File photo: Reuters

London - The next time you pour yourself a glass of something for the evening, you might want to check how strong it really is.

Fewer than a third of us - only 29 percent - pay attention to how much alcohol our drinks contain, according to a study. And, surprisingly, it is younger drinkers who are more likely to check the alcohol by volume label.

Some 38 percent of 18-24 year olds drinking at home checked the strength of their drink, compared with 27 percent of 25-64s.

But the team from market researchers Mintel said this may be because young people are likely to drink more, or to want stronger drinks so they get drunk quicker.

More than half of 18-24 year olds “pre-load” the booze - drinking at home before going out - compared with only seven percent of over-45s. Overall, the number of people drinking at home fell from 75 percent to 71 percent between 2009 and 2011.

The frequency of drinking at home also dropped, with those drinking up to three times a week falling from 46 percent in 2006 to 41 percent in 2011. Shrinking household budgets, rising prices and increased health consciousness saw total volume sales of the at-home drinking market fall 1.7 percent between 2010 and 2011 to 3.7 billion litres.

Despite the fall, 69 percent of at-home drinkers felt they were saving money - helped by the fact that a third of us only buy alcohol when it is on special offer. These savings seemed to be having an effect on younger drinkers’ social habits, with 38 percent of 18-24 year olds agreeing that they increasingly drink with their friends at home instead of going out.

The top five at-home drinks were white wine, lager, red wine, rose wine and cider.

Those in the South West were most likely to drink at home, while Yorkshire and the Humberside had the heaviest drinkers.

Alex Beckett, of Mintel, said: “As a nation well-acquainted with booze, most adults have a vague idea of their drink’s strength.

“But hampered with tighter household budgets, people have cut back on drinking in the home, though it remains the more affordable alternative to drinking in a pub or bar.” - Daily Mail