Australia's Record-Low Alcohol Consumption Challenges The Booze Culture Myth


The headlines about the boozing culture would make most believe Australians have sunk into a alcohol-soaked heap, moving only to liberate the contents of another bottle.

However, the official statistics tell a different story.

We’ve been drinking less each year for the past 15 years, mainly due to a fall in beer drinking and a tailing off in the growth of wine sipping.

Beer drinking has halved since a peak in the mid 1970s and now we’re actually drinking less beer per head than at any time since the end of World War II.

The per head alcohol consumption has now fallen through the 10-litre mark, and was 9.9 litres in 2012-13, equivalent to 2.2 standard drinks per day per person for every Australian aged 15 years and over.

“This is the lowest level since the mid-1990s,” says Louise Gates, Director of Health from the Australian Bureau of Statistics.

For wine, there has been a steady increase over the long term but recently this trend appears to have plateaued with consumption decreasing slightly over the past three years.

Ready-to-drink beverages have also seen a drop over the past five yearswhile consumption of spirits has remained relatively steady.

However, beer still comprised the greatest proportion of all pure alcohol consumed in Australia at 41%, followed by wine (37%), spirits (13%) and ready-to-drink beverages (7%).

Cider is estimated to account for a small but growing proportion at 2%.

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