Alcohol consumption lowest in 50 years

Alcohol consumption rates in Australia the lowest seen since the 1960's. Image by Shutterstock.
Alcohol consumption rates in Australia the lowest seen since the 1960's. Image by Shutterstock.

Apparent consumption of alcohol per person has dropped to levels not seen since the 1960s, according to data released by the Australia Bureau of Statistics.

ABS director of health statistics Louise Gates said in 2016-17, the total alcohol consumed in Australia was equivalent to 186 million litres of pure alcohol, or 9.4 litres for every person in Australia aged 15 years." said

Ms Gates said this was the lowest annual figure since 1961-62 and it continued the recent downward trend which started around 2008-09.

“Over three-quarters of alcohol consumed was from either beer (39 per cent or wine (38 per cent)” she said.

“And while alcohol consumed from wine has declined recently, the drop in beer consumption has been the main driver for falling alcohol consumption with an average decline of 2.4 per cent per year over the last ten years."

Ms Gates said the major categories of alcohol sold were beer, wine, spirits, ready to drink beverages and cider.

She said using the average consumption levels for each category, the 9.4 litres of pure alcohol can be expressed as the average Australian aged 15 and over consumed the equivalent of 224 stubbies of beer, 38 bottles of wine, 17 bottles of cider, four bottles of spirits and 33 cans of premixed ready to drink varieties.

“If you keep in mind that around one in five Australians drink very rarely or not at all, that's quite a lot for the rest of us, notwithstanding the amounts discarded or used for non-drinking purposes," she said.

"If 224 stubbies sounds like a lot, contrast that with 1974-75 when Australia reached 'peak beer' and the consumption was equivalent to over 500 stubbies per person."

To find out more information about the report, please visit the ABS website at abs.gov.au/.