4307.0.55.001 - Apparent Consumption of Alcohol, Australia, 2012-13 Quality Declaration 
ARCHIVED ISSUE Released at 11:30 AM (CANBERRA TIME) 04/04/2014   
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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 published annually and are released approximately 10 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 ACBPS, excise data on Australian production from the ATO, and from wine-making enterprises. Administrative by-product data such as that provided by the Australian Taxation Office (ATO) and Australian Customs and Border Protection Service (ACBPS) 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.

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.

In the absence of a direct source of information on apparent consumption of cider, the volume of pure alcohol available for consumption in the form of cider has been derived indirectly from ABS National Health Surveys. 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.


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

See the Related Information tab for a list of other relevant products available.