Australia’s population is drinking in higher numbers and more people are favouring ready-to-drink (RTD) products as RTD consumption doubles.

In the year ending September 2023, roughly 14 million Australians of the legal drinking age of 18 consumed alcohol. This marks an increase of 1.8% when compared to the year ending March 2020, according to data from market-research agency Roy Morgan Research.

Roy Morgan’s Alcohol Consumption Report claims that the number of Australians that drink RTDs since 2020 has doubled in three years to 4.3 million.

In the 12-months to March 2020, 10.8% of Australians of legal drinking age consumed RTDs. That drinking population percentage now stands at 21% for the RTD category.

Wine remains the most consumed alcoholic beverage in Australia, accounting for 44.1% of consumption, up three percentage points from 2020 to nine million people.

Spirits consumption decreased by 1.4% to 5.6 million consumers, accounting for 27.3% of the drinking population.

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The beer category fell the hardest as only 6.7 million Australians now consume beer, down 4.9% when compared to the year ending March 2020.

“Consumption of RTDs has continued to increase, consumption of wine has plateaued at a far higher level than pre-pandemic, consumption of spirits has largely returned to its pre-pandemic levels and consumption of beer – which had the smallest pandemic increase – has continued its long-term decline,” Roy Morgan CEO, Michele Levine, said.

“In contrast, the spike in the drinking of spirits experienced during the pandemic has proved short-lived with 5,623,000 Australian adults now drinking spirits in an average four weeks, down 201,000 on a year ago and down over 1.1 million from the pandemic peak of spirits consumption in 2021.”

Roy Morgan's Alcohol Consumption Report was created from an annual survey of 60,000 Australians.

Beer consumption has been waning in some countries in the last few years. Beer sales fell in Germany in 2023. Breweries and beer warehouses in Germany sold approximately 8.4bn litres of beer in 2023, down 4.5% on 2022, a report from the country’s Federal Statistical Office stated this month.

In 2022, German beer sales increased 2.7% on the previous 12 months to 8.8bn litres. However, the figures for 2023 underline the long-term decline in beer sales. The 2023 figure is 11.5% lower than 2013’s 9.5bn litres. On a thirty-year scale, sales in 2023 were 25.5% lower than in 1993 when the nation consumed 11.2bn litres.

Beer sales in the Netherlands also fell in 2023. Total beer sales in 2023 amounted to 11.56m hectolitres, marking a 5.6% fall from 2022 and even less than the pre-Covid 2019 figure of 12.13m hectolitres, according to a report from the association Nederlandse Brouwers.