Consumed by 45% of Australians, wine remains the country’s most popular beverage, followed by the 39% who drink beer. Spirits came third in the survey, by Roy Morgan Research, drunk by 26% of Australians, or nearly 5m people.
Its latest market research findings also suggest that overall alcohol consumption has been relatively stable over the past few years: currently, 70% of the adult population enjoy at least one tipple a month—just as they did in 2012.
While spirits consumption is nowhere near as male-dominated as beer, men are more likely than women to partake in the hard stuff by a ratio of three-to-two.
But when comparing individual types of spirits, this male skew appears due to the overwhelming popularity of whisky, bourbon and rum among Aussie men. Typical white spirits, on the other hand, are consumed by more women than men.
Gender is just one factor influencing a person’s decision to consume spirits. Roy Morgan’s Liquor Currency report for September 2016 showed that age also played a role, with spirits consumption most widespread among young drinkers under 34.
Consumption falls off among older age groups, bottoming out at 21% among the 50-plus, though this varies depending on the spirit.
“Alcohol drinkers are a diverse bunch, with a person’s liquor consumption often linked to their age, gender, socio-economic scale, ethnic background, attitudes and even state of residence. Even within a category, such as spirits, there can be considerable variation,” said Norman Morris of Roy Morgan Research.
“Although wine and beer are consumed in much larger volumes by many more Australians, spirits are still an important category in the liquor market. And at special times of year, such as the Christmas-New Year period, liquor retailers can expect a surge in sales of these beverages, with customers buying them as gifts or for their festive celebrations.”
The survey also found that bourbon drinkers were four times more likely to prefer pre-mixed spirits to their conventional format than those who drink gin. Moreover, they are also most likely to believe that pre-mixed spirits are good value for money.
“This is good news for pre-mix manufacturers, many of which use bourbon and American whiskey in their products,” Morris added.