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4307.0.55.002 - Apparent Consumption of Alcohol: Extended Time Series, 1944-45 to 2008-09 Quality Declaration 
Latest ISSUE Released at 11:30 AM (CANBERRA TIME) 18/01/2011  First Issue
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This publication uses data sourced from a variety of institutional environments. Much of the data is administrative by-product data collected by other organisations for purposes other than estimating apparent consumption of alcohol. Information collected on domestic sales of Australian produced wine, excise tariff data from the Australian Taxation Office (ATO) and import clearances from the Australian Customs and Border Protection Service (ACBPS) are used to estimate apparent consumption of alcohol.

For information on the institutional environment of the Australian Bureau of Statistics (ABS), including the legislative obligations of the ABS, financing and governance arrangements, and mechanisms for scrutiny of ABS operations, please see ABS Institutional Environment.


Data on apparent consumption of alcohol provide an indication of overall trends in alcohol consumption for the population of Australia. Information is available at the national level only. Data are not available by particular demographic characteristics (for example, state/territory, region, age, sex or country of birth).

Estimates are available for:

  • beer, wine, spirits and Ready to Drink (pre-mixed) beverages, in litres of pure alcohol; and
  • beer and wine, in volume.

Estimates of apparent per capita consumption (that is, for persons aged 15 years and over) are also available for the above alcoholic beverages.


Estimates of apparent consumption of alcohol are published annually and are released approximately 10 months after the end of the reference period. Revised estimates, where relevant, are available a year later.


The ABS aims to produce high quality statistics on apparent consumption of alcohol from information provided by a range of sources (wine-making enterprises, the Australian Taxation Office and the Australian Customs and Border Protection Service).

Information on domestic sales of Australian produced wine is obtained from wine-making enterprises with sales of 250,000 litres or more in either of the previous two financial years. These account for a large proportion of, but not all, total wine sales.

Administrative by-product data such as that provided by the Australian Taxation Office and the Australian Customs and Border Protection Service are subject to non-sampling error which can arise from inaccuracies in collecting, recording and processing of data. In some years, changes to data collected or changes in methodology may result in revisions to estimates.


Annual estimates of apparent consumption of alcohol have been published at the national level for 1944–45 and 2008-09 in various ABS publications (see Explanatory Notes for a list of data sources). While changes in definitions and methods that have occurred during this period may affect particular years, overall the data provide a consistent indication of long-term trends in apparent alcohol consumption in Australia.

See the Explanatory Notes and Appendix 1 in this edition of the publication for more information.


The Apparent Consumption of Alcohol: Extended Time Series (cat. no. 4307.0.55.002) publication contains detailed Explanatory Notes designed to provide information to users on data sources, terminology and estimation methods used in producing these statistics.

Caution should be exercised when using estimates of apparent alcohol consumption. Estimates are derived using information related to supply (that is, data on domestic sales of Australian produced wine, excise data on alcohol produced for domestic consumption, data on imports and an estimated component for home production), as opposed to actual consumption from a survey, and only provide a measure of what alcohol is available for consumption in a given financial year. No adjustments are made for:
  • changes in stocks;
  • duty-free alcohol imported by individual overseas travellers; or
  • for alcohol that has been stored or cellared, used in the preparation of food or discarded as waste.

All alcohol available for consumption in a particular year is therefore assumed to have been consumed in that year.

As such, the data are most useful as a guide to trends in alcohol consumption in Australia. No particular emphasis should be placed on any one year, or on year-to-year changes.


Estimates of apparent consumption of alcohol are available in the following formats on the ABS website:
  • web contents, which contains publication commentary; and
  • data cubes (in Microsoft Excel spreadsheet format).

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