Australia’s cask wine drinkers continue to decline, Roy Morgan Research

Posted by AFN Staff Writers on 3rd August 2015

The latest findings from Roy Morgan Research indicate that 45% of Aussie adults (or just over 8.1 million people) drink some kind of wine — still, sparkling and/or fortified — in an average four weeks, down from 50% in 2007. Of these, 16% (almost 1.3 million people) consume cask wine, a substantial decline from the 30% (2.3 million) who drank it back in 2007.

Considering that a South Australian invented the wine cask, it seems fitting that wine drinkers from SA are more likely than those from other states to enjoy their vino from a box: 18% drink cask wine in an average four weeks, just ahead of Queensland (a smidgen under 18%), Tasmania (17%) and Western Australia (17%).

Whereas the ratio between male and female drinkers is quite even for bottled wine, a noticeably higher proportion of men (18%) drink cask wine than women (14%).

Australia’s cask-wine drinkers by state of residence and gender

Wine Stat 1







Source: Roy Morgan Single Source (Australia), April 2014 – March 2015 (n=8,341).

Cask vs bottled wine

So what distinguishes a cask-wine drinker from the vast bottled-wine quaffing majority?

For starters, cask wine is especially popular among older Australians. People aged 65+ are almost 60% more likely to go for goon than the average wine drinker. At the opposite end of the age spectrum, 18-24 year-olds are also more likely to drink it (in striking contrast to 25-34 year-olds, among whom cask-wine drinking is well below average).

Of course, the affordability of cask wine would boost its appeal to both groups: while many in the younger group are still studying or in the early stages of their careers (with salaries to match), the 65+ bracket includes many retirees living on pensions.

In fact, affordability appears to be one of cask wine’s biggest selling points. For example, 26% of wine-drinkers from the cash-strapped FG socio-economic quintile and 24% of those from the budget-bound E quintile opt for cask wine, compared with just 8% of people from the most affluent AB quintile.

“Since South Australian winemaker Thomas Angove invented cask wine packaging in 1965, the ‘plastic bladder in a cardboard box’ has become a worldwide phenomenon, said Andrew Price, General Manager – Consumer Products,Roy Morgan Research. “However, it seems cask wine’s glory days could be over, as there has been a substantial decline in the number of Aussies drinking it over the last few years.”

“Whether this downward trend is simply a symptom of the more widespread decrease in wine-drinking in Australia, or the result of competition from a myriad of cheap bottled wines now available, is hard to know,” said Price.

“What is certain, however, is that winemakers who produce a cask range need to have a detailed knowledge of the demographics, attitudes and habits of their target market so they can tailor their communications accordingly and expand their customer base as a result.”