People choose to consume – or not consume – alcohol within the context of their community. Alcohol cultures, sometimes called the alcohol environment, vary greatly among communities. Like many aspects of community life, the alcohol culture draws scrutiny when it contributes to community tragedies and problems, such as alcohol related vandalism, underage drinking or drunk driving deaths.
Every community has an alcohol environment. Every resident and organization within the community is influenced by the alcohol environment and at the same time influences it. The local alcohol culture influences public policy and the policies of community organizations and institutions such as community groups, social clubs or recreational leagues. Just like our neighbors and friends influence our thoughts and actions – the alcohol environment can subtly influence your alcohol use and perception of appropriate alcohol consumption.
Because each community creates its own alcohol environment, not every community experiences the same problems or even needs to make specific changes. Changing a community alcohol environment is difficult; understanding the specific alcohol related problems in your community is the most practical place to begin.
Simple no-cost tools to assess your community alcohol environment are available at: