Despite the onslaught of wine over the past few decades and alcopops this century, beer remains Australia’s favourite source of alcohol – in both absolute volume and in per capita consumption.
In the year to June 2008 we consumed 170.5 million litres of pure alcohol – 78 million litres of it in beer; 53.6 million litres in wine; 20.2 million litres in spirits and 18.7 million litres in alcopops.
That works out at 9.95 litres of pure alcohol per person – 4.55 litres in beer, 3.13 litres in wine, 1.18 litres in spirits and 1.09 litres in alcopops. While per capita consumption of alcohol increased from 9.84 litres to 9.95 litres in the two years to 2008, per capita consumption of alcohol in beer declined marginally from 4.57 to 4.55 litres.
In that two year period we drank more full strength beer (greater than 3.5 per cent alcohol)– up from 60 to 63.6 million litres of alcohol; less low strength (down from 5.9 to 4.9 million litres); and more mid strength (up from 8.8 to 9.5 million litres).
What the raw statistical figures hide, of course, is the explosion in popularity of full-strength, low-carb beers and the continuing growth in premium products – now made up of locally brewed, imports and, increasingly, locally-brewed international brands.
Copyright © Chris Shanahan 2010