The Australian Institute of Health and Welfare (AIHW) has released its latest figures regarding Australia’s apparent consumption of alcohol, which show the long-term downward trend in consumption of alcohol is continuing.

Apparent consumption of alcohol refers to the total amount of alcohol either produced in Australia or imported into Australia, that will be sold to people living in Australia. The definition assumes that all alcohol that was produced or imported was consumed in the same financial year. Per capita consumption refers to the Australian population aged 15 and over.

The AIHW figures state that in 2019–20, 208.8 million litres of pure alcohol were made available in Australia, a 0.7 per cent decrease from 210.3 million litres in 2018–19.

In terms of consumption the AIHW said alcohol consumption peaked in 1974-75 at around 13 litres of pure alcohol per capita, declining to 10 litres in 1991-92. In 2009-10 consumption was 10.7 litres, dropping to 10.3 in 2018-19 and to 10.1 litres in 2019-20.

Those consumption levels comprise 4.2 litres for wine, 3.5 litres for beer, 2.1 litres for spirits and 0.3 litres for cider.

The AIHW also stated:

  • 72.4 million litres of alcohol from beer were made available in 2019–20, a decrease of 2.8 per cent from 74.5 million litres in 2018–19.
  • Apparent consumption of wine decreased by 3.8 per cent to 87.0 million litres of pure alcohol in 2019–20. This is the first time that apparent wine consumption has decreased since 2012–13 (70.4 million litres).
  • Cider consumption has remained stable at 5.2 million litres of pure alcohol.

Executive Director of Alcohol Beverages Australia, Adele Young, said the survey shows that Australians maintained a sensible relationship with alcohol over the 2019-2020 year.

Young said: “[The survey] reflects the long-established trend data that Australia now has a mature relationship with alcohol beverages, and that the principles of responsible drinking are firmly embedded in our culture.

“The data complements other changes Australia has seen in how it consumes alcoholic beverages in the last three decades. Over that time, Australian drinkers have increasingly sought quality over quantity, as consumers enjoys the trend of premiumisation for drinks both domestic and imported.

“There has been tremendous innovation in new products and new ways to purchase, including through online buying and delivery. There has also been great interest in the growth of no and lower alcohol alternatives.

“All of which demonstrate that Australians can and do enjoy drinking beers, wines and spirits responsibly and the data backs this up.”

Andy Young

Andy joined Intermedia as Editor of The Shout in 2015, writing news on a daily basis and also writing features for National Liquor News. Now Managing Editor of both The Shout and Bars and Clubs.

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