Every country has its own unique drinking culture and habits. Today, we will talk about Spain! Spain is the world’s largest wine producer, but they are huge beer drinkers. In fact, Spain is the third-largest beer producer in the European Union after Germany and Great Britain. Ninety-four percent of the beer sold in Spain comes from four macro brewers: Heineken España (Cruzcampo), San Miquel-Mahou, Estrella Galicia and Damm (Estrella).
There are 280,000 bars throughout Spain: one for every 165 people, and this ratio is the highest in the European Union. Moreover, the Spanish climate allows year-round outdoor drinking. Considering all this, it is not difficult to understand how significant the drinking culture is in Spanish culture and tradition. So that is why Spain is known as a wet culture. In wet cultures, alcohol is integrated into daily life activities and is widely available and accessible.
Compared to other countries, beer in Spain is affordable, and because of that, it makes sense to drink it daily and pair it with a typical lunch or dinner. This also makes drinking culture in Spain sustainable. Beers usually come in a small 33 cl glass known as a caña (a little less than a half-pint glass). There is also the choice to order a botella (standard beer bottle), a copa (a cup of beer but in a fancy glass), a jarra (large jar), or a pinta (regular pint). Since beer is consumed with a meal, its taste is supposed to complement the food rather than overshadow it. Therefore they prefer beer types like light lagers as a companion to their foods.
You’re pretty safe ordering a beer at any time of the day, starting around noon. As a food tradition, beer is always served with a plate full of olives or a free tapa. Drinking beer is generally not all about drinking for Spanish people; they consume beer to accompany their quality time. You can see them drink beer with friends and family over some long conversations. Having a beer on your lunch break with your boss is no big deal. Therefore, you can say that drinking beer is not taboo in Spain, no matter when and where.
It’s pretty much a worldwide custom to make a toast while you have a few drinks with friends or celebrate a special occasion. In America, it is “cheers,” as it is commonly known. But in Spanish, you say ¡salud! But, it is kind of plain. There is a more unique way to say cheers in Spain: ¡Arriba, abajo, al centro, pa’ dentro!
While we can translate word by word, there is no exact expression in English. We will explain step by step but be sure to touch your glasses at each step!
“Arriba” means “up.” You are supposed to touch the necks of your beer bottles. “Abajo” means “down.” You are supposed to touch the bottom of your beer bottles. “Al centro” means “center.” You are supposed to touch the center of your beer bottles, and you generally rub them up and down too. “Pa’ dentro or Adentro” means “inside.” Drink right away; bottoms up!
If you want to discover Spain for a delicious cerveza, don’t forget to check our Pubinno Selections Points.