Across five days of in-depth coverage, The Herald will delve into Scotland's relationship with alcohol to make sense of where we are, how we got here, and where we could be headed.

Bringing together exclusive insight and analysis and from across our reporting teams, we're shining a spotlight on the good and the bad across a broad range of topics including health, business, sport, education, culture, politics, and food and drink.

Follow along and find every article in the series here.

Day One

Scotland and Alcohol: A preview of the series

Preview what's coming up in the series throughout a packed and in-depth five days.

Scotland's changing relationship with alcohol: In six charts

Scotland's relationship with alcohol is always changing. Health correspondent Helen McArdle dives into the data to see just how that relationship has shifted.

How did we get here? A short history of Scotland's changing drinking culture

The story of Scotland's changing relationship with alcohol over the past 70 years has taken us from pale ales to alcopops, from pubs to the home, and from binge drinking 'ladettes' to a sober curious youth. The history of Scotland's drinking culture is laid out.

Think Scotland has always been Europe's problem drinker? These graphs will shock you

There is a myth that Scotland has always been Europe's problem drinking country, yet the data says otherwise, with a turning point marked back in the 1970s. How and when did it change?

Analysis: Why do some countries have cheap alcohol yet long life expectancies?

Does cheap alcohol mean lower life expectancy? It's the impression given through government action on cheap alcohol, but is it the case elsewhere?

'I’m not ashamed to say the central purpose of our whisky business is joy'

Scotland has a close, integral association with the whisky business. Sarah Campbell speaks to Port of Leith Distillery founder Ian Stirling and the 'joy' of being in the business of Scotland's traditional liquor.

I'm a health correspondent – but if I'm honest, I've had a lot of fun binge drinking

Health correspondent Helen McArdle jumps into her personal relationship with alcohol, and why the occasional binge might not be such a bad thing.

Scotland's new alcohol minister on the country's relationship with booze

Catriona Stewart talks to the newest Minister for Drug and Alcohol Policy, Christina McKelvie, in her first interview in the role. 

Day Two

Recovery crisis: Rehab beds up by just 32 in three years as alcohol treatment falls

Residential rehab beds have increased by only 32 in the three years since a massive expansion was announced. Helen McArdle digs into the data and trends of treatment, rehab, and alcohol deaths in this special report.

'I was completely clueless about recovery – I thought you just stopped drinking'

In 2013, Rod Anderson hit rock bottom with his drinking – yet again. Over ten years later, he speaks in-depth about his journey from alcohol dependency to recovery.

'If my wife wasn't here, I'd punch you': Has pressure to sell booze ruined theatre?

Unions have warned that a rise in alcohol-fuelled disorder is leading to staff leaving their jobs and taking the joy out of live entertainment. Caroline Wilson looks into alcohol policies in theatre venues and what staff deal with in the face of a bigger push in alcohol sales.

'I hope you know you were always loved': MSP Monica Lennon on the dad she lost

Labour MSP Monica Lennon speaks to Alison Rowat about her experiences with her father's death from alcoholism and the fight to reduce deaths and improve treatment in Holyrood.

Addiction, recovery and 12 steps to breaking the cycle in Scotland

A recovering drinker gives an anonymous account of their situation and how 12-step was essential in their recovery.

Tonic wine and endangered bats: Kevin McKenna on the hunt for the real Buckfast

Writer at large Kevin McKenna takes a trip down to Devon to visit Buckfast Abbey, producer of the infamous 'wreck the hoose juice'. But what's really the story behind the tonic wine and the unassuming elderly monks that make it?

The Herald: Kevin McKenna at Buckfast Abbey

Day Three

Can whisky offer an economic lifeline for Scotland’s island and rural communities?

Business editor Ian McConnell looks at the economic benefits of Scotland's whisky and speaks to distillers and the Scotch Whisky Association about economic growth in island and rural communities.

Scottish tourism toasts whisky's growing contribution to visitor numbers

Kristy Dorsey looks at the impact of whisky on the country’s tourism sector and how footfall has increased at whisky venues, making it a vital part of Scotland's tourist economy.

'Scotch whisky is an incredible success story and we should all celebrate it'

One of the world's most prominent whisky experts makes the case that there is more to be done to celebrate the worldwide success of Scotland's whisky industry.

Minimum Unit Pricing risks inflicting pain for only theoretical gains

David Hume, GMB Scotland organiser in the drinks industry, makes the case that Minimum Unit Pricing risks economic pain as its health benefits wait to be proven.

Alcohol and Scottish football: Experts lay out case for sponsorship and ad ban

Football and alcohol have been inextricably linked but is there a case to ban alcohol sponsorship and advertising in the sport? Graeme McGarry talks to industry experts.

Scottish Government should ban 'health harming' alcohol advertising in football

The director of Scottish Health Action on Alcohol Problems has called upon the Scottish Government to ban alcohol sponsorship and advertising in sport, arguing there is a duty to protect vulnerable groups. Graeme McGarry gets her view.

Scottish drinks trade at loggerheads with campaigners on advertising

The Scottish drinks industry is at an impasse with alcohol charity and health campaigners on what approach ministers should take to regulate the advertising of alcohol. Scott Wright talks to both sides and investigates.

The lost joy of daytime drinking and the end of a Scottish drinking culture

Pub day drinking was once a part of drinking culture but that is changing. The pub is often a social anchor of local communities yet pubs are closing down at a rate of one a week. Kevin McKenna looks into shifting attitudes on the local pub.

Day Four

Young, sober and Scottish. The Gen-Zs and Millennials seeking alcohol-free kicks

Fewer and fewer young people are bothering with alcohol and have turned to other thrills. Vicky Allan gets into the mindset of the sober generation.

Teen drinking in Germany and what Scotland can learn from the continent

Germany's drinking laws give license for 16-year-olds to buy alcohol, with an ongoing campaign to bring Germany in line with other countries where the age is 18. What can Scotland learn from these differences?

'I didn't have a problem with alcohol – but I've never felt better since quitting'

More people are giving up alcohol for reasons relating to health, crediting the rise of things like alcohol-free beer. Helen McArdle investigates in this case study.

Why middle-aged Scots are struggling to give up their beloved booze

Scottish data shows middle-aged Scots are frequently persisting in hazardous levels of drinking. Vicky Allan looks into the why.

'A widespread and largely hidden harm' – the effects of adult alcohol use on children

Education writer James McEnaney speaks to Mary Glasgow, Chief Executive of the charity Children 1st, about the impact of adult alcohol use on children.

The Herald: Adam Dempsey at Max Kolbe outdoor event, from The Ripple Effect by Anna Deacon and Vicky Allan

Day Five

'Middle-class virtue signalling' is contributing to Scotland's alcohol problem

Kevin McKenna talks to the chief executive of FAVOR, the UK’s foremost addiction recovery charity, and discusses the Scottish Government’s attitudes to the swelling numbers of alcohol and drugs deaths

'Would I offer drugs'? The 'dry' hotelier who faced backlash on Scottish island 

People are drinking less, yet commotion ensues when the option is left off the table. Caroline Wilson talks to an island hotelier that had to navigate backlash for their dry establishment. 

Beyond minimum unit pricing: Did it really work – and what else should we be doing?

Did minimum unit pricing achieve its desired effect? What else can we do to reduce problem drinking? Helen McArdle investigates in this special report.

Isolated – and prying eyes: The challenges of addiction recovery in rural Scotland

Catriona Stewart speaks to those helped by addiction charity WithYou which has been providing specialist services across Argyll and Bute to tackle the specific challenges of dealing with addiction in rural areas.

Humza Yousaf reveals 'targeted engagement' alcohol advertising ban plan

Talks are to begin on the new “back to the drawing board” set of proposals on alcohol advertising restrictions in Scotland. Brian Donnelly talks to business leaders on why they're wary of the government's approach.

How Russia ditched vodka and hit the beers to address its alcohol problem

David Leask looks into the drinking culture in Russia and how many men in the country don't make it to the age of 55. Is a switch to beer over spirits the answer?

Is 'out-of-date' alcohol legislation causing binge drinking and drug use in football?

Matthew Lindsay reports that the ban on consuming alcohol inside Scottish football grounds needs to be reviewed amid claims that it could actually be contributing to binge drinking and drug taking.

'It's time for Scotland to talk about alcohol the way we do mental health'

Karen Tyrell, CEO of the charity Drinkaware, lays out the case for shifting our perception of alcohol use as a mental health issue.

Scotch whisky industry prepares for a Labour government

It's almost an inevitability to most that Keir Starmer's Labour Party will be occupying No. 10 in the next general election. Andrew Learmonth looks at how the whisky industry is planning ahead.

Alcohol in Scotland is a complicated issue, but at least there are no frat boys

Our education writer Garrett Stell hails from the United States, where he found that the drinking culture is much different from Scotland's. He looks at frat party culture and the differences between the two countries.

A 'golden age' of Scottish journalism? How alcohol fuelled and damaged newsrooms

Journalists and alcohol are a likely pair, or at least that's the perception crafted over the years. Kevin McKenna reflects on the drinking culture of the 'golden age' newsrooms and the damage done.