4307.0.55.001 - Apparent Consumption of Alcohol, Australia, 2017-18 Quality Declaration 
Latest ISSUE Released at 11:30 AM (CANBERRA TIME) 09/09/2019   
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Institutional environment

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

Estimates of apparent per capita consumption are also available for the above alcoholic beverages. Per capita estimates are based on the population aged 15 years and over, consistent with international standards on measuring trends in alcohol consumption.


Apparent consumption of alcohol estimates are usually published annually. There was no publication released for the 2014-15 period and the 2017-18 publication is released 14 months after the end of the reference period.


The ABS aims to produce high quality statistics on apparent consumption of alcohol from:
  • import clearance data from the Australian Government Department of Home Affairs,
  • excise data on Australian production from the Australian Taxation Office (ATO),
  • transaction data, and
  • from wine-making enterprises.
Administrative by-product data such as that provided by the Department of Home Affairs and the ATO are subject to non-sampling error which can arise from inaccuracies in collecting, recording and processing of data. The ABS has limited influence over error associated with data collected by external sources.

The domestic wine contribution to total wine estimates in this publication are collected in the Sales of Australian Wine by Winemakers survey.
  • The 2015-16 estimates were based on a sample survey of businesses from the ABS business register. As a sample survey the 2015-16 Sales of Australian Wine by Winemakers survey is subject to a small sampling error. This small error has not been published as the error decreases to marginal when the data is combined with imports data (and then further when combined with beer, spirits and cider data to derive total alcohol).
  • The 2016-17 estimates were derived from known imports plus a projection of the 2015-16 domestic estimates based on the annual growth in domestic industry sales data from the Sales of Australian Wine by Winemakers survey.
  • The 2017-18 estimates have been derived from known imports plus a projection of the 2016-17 estimates using retail transaction data and domestic wine sales data from the Sales of Australian Wine by Winemakers survey.

Pure alcohol available for consumption from cider, has been derived indirectly from ABS National Health Surveys, in the absence of a direct source of information on apparent consumption of cider. This method, while an approximation, allows an assessment of the relative impact of recent increases in cider on the total level of apparent consumption of alcohol in Australia.

In recognition of the inherent inaccuracy involved in estimation, apparent consumption of alcohol estimates in text and accompanying summary tables published by the ABS are rounded. Apparent per capita consumption of alcohol estimates are calculated from unrounded numbers.


Annual estimates of apparent consumption of alcohol were published at the national level in Apparent Consumption of Foodstuffs, Australia (cat. no. 4306.0) between 1946-47 and 1998-99. In 2011, ABS compiled data into a single time series in Apparent Consumption of Alcohol: Extended Time Series, 1944-45 to 2008-09 (cat. no. 4307.0.55.002). This publication continues the extended time series.

For earlier years in the series, little documentation is available regarding details of how data were produced and/or subsequent revisions. Different issues of the historical sources may present different estimates for the same years. The size of any differences in source data does not affect the overall interpretation of changes in consumption of alcohol over time.

Additionally, 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 consumption of alcohol in Australia.

Estimates of consumption of alcohol presented in this publication differ from data derived from individuals' self-reported consumption from ABS National Health Surveys.


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