Per capita consumption of alcohol, according to new data from the Australian Bureau of Statistics (ABS), has bucked the long-term trend and increased in 2015-16, the first rise in nine years.
“In 2015-16, there were 189 million litres of pure alcohol available for consumption, which is 9.7 litres for every person in Australia aged 15 years and over,” said Louise Gates, ABS director of health statistics.
While Australia’s whiskey distillers have enjoyed increased prominence in recent years, thanks in part to a resurgence at the hands of ‘hipsters’, the rise was actually due to increased consumption of another beverage.
“The main contributor to the rise in pure alcohol available for consumption per person was beer which also increased for the first time in nine years to 3.9 litres of pure alcohol per person aged 15 years and over,” Ms Gates said.
“In 2015-16, beer represented 40 per cent of all pure alcohol available for consumption, a slight increase from 39 per cent in 2014-15.”
However, she suggested it is too early to think that beer will make a sustained increase in consumption, given that the longer-term trajectory has been downward for beer as a portion of total alcohol consumption.
“[It is] still a decrease over recent decades from 45 per cent in 2005-06 and 54 per cent in 1995-96,” she said.