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   
   Page tools: Print Print Page Print all pages in this productPrint All RSS Feed RSS Bookmark and Share Search this Product

Long-term trends

Over the past 60 years, the per capita trend in apparent consumption of alcohol may be viewed as occurring in several phases:

  • First was a steep increase from the early 1960s leading to the peak of 13.1 litres per capita in 1974-75. Consumption around this level was maintained until the early 1980s when annual consumption fell consistently through to the early 1990s, and from that point hovered around 10 litres per capita for around a decade.
  • Consumption increased once again over the period 2002-03 to 2008-09 where it reached 10.84 litres per capita.
  • Since 2008-09, consumption has declined reaching 9.51 litres per capita in 2017-18, only slightly higher than the 9.48 in 2016-17.


Total per capita consumption of pure alcohol(a)
Graph: Total per capita consumption of pure alcohol(a)
Footnote(s): (a) Litres per person aged 15 years and over.
Source(s): Apparent Consumption of Alcohol, Australia, 2017-18


The overall trend in apparent consumption has been driven by large shifts in the types of alcoholic beverage consumed.
  • Beer had a major impact on the early increase in overall consumption and the subsequent periods of decline.
  • Beer went from making up almost three-quarters (73.5%) of all alcohol consumed in 1967-68 to 39.0% in 2017-18 as the per capita consumption of beer almost halved over the period.
  • Wine over the 60 year period has grown from 14.4% to 38.6%.
  • Despite beer's declining share of total consumption, beer continues to be the leading source of alcohol, with 3.71 litres of pure alcohol from beer consumed per capita in 2017-18 compared with 3.67 litres of alcohol from wine.
  • Although the proportion of alcohol consumed from wine (38.6%) is now almost equal to beer, the per capita consumption of alcohol from wine has declined since the peak in 2009-10 of 4.04 litres.
  • Wine consumption over the last decade has declined by an average of 1% per year. Despite this decline, wine still managed to slightly increase its share by 4.2 percentage points over that period because of the larger declines in consumption of beer and, to a lesser extent, spirits/RTDs.
  • Spirits (and RTDs) have also increased share over the long term from 12.2% in 1967-68 to 19.9% in 2017-18. However, the 2017-18 share is down from the 2007-08 peak of 21.3% due to a decline averaging 2.6% per year over the last decade.
  • While cider was estimated to have made an insignificant contribution to total alcohol consumption prior to 2004-05, since that time it has grown to make up 2.5% of alcohol consumed in 2017-18.


Apparent consumption of pure alcohol, Beverage type as a proportion of all alcohol
Graph: Apparent consumption of pure alcohol, Beverage type as a proportion of all alcohol
Footnote(s): (a) Spirits includes Ready to Drink (pre-mixed) beverages.
Source(s): Apparent Consumption of Alcohol, Australia, 2017-18