Declining beer consumption hides shift to quality

Australian Bureau of Statistics figures released on 3 June suggest little change in Australia’s per capita consumption of alcohol between 2005 (10.31 litres) and 2010 (10.37 litres).

But the figures, expressed in litres of pure alcohol available for consumption per person over 15 years, indicate a slight decline in beer from 4.62 litres to 4.56 litres, an increase in wine from 3.53 litres to 3.81 litres, an increase in spirits from 1.21 litres to 1.30 litres and a decrease in ready-to-drinks from 0.94 litres to 0.70 litres.

The slight decline in volume of beer consumed, however, reveals nothing of the dramatic qualitative change over the last decade or so.

We get a glimpse of this in the ‘The Local Taphouse’s Hottest 100 Craft Beers of 2010″, published on Australia Day, 2011. Voters nominated nearly 500 different Australian craft beers – a figure that would have been unthinkable a decade ago.

Copyright © Chris Shanahan

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