Beer hits a 66-year low as Aussie taste for wine continues to grow

By RJ Whitehead

- Last updated on GMT

Beer hits a 66-year low as Aussie taste for wine continues to grow

Related tags Alcoholic beverage

Australians might have been developing a taste for wine over beer, but on the whole the country is drinking less alcohol, according to figures released by the Australian Bureau of Statistics.

Still, the country hasn’t quite lost its love of beer. Based on figures relating to 2011-12, while beer is now at its lowest point in consumption for the last 66 years, there is still 4.1 litres of pure alcohol available from beer for every person in Australia aged 15 years and over.

Wine gains

In spite of Australians consuming less beer per person—a downwards trend that started in the 1970s—there has been an increase in wine consumption.

"In terms of pure alcohol available for consumption, beer was down 2.3% in 2011-12, compared with the previous year, while wine rose 1.9%​,” said the ABS’s Louise Gates. 

Ready-to-drink beverages have also seen a drop and were down by 2.5%, while spirits have seen the largest fall, down by a full 4%.

"But the overall picture is that consumption of alcohol in Australia has fallen for a second year in a row​,” added Gates. 

The 2011-12 period saw us drink 1.4m litres less than we did in 2010 -11, and 2.7m litres less than in 2009-10​."

Long-term trends

Over the past 50 years, levels of apparent consumption of different alcoholic beverages have changed substantially in Australia, the report found. 

In particular, the proportion of beer available for consumption has decreased considerably, from 75% in 1961-62 to 41% in 2011-12. 

Over the same period the proportion of wine has increased from 12% to 38%, and spirits (including RTDs) from 13% to 19%. 

Cider made up 1.7% of the total quantity of pure alcohol available for consumption in Australia in 2011-12.

On a per-capita basis, 10.1 litres of pure alcohol were available in 2011-12, which equates to 2.3% less than the amount in the previous year. 

As a standard drink consists of 12.5 mls of pure alcohol, this is equivalent to an average of 2.2 standard drinks per day per person aged 15 years and over, although the figures do not account for wastage and other factors such as for alcohol used in cooking. 

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