4307.0.55.001 - Apparent Consumption of Alcohol, Australia, 2008-09  
ARCHIVED ISSUE Released at 11:30 AM (CANBERRA TIME) 27/05/2010   
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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 the total supply of alcohol available for consumption is one indicator of the overall trends in alcohol consumption across the population.

    Combined administrative data from the Australian Taxation Office (ATO) and the Australian Customs and Border Protection Service (ACBPS), and direct collection of sales data from wine making enterprises provide information on the quantity of beer, wine, spirits and ready to drink (pre-mixed) beverages available for consumption. Estimates of dutiable quantity of alcohol (in litres of alcohol) available for consumption of beer, wine, spirits and ready to drink (pre-mixed) beverages, estimates of the apparent consumption of beer and wine per person aged 15 years and over, in addition to the apparent consumption of alcohol per person aged 15 years and over, are also included.

    Estimates for beer and wine also include an estimated component for home production.


    Apparent consumption of alcohol estimates are published annually and are released approximately 10 months after the end of the reference period. Revised estimates are available a year later (after revisions to the Estimated Resident Population (ERP) have been made).


    The ABS aims to produce high quality statistics on the apparent consumption of alcohol from import clearance data from the ACBPS, excise data on Australian production from the ATO and from wine making enterprises. Error can arise from inaccuracies in collecting, recording and processing the data. However, the ABS has limited influence over error associated with data collected by external sources.

    Due to changes to the excise beer data provided by the ATO for the Apparent Consumption of Alcohol publication since excise tariff reform in July 2006 and resulting changes to the way the ABS has calculated the quantity and total alcohol content for each of the three beer strengths, the total quantity of alcohol available for consumption and apparent consumption per capita for beer may not be directly comparable with data prior to 2005–06.

    As a result of excise tariff reform in July 2006, new data items (for beer brewed on commercial premises for non-commercial purposes) which were not separately identified previously were introduced in 2006–07 to the ATO source data. These additional data items have been categorised to low and high beer strengths based on their alcohol contents. To enable time series comparison to include the period 2006–07, previously published data for this period has been revised and footnoted.

    In previous editions of this publication, figures for beer included an estimated component for home production which was based on the survey, Home Production of Selected Foodstuffs, Australia, (cat. no. 7110.0), conducted in 1992. After a review into the estimated component for home production, incorporating consultation with the industry, the estimate for the home production of beer was was marginally increased from 2.1%, of total beer available for consumption, to 2.2%. To enable time series comparison for the periods 2006–07 to 2007–08, previously published data for these periods have been revised and footnoted.

    A review of the assumed alcoholic content for sparkling and carbonated wine, table wine and vermouth was conducted prior to the preparation of this publication. Table wine comprises 84.5% of total wine sold in Australia (see Australian Wine and Grape Industry (cat. no. 1329.0)). As such, a comprehensive review of table wine was conducted that of both bottled and soft-pack wine and resulted in an overall increase of 1.9% for the assumed alcohol content of table wine. The alcohol strength of sparkling and carbonated wine also increased while the alcohol content of vermouth decreased.

    In previous publications, data for red and white wine were not separately identified. As there are substantial differences in the alcohol content of red and white wines they are provided separately in this publication.

    Ready to drink (pre-mixed) beverages data includes spirit based, wine based and other unspecified based products.

    In some years, changes to the data collected or changes to the methodology used may also result in revised estimates.

    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 based on un-rounded numbers.


    Comparable annual estimates of apparent consumption of alcohol have been published at the national level between 1946–47 and 1998–99 in the publication: Apparent Consumption of Foodstuffs, Australia (cat. no. 4306.0). Although a break in series occurred between 1999–2000 and 2001–02, estimates on the apparent consumption of alcohol have been published separately since 2002–03. However, a comparison of the estimates over time should be undertaken with care.

    The Explanatory Notes in this edition of the publication contains information pertinent to this particular release which may impact on comparison over time.


    The Apparent Consumption of Alcohol 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 from this publication in relation to alcohol consumption. Estimates relate to the availability of alcohol over a given financial year, rather than a measure of the actual consumption of alcohol by persons aged 15 years and over. As such, the data is most useful as a guide to trends and does not take into account alcohol that has been stored or cellared, used in the preparation of food or has been discarded as waste.


    Estimates on the apparent consumption of alcohol are only published at the national level. Earlier editions of the publication are available free of charge on the ABS web site <https://www.abs.gov.au/>. From 1946–47 to 1998–99, estimates on apparent consumption of alcohol were published in Apparent Consumption of Foodstuffs, Australia (cat. no. 4306.0). Estimates from 1991–92 are available on the ABS web site.

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