This document was added or updated on 12/11/2010.
CHANGES IN ALCOHOL CONCENTRATION OF WINE
The article 'Per capita alcohol consumption in Australia: will the real trend please step forward?' published on 1 November 2010 in the Medical Journal of Australia has generated interest in ABS alcohol statistics and the ways of measuring alcohol consumption in Australia over time. Accurate statistics are essential in measuring the effect of alcohol on the health of Australians and formulating health policies.
ABS has been publishing annual estimates of alcohol consumption since 1944–45. In preparing the 2008–09 issue of Apparent Consumption of Alcohol, Australia (cat. no. 4307.0.55.001) released in May 2010, ABS undertook a comprehensive review of the alcohol content of wine in recognition of the effect that changing environmental conditions, industry practices and consumer preferences have had on wine. The review resulted in an increase of 1.9 percentage points for the average alcohol content of table wine, from 10.8% to 12.7% (12.2% and 13.4% for white and red table wines, respectively). The alcohol strength of sparkling and carbonated wine also increased while the alcohol content of vermouth decreased.
The new averages were applied to the total volume of wine consumed in Australia in 2008-09 to obtain total alcohol consumed (in litres of pure alcohol), which form a component of the overall yearly consumption of alcohol in Australia. Estimates of total alcohol consumption for 2004-05 to 2007-08 were also revised using the new averages.
While data for earlier years are available, ABS has cautioned against comparisons over time due to changes in methods. However, with the implementation of the new averages and subsequent discussions with alcohol data users, the desirability of a long-term consolidated time series of alcohol consumption has been identified. To meet this need, ABS has scheduled, for late 2010, the release of an extended time series of alcohol consumption in Apparent Consumption of Alcohol: Extended Time Series (cat. no. 4307.0.55.002).
Interested users are able to subscribe to this release by clicking on the Subscribe link on the ABS home page <www.abs.gov.au>, choosing the Advanced tab, selecting the Health sub-topic and selecting 4307.0.55.002 - Apparent Consumption of Alcohol: Extended Time Series.