No problem in getting more beer despite being drunk

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Dutch cafes and restaurants tend to allow drunken customers to order another alcoholic drink.

THE NETHERLANDS -- With the holiday drinking season just around the corner, de Volkskrant reports on a novel way of testing Dutch pubs' compliance with the licensing laws.

Under the headline "Drunk as a skunk but still one more beer", the paper reveals that a study by Twente University and the Dutch Alcohol Prevention Foundation used actors to test the publicans' moral fortitude.

The actors were instructed to order a drink while showing a range of classic drunken behaviour: slurred speech, confusion, repeating questions, dropping money on the floor and falling off the barstool.

In one variation of the routine they even feigned falling asleep while ordering.

The findings were shocking - the fall-down drunks were only turned away at six of 58 pubs included in the study. One barman made a point of telling the customer that he would not serve him because he was drunk. Another decided to ease his conscience without lowering his turnover by slipping the customer a non-alcoholic beer instead.

It is a criminal offence to serve alcohol to a drunken customer in the Netherlands. Pub owners who do could lose their licence and face a nine-month jail term or a EUR 7,400 fine.

The Alcohol Prevention Foundation hopes the findings might lead to a change of strategy.

"At present the police focus on the trouble caused after the alcohol has been consumed. But as we see it, that's like locking the stable door after the horse has bolted."

[Radio Netherlands / Expatica]

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