Drinking Age in Papua New Guinea
Papua New Guinea is the biggest country of the Pacific Islands and has a population of over 4 million people. The country became independent from Australia in 1975. The country is extremely diverse both culturally and linguistically with over 800 languages and cultures present in the area. Currently, the legal drinking age in Papua New Guinea is 21. There is a major problem with underage drinking in the country which has sparked a debate about whether or not the drinking age is too high as many of the surrounding countries have lower drinking ages of eighteen.
History of Alcohol in Papua New Guinea
It is indicated by historical documents that the people of Papua New Guinea did not have knowledge of alcoholic beverages until the Europeans began visiting the area during the nineteenth century. The islanders learned of rum from visiting European ships during the 1830s and 1840s. By 1901, stores that were located in the mining settlements of the country were licensed to sell alcohol to foreigners, but appear that the local Papuans did not partake.
It was not until the late part of the 1960s when it became legal for citizens of the country to begin legally drinking alcohol. Until this time alcohol consumption was prohibited to most of the natives living in the country.
Types of Alcohol Available
The most popular type of alcoholic beverage in Papua New Guinea is lager beer. Most of the lager beer that is consumed in the country is manufactured by the South Pacific Brewery at facilities that are located in Lae and Moresby. Imported beer from mostly Japan and Australia only makes up a small portion of the beer that is consumed in the country.
After beer the most popular types of alcohol are Scotch whisky and rum. Bacardi Light, Puerto Rican rum, Rhum Negrita which is an Australian brand, and Johnnie Walker Red Scotch are the most commonly consumed liquors in Papua New Guinea.
Some of the more modern and educated women of the country prefer to drink white wines from Australia on a regular basis.
In the whaling region Jungle Juice, which is a distillate made from fermented fruit is still made in somewhat small quantities. This beverage was introduced to the area by beachcombers and whalers.
The South Pacific Brewery started producing lagers in Port Moresby as early as 1952. Production was increased largely after drinking was legalized in 1962. South Pacific continues to produce and market in the country under a licensing agreement held with the state.
Alcoholic beverages are available throughout the country. However, there are some isolated rural areas where it is difficult to obtain alcohol mainly because of transportation issues. Since the legalization of alcohol in the country the number of licensed premises has grown by a large amount.
Typically, the men of the country will drink beer with the other men, although not every day. When the men drink the goal is to get drunk. Binge drinking for a weekend is quite common in the country.