Data released by Roy Morgan’s Alcohol Consumption Report shows which alcoholic drinks are growing in popularity among Australians aged 18+.

While wine remains the most popular alcoholic drink in Australia, RTDs have been the standout performer in the three years since the pre-pandemic period.

Almost half of Australians aged 18+ (43.9 per cent) are likely to consume wine within a four-week period, a 2.9 per cent increase on the amount of wine consumed by the nation pre-pandemic.

Through strict lockdowns and extended periods at home, RTDs (ready-to-drink) experienced significant growth and have reached record highs. Data shows that 20.8 per cent of over-18s now drink RTDs, a consumption rate that has almost doubled since March 2020. The report found that 56.5 per cent of 18-24 year olds drank RTDs in the last 12 months, 50.5 per cent of 25-34 year olds followed the same trend.

Michele Levin, Roy Morgan CEO, commented: “RTDs have kept increasing despite the ending of lockdowns and all pandemic-related restrictions.”

“A deeper look into the RTDs market shows the increasing popularity of many drinks in this category including vodka, tequila, white rum, dark rum, whisky, cognac and also newer entrants such as alcoholic/hard seltzers which began to hit the Australian market in significant numbers in 2019, just before the pandemic struck.”

While wines and RTDs have seen increased consumption rates, beer has experienced the largest decline of any form of alcohol. The number of Australians choosing to drink beer in a four-week period continues to fall with a 5.4 per cent drop since 2020.

“The decline in beer drinking since 2005 has been more sustained than any other type of alcohol and the early signs are that the short-term pandemic impact on beer drinking has not been enough to halt the long-term trend”, said Levin.

“The pandemic years of 2020-22 were tumultuous ones for all of us as the COVID-19 pandemic led to rolling lockdowns around the country and severe restrictions for over two-and-a-half years.”

“One of the most prominent [changes of behaviour] was the increasing consumption of alcohol during the first 18 months of the pandemic in 2020-21. The short-term pandemic related trend peaked in the 12 months to June 2021 with overall consumption of alcohol reaching a high of 69.7 per cent of Australian adults.”

While consumption of alcohol may have declined by 2.1 per cent since this peak, alcohol consumption still sits at a higher rate than the pre-pandemic period.

“Roy Morgan will be keeping a close eye on the post-pandemic trends we are already seeing in the alcohol market during 2022-23. The emerging trends suggest consumption of wine and spirits looks set to return to pre-pandemic levels while RTDs such as vodka, gin, bourbon and rum have been on a sharp rise in recent years and that trend could well continue at the expense of beer consumption which has continued its long-term decline.”

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