Poland: Little Liquor Bottles, Massive Harm
Little liquor bottles, known as ‘monkeys’ have become extremely popular in Poland. The seemingly smaller containers are however fueling heavy alcohol use and related harms.
‘Monkeys’ are 100ml or 200ml bottles of hard liquor. These small containers are colorful, easy to transport and give consumers a false sense of control over their alcohol use. In 2017 there were 40 taste varieties of ‘monkeys’. It is estimated that 3 million people buy them in Poland on a daily basis. Yearly, over 1 billion ‘monkeys’ are sold.
A recent report by Synergion has found that these small alcohol bottles are having a profound impact on alcohol consumption patterns of Polish people.
94% of consumers reportedly know exactly what type of vodka to buy and buy it without hesitation. There are three waves in which ‘monkey’ sales happen. The morning before work, after work, and then in the evening around 6:00 p.m. It is estimated about 600,000 Poles purchase these bottles twice a day.
Monkeys are said to be popular across different age groups and professions. Several ‘monkeys’-fueled consumption patterns have been identified by research:
- Mixing of beer and liquor,
- Providing a false sense of control over alcohol limits,
- High consumption among young people due to cheap prices,
- High consumption across individual differences due to high availability, compact size and low prices,
- High availability normalizing the use of ‘monkeys’,
- Creating a sense of ‘no consequences’ due to the small amount of alcohol consumed in a few sips.
In the long-term, use of ‘monkeys’ can pull people into alcohol use disorder driven by frequent and habitual alcohol use.
Public health experts are concerned about the product for its deceptive nature by appearing harmless and leading people into alcohol dependence in the long-term.