The Australian Institute of Health and Welfare will be continuing this series in their report, Apparent consumption of alcohol in Australia.
Pure alcohol consumption
An estimated 191.2 million litres of pure alcohol was available for consumption from alcoholic beverages in Australia.
- This was an increase from the 187.6 million litres that was available for consumption in the previous year.
- Spirits and Ready to Drink (RTDs) beverages led the increase with a 7.0% rise (an extra 2.5 million litres), and
- Beer increased 2.5% (or 1.8 million litres).
These rises were offset by modest declines in:
- Wine down 0.2% (or 170 thousand litres), and
- Cider down 9.0% (or 471 thousand litres).
Of the total amount of pure alcohol available for consumption:
- Beer contributed 39.0% (74.6 million litres),
- Wine 38.6% (73.9 million litres),
- Spirits/RTDs 19.9% (38.0 million litres), and
- Cider 2.5% (4.8 million litres).
Over the last five years;
- Beer consumption has declined 0.7%,
- Wine and spirits/RTDs increased 5.0% each, and
- Cider increased 11.8%.
Per capita consumption
9.51 litres of pure alcohol was consumed for each person aged 15 years and over. This was a slight increase on the 9.48 litres available in the previous year, however the overall per capita trend over the last decade shows a decline of around 1.1% per year. This is equal to on average 2.08 standard drinks consumed daily, unchanged from the previous year.
- Litres per person aged 15 years and over.
- Spirits includes Ready to Drink (pre-mixed) beverages.
Table 1 - Pure alcohol available for consumption
|Year ended 30 June||Beer||Wine(a)||Spirits||RTDs(b)||Cider(c)||Total|
|Volume of pure alcohol ('000 litres)|
|2013||75 116||r70 356||24 031||12 130||r4 276||r185 909|
|2014||75 862||r71 114||23 174||11 610||r5 236||r186 996|
|2015||72 102||r72 937||r23 437||10 962||r6 316||r185 754|
|2016||75 371||r73 694||24 280||11 301||r5 907||r190 553|
|2017||72 778||r74 064||r24 251||11 225||r5 252||r187 570|
|2018||74 604||73 894||26 556||11 412||4 781||191 247|
|Per capita consumption of pure alcohol(d) (litres)|
r revised (see paragraphs 5-9 of the Methodology page).
a. A number of changes in methodology have occurred from 2008-09 to 2017-18, therefore, comparisons between these years should be interpreted with caution. See paragraphs 21 to 29 of the Methodology page for details.
b. Ready to Drink (pre-mixed) beverages.
c. See paragraphs 41 to 50 of the Methodology page for information on how estimates of cider were calculated.
d. Litres per person aged 15 years and over.
- Litres per person aged 15 years and over.
- RTDs are Ready to Drink (pre-mixed) beverages.
National Health Survey and consumption of alcohol
Apparent consumption of alcohol figures overestimate the level of alcohol consumed because adjustments have not been made for;
- Wastage, and
- Other factors such as alcohol used in cooking.
On the other hand, the per capita estimates under-estimate consumption among alcohol consumers because many people never actually consume alcohol.
According to the 2017-18 National Health Survey (NHS), the proportion of Australians aged 15 years and over who had consumed alcohol within the last 12 months has consistently decreased over time with;
- 80.5% consuming in 2007-08, and
- 76.5% consuming in 2017-18.
Based on the population who reported having consumed alcohol within the last 12 months, per capita consumption of pure alcohol in 2017-18 was 12.43 litres per year. This is equivalent to 2.72 standard drinks per day on average, similar with the 2.70 observed in 2016-17.
Further adjustments can be made from the NHS for the types of alcohol consumed. This shows average daily consumption of:
- 2.35 standard drinks of beer per day among beer drinkers,
- 2.08 standard drinks of wine per day among wine drinkers, and
- 1.83 standard drinks of spirits/RTDs per day among spirits/RTD drinkers.
Who consumes alcohol?
The proportion of Australians aged 15 years and over who consumed alcohol in the last 12 months varied by demographic characteristic. For example;
- Males were more likely to consume alcohol than females: 81.8% and 71.4% respectively.
- People aged 25-64 years were more likely to consume (80.0% on average) compared with both the 15-24 year olds (67.9%) and people aged 65 years and over (71.6%).
- Overseas-born Australians were less likely to consume than the Australian born population (68.1% and 80.6% respectively).
- The overseas-born and Australian-born populations each have had similar declines in the proportion of drinkers (around 4 percentage points) over the last decade.
Consumption in the last week
Detailed information about the types and amounts of alcoholic drinks consumed were only collected for people who consumed alcohol in the seven days before interview. This provides a snapshot of consumption patterns as follows:
- Just over half (52.8%) of the population aged 15 years and over consumed alcohol in any given week in 2017-18.
- Males were more likely than females to consume alcohol in the last week (60.5% and 45.4% respectively).
In a typical week in 2017-18, around 52.8% (10.3 million) of the population consumed alcohol with:
- 23.9% consuming beer,
- 26.7% consuming wine,
- 15.6% consuming spirits/RTDs, and
- 3.0% consuming cider.
Consumption and beverage type
- Beer was more likely to be consumed by males (40.4%) than females (8.0%) in any given week.
- Wine was more often consumed by females (31.3%) than males (22.0%).
- Spirits/RTDs were consumed by 17.7% of males and 13.6% of females.