University shuts its SU bar because students prefer coffee to beer

Bar One, based in Abertay University, has has closed its Student Union bar because of a dwindling demand for alcohol
Bar One, based in Abertay University, has has closed its Student Union bar because of a dwindling demand for alcohol Credit: LeoPatrizi/E+

A Scottish University has closed its Student Union bar because of a dwindling demand for alcohol from its students who increasingly prefer coffee to beer.

Abertay University, located in Dundee, Scotland, said that stocking alcohol at Bar One was no longer viable as the income generated from sales has “dropped drastically” in recent years.

Alcohol sales at the venue, which opened in 2005, have plummeted by two-thirds since 2014, as young people are choosing to spend their money on non-alcoholic alternatives such as coffee.

The figures reflect the national trend of millennials shunning alcohol, as they increasingly view drunkenness as embarrassing and are more aware of the harmful impacts of binge drinking.

An Abertay spokesperson said: “We recognise that student tastes have shifted away from a bar setting and towards a daytime café culture offering. Just last year we opened a new Library Café as part of the £5m refurbishment of the Bernard King Library, which has been a success with both students and staff.

“In contrast, sales income in Bar One has dropped by two thirds in the last five years, and from September we will no longer offer food or drink provision in this area.”

Bar One is understood to be the first Student Union bar in the UK to stop selling alcohol because of falling demand.

Young people increasingly view drunkenness as embarrassing and are more aware of the harmful impacts of binge drinking, experts say Credit: Christopher Pledger

Its spokesperson added that students who do drink will be able to go to the neighbouring Dundee University Students Assosication union, which has traditionally been a more popular venue.

But they too have had to tailor its offerings in recent years due to falling alcohol consumption fuelled by changing student demographics and shifts in campus culture.

Abertay University’s decision comes after official figures revealed that the number of teenagers and young people shunning alcohol entirely has almost doubled in a decade.

The study by University College London found that the proportion of 16 to 24-year-olds who do not drink alcohol has increased from 18 per cent  in 2005 to 29 per cent in 2015.

Experts have said the trend is being driven by teetotalism among young people who view drinking as a pastime reserved for older adults.

It comes as a recent survey by the National Union of Students (NUS) revealed one in five UK students are teetotal while demand for alcohol-free university events is rising.

Eva Crossan Jory, Vice President Welfare of the NUS, said:  “First and foremost, Students' Unions cater to the needs and demands of their students. It’s only right, therefore, that SUs adapt the services that they offer to the needs of their membership.

“NUS research has shown a changing demographic in how students interact with alcohol with one in five students now declaring as teetotal. Our NUS Alcohol Impact Scheme encourages responsible drinking on campus, whilst changing attitudes towards alcohol to build healthier, safer student communities.”