Australian Bureau of Statistics figures released this week show that on a per capita basis there were 9.9 litres of pure alcohol available for consumption per person in 2012-13, 1.6% less than the amount in 2011-12 (10.0 litres) and 8.2% less than 2007-08 (10.8 litres). As a standard drink consists of 12.5 mls of pure alcohol, this is equivalent to an average of 2.2 standard drinks per day per person aged 15 years and over.
The long term trend:
The long term decline is he result of a dramatic fall in the consumption of beer. The volume of beer available for consumption decreased 1.8% between 2011-12 and 2012-13, from 1,762.4 million litres to 1,730.1 million litres. The volume of full strength beer decreased 2.4% while low strength beer decreased 9.4%. Mid strength beer recorded an increase (up 3.7%).
In terms of pure alcohol, consumption of beer has more than halved since the peak in the mid-1970s, and is now at the lowest level since 1945-46.
For wine, there has been a steady increase in people’s consumption over the long term but recently this trend appears to have plateaued, and in fact, per person consumption of wine has decreased slightly over the past three years.
Ready-to-drink beverages have also seen a drop over the past five years, while consumption of spirits has remained relatively steady,