Churchill drank ‘42,000 bottles’ of fizz

Britain’s famous wartime leader drank 42,000 bottles of Champagne in his lifetime, according to a new book.

Winston Churchill

Winston Churchill

Sir Winston Churchill’s fondness for fizz made headline news after it was reported by Mail Online that the British prime minister drank a staggering 42,000 bottles of Champagne.

Along with other “dotty but true” facts, it was taken from 1,411 QI Facts to Knock You Sideways by John Lloyd, John Mitchinson and James Harken, the team behind the British TV show QI, set to be published by Faber on 2 October.

The consumption between 1908 and Churchill’s death in 1965 works out at two bottles a day – some five times the government’s recommended daily limit on alcohol.

Add in the occasional hock for breakfast, the dilute Scotch and water every morning, the dry Martinis, highballs and port in the evening, and it begins to look a little unlikely.

The historian Michael Richards, suggests alcohol was partly a prop like the endless cigars “rarely smoked beyond a third, and usually discarded after being well-chewed.”

Cuvée Sir Winston Churchill

Cuvée Sir Winston Churchill

Churchill claimed the four essentials of life were: “Hot baths, cold champagne, new peas and old brandy.” For Pol Roger he was the ultimate brand ambassador, and when he died the champagne house famously put a black border around the labels of its Brut NV. Pol Roger released the first ‘Cuvée Sir Winston Churchill’ in 1984.

Earlier this week Gerard Depardieu claimed he puts away 14 bottles of wine a day, a worthy adversary to Churchill perhaps.

4 Responses to “Churchill drank ‘42,000 bottles’ of fizz”

  1. Phil Reedman says:

    Didn’t Pol Roger bottle their wine in Pint bottles for Sir Winston? Wouldn’t that reduce the bottle count (a little)?

    • Tom Bruce Gardyne says:

      If true pint-sized bottles would have reduced the consumption by a quarter. Even so – 42,000 pints would be quite something!

  2. Cita Stelzer says:

    For Churchill’s drinking, his favourite brands, and the amounts, see my recent book “Dinner with Churchill: Policy-Making at the Dinner Table”.

  3. K Rahbek says:

    As the Great Man said himself, “I have taken more out of alcohol than alcohol has taken out of me” — and he still won the war and so much more.

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