Australians are suddenly drinking more beer

A beer yoga class in Melbourne. Michael Dodge/Getty Images

The amount of alcohol consumed per person in Australia has increased for the first time in nine years, according to analysis of official data by industry research house IBISWorld.

And the reasons is that we’re drinking more beer, much of it craft beer.

The amount of pure alcohol consumed by each Australian over 15 years of age has increased to 9.70 litres in 2015-16 from 9.52 in 2014-15, as this chart shows.

Source: IBISWorld

The trend, until now, has been down since 2006-07.

James Thomson, an IBISWorld analyst, says beer consumption is expected to rise to 3.86 litres a head in 2017-18 from 3.76 litres in 2014-15.

The Australian craft beer production industry is expected to grow at 9.7% a year over the five years through 2017-18, outperforming the beer manufacturing industry, which is expected to grow at 2.1%.

“Craft beer’s popularity has been driven by consumers seeking variety and quality,” says Thomson.

“An increasing number of small-scale craft breweries are opening to take advantage of changing consumer tastes, contributing to the expanding range of beers available in liquor retailers. Consumption of low-strength beer remained unchanged in 2015-16, while mid- and full-strength beer consumption grew.”

Here’s what Australians are drinking:

Cider’s popularity has increased, with consumption expected to grow at 13.3% a year over the five years through 2017-18.

Per capita wine consumption is expected to decline marginally over the five years through 2017-18.

According to IBISWorld, the falling popularity of fortified wines, particularly among younger consumers, is to blame.

Wine consumption as a share of total per capita alcohol consumption has increased over the past decade, and is expected to represent 37.7% of consumption in 2017-18.

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