How beer consumption is slimming but our ‘guts’ continue growing

Posted by AFN Staff Writers on 16th September 2018

A SPIRALLING decline in beer drinking is leading Australia to a 55-year low in alcohol consumption, though figures show ours “guts” continue growing.

The latest Australian Bureau of Statistics report, out this month, shows the average consumption of alcohol of persons aged 15+ is at a 55-year low at 9.4 litres.

There has been a steady decline for the past 10 years.

“This is the lowest annual figure since 1961-62 and it continues the recent downward trend which started around 2008-09,” the ABS says.

“Over three-quarters of alcohol consumed was from either beer (39%) or wine (38%).

“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 year over the last ten years.”


The substantial decline in beer consumption offset to a small degree by an increase in wine consumption.

About 20 per cent of the population reports not having consumed alcohol at all in the past 12 months, other ABS figures, meaning the per person consumption figures can be increased relative to that.

The same 2014-15 national health survey shows 28 per cent of Australian adults were obese, an increase of 19 per cent from 1995.

The amazing evidence of marketers moving with this change in drinking behaviour is this month’s launch of a zero-alcohol beer by brewing giant Carlton and United Breweries (CUB).

Carlton Zero is on the shelves because consumers told CUB they wanted opportunities to moderate their drinking, and they asked for a zero-alcohol beer, the company says.

Its release marks a long-term shift in Australia’s drinking habits: low- and mid-strength beers now represent 20 per cent of CUB sales as consumers increasingly moderate their alcohol intake.

Carlton Zero aims to expand the number of occasions people can enjoy beer while encouraging moderate drinking.

While Australian sales of non-alcoholic beers have grown 57 per cent over the last five years, the sales volumes of non-alcoholic beers are modest in the country compared to the US, Canada and Europe.

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