies   
The Red Consultancy   
020 7025 6536

Jo Salen  
The Red Consultancy  
020 7025 6517

Notes to editors
The research for SABMiller’s ‘Beer etiquette’ report was conducted by independent global research consultancy Added Value.

Added Value conducted interviews with 7,500 respondents in 15 countries – with a sample size of 500 in each market to ensure reliability of comparisons across markets.  All respondents were regular beer drinkers (drinking at least once every two weeks) and the samples were nationally representative of beer drinkers (across age and sex quotas).

SABMiller is one of the world’s largest brewers, selling beer in over 60 countries across six continents. The group’s brands include premium international beers including Miller Genuine Draft, Peroni Nastro Azzurro and Pilsner Urquell as well as favourite regional brews such as Tyskie Gronie and Dreher Classic.

SABMiller plc is listed on the London and Johannesburg stock exchanges.

For more information on SABMiller, please visit

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