Overall beer consumption is continuing to fall, despite the growth of craft beer

Overall beer consumption is continuing to fall, despite the growth of craft beer

Alcohol consumption rates in Australia have fallen to their lowest point in 15 years, according to latest official figures. 

Total per-capita alcohol consumption in the 12 months to the end of June 2013 fell to 9.88 litres, the Australian Bureau of Statistics reported earlier today (4 April). “This is the lowest level since the mid-1990s,” said Louise Gates, the ABS's director of health. 

The decline is mainly due to the on-going slide in beer consumption, at the same time as a flattening out of consumption of wine, the ABS said. The amount of beer being drunk in Australia fell to 4.04 litres per capita in 2012/13, the lowest level since 1945-46, the figures showed.

However, the craft beer category has been growing at nearly 30% year-on-year, but only accounts for around 2% of Australia's total beer market.

Beer as a category still leads the way, accounting for 41% of all alcohol consumed in the country. 

Wine, which accounts for 37% of all alcohol drunk, saw a drop in consumption for a third consecutive year, down to 3.7 litres per capita in 2012/13. “There has been a steady increase in people's (wine) consumption over the long-term, but recently this trend appears to have plateaued,” said Gates.

Drinking levels for spirits, accounting for 13% of volumes, were up slightly in 2013 on the prior year to 1.29 litres per capita. The ready-to-drink (RTD) category saw a fall in per capita consumption to 0.65, with levels dropping consistently since 2008. 

Cider is the only category to see an on-going rise in consumption over the past five years, with per capita consumption up to 0.65 litres in 2012/13. 

To read an exclusive just-drinks comment piece on the global renaissance of cider, click here.