Danish 15-year-olds drink most alcohol in Europe

Danish 15-year-olds drink more frequently and are more likely to have been drunk than those from any other country in Europe, according to a new study by the World Health Organisation.

According to the report, 82 percent of Danish 15-year-olds have tried alcohol, compared to 59 percent on average over Europe as a whole. 
At the same time, 65 percent of Danish 15-year-olds said they had drunk alcohol in the preceding month, and 42 percent said they had been drunk at least once. That is roughly twice as many as on average in Europe. 
The study, which is carried out every fifth year, surveys 227,000 European school pupils aged, 11, 13, and 15. 
“The worrying story is that we had had some improvement in the alcohol data, but over the last four years, we have seen some tendencies in the wrong direction and that is probably why we are staying in the very bad end,” said Mette Rasmussen, who led the Danish part of the project at Denmark's National Institute of Public Health. 
“We have a social alcohol drinking culture in Denmark. Alcohol is a key thing in being together, when we meet with friends and go to parties, and that actually goes for both adults and adolescents,” she said. “At the same time we drink a lot, we binge drink.” 
She said that Denmark was also unusual in Europe for allowing those as young as 16 to buy alcohol, and in having relatively low prices for alcohol, compared to its Nordic neighbours at least. 
The Danish Institute of Public Health drew attention to the study, in a press release posted to its website. 

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Danish distillery switches from whisky to medical alcohol to fight coronavirus

A distillery in Denmark is switching from producing whisky, gin and rum to churning out near pure alcohol for making emergency supplies of alcohol gel hand sanitiser.

Danish distillery switches from whisky to medical alcohol to fight coronavirus
Some of the beautiful brass equipment now being used to make medical alcohol. Photo: Nyborg Distillery
Danish authorities are pushing companies across the country to find ways of making hand sanitiser and protective equipment for doctors and nurses, as a global shortage threatens to cripple hospitals as they prepare to treat a wave of coronavirus cases. 
Tørk Eskild Furhauge, chief executive of Naturfrisk Group, told Danish state broadcaster DR that he had quickly realised the role his company's Nyborg Distillery, on the Danish island of Funen, could play. 
“We have a very special distillery. It is perhaps the only one in Denmark that can produce 90 percent alcohol in sufficient quantities that, I believe, we have a duty to offer it up if the authorities are looking for alcohol.”  
Breweries from across Denmark have offered beer and cider for the project, with Carlsberg donating 17,200 litres of Somersby cider. 
Some 8,000 litres of beer from the local Ørbæk brewery has already been turned into 8,000 litres of 90 percent alcohol at the distillery, with the alcohol then sent to a factory in Billund operated by Gundal, where it was turned into hand sanitiser. 
The 8,000 litres is roughly enough, Furhauge said, to supply a single major hospital for 24 hours. 
He said he hoped the distillery will continue producing alcohol at a rate of about 2,000 litres a day until the coronavirus crisis is over. 
Naturfrisk is not the only international drinks manufacturer repurposing distilleries. The French drinks giant Pernod Ricard last week converted several US distilleries to make hand sanitiser, winning them the approval of US President Donald Trump