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Alcohol Available for Consumption: Year ended December 2011
Embargoed until 10:45am  –  24 February 2012
Commentary

Total alcoholic beverage volumes fall

The total volume of alcoholic beverage available for consumption fell 1.6 million litres (0.3 percent) to 472 million litres. This follows a 0.6 percent increase in the year ended December 2010.

The decrease was due to a fall in the volume of wine, down 4.7 million litres (4.6 percent). This was partly offset by a rise in the volume of spirits and spirit-based drinks available, up 2.7 million litres (3.7 percent).

The volume of alcoholic beverage available for consumption rose 7.5 percent in the June 2011 quarter and 7.2 percent in the September 2011 quarter, compared with the same quarters in 2010.

Beer volumes remain steady

The total volume of beer available for consumption rose 446,000 litres (0.1 percent) to 300 million litres in 2011.

As a proportion of the total volume of alcoholic beverage available for consumption, beer has fallen from 81 percent in 1996 to 63 percent in 2011.

The volume of beer with an alcohol content of:

  • up to 2.500 percent increased 5,000 litres (0.2 percent) to 3.0 million litres
  • 2.501 to 4.350 percent decreased 3.9 million litres (2.2 percent) to 172 million litres
  • 4.351 to 5.000 percent increased 4.1 million litres (3.7 percent) to 116 million litres
  • more than 5.000 percent increased 189,000 litres (2.1 percent) to 9.0 million litres.

Graph, Volume of beer available for consumption, by beer strength, 2001 to 2011.

Wine volumes decrease 4.6 percent

The total volume of wine available for consumption in 2011 was 98 million litres, down 4.7 million litres (4.6 percent) compared with 2010.

The total volume of table wine (up to 14 percent alcohol content) was 97 million litres. This was a decrease of 4.6 million litres (4.5 percent) from 2010.

  • Table wine made from grapes decreased 5.6 percent to 89 million litres.
  • Table wine made from other fruits, vegetables, or other aromatic substances rose 10 percent to 7.9 million litres.

Graph, Volume of table wine available for consumption, by wine type, 1996 to 2011.

Fortified wine (greater than 14 percent alcohol by volume) decreased 114,000 litres (16.2 percent) to 592,000 litres.

Wine contributed 21 percent of the total volume of alcoholic beverage available in 2011, down from 22 percent in 2010.

Spirits and spirit-based drinks volumes rise

The volume of spirit-based drinks (containing 23 percent alcohol or less) increased 2.4 million litres (4.1 percent) to 62 million litres.

The volume of spirits (containing more than 23 percent alcohol) increased 217,000 litres (1.7 percent) to 13 million litres.

As a proportion of the total volume of alcoholic beverage available for consumption in 2011, spirit-based drinks contributed 13 percent and spirits contributed 2.7 percent. This was unchanged from 2010.

Graph, Volume of spirits and spirit-based drinks available for consumption, 1996 to 2011.

Volume of pure alcohol falls 0.3 percent

Pure alcohol available for consumption measures the alcohol content of the various alcoholic beverages.

From 2010, the total volume of pure alcohol available for consumption fell 113,000 litres (0.3 percent) to 33 million litres. This was a decrease of 1.0 percent to 9.5 litres per person aged 15 years and over.

The volume of pure alcohol available from:

  • wine decreased 528,000 litres (4.7 percent) to 11 million litres
  • spirit-based drinks (not more than 23 percent alcohol content) increased 277,000 litres (6.8 percent) to 4.3 million litres
  • spirits (more than 23 percent alcohol content) increased 91,000 litres (1.7 percent) to 5.4 million litres
  • beer rose 48,000 litres (0.4 percent) to 13 million litres.
 Graph, Total volume of pure alcohol available for consumption, by beverage type, 2004 to 11.  Graph, Litres of pure alcohol available for consumption, per person aged 15 years and over, 1996 to 2011.

The proportion of pure alcohol available for consumption from the different alcoholic beverages has changed over time. In 2011 compared with 1996, the proportion of total pure alcohol available for consumption from:

  • wine increased from 30 percent to 32 percent
  • spirits (including spirit-based drinks) increased from 16 percent to 29 percent
  • beer decreased from 54 percent to 38 percent.

Graph, Beverage type as proportion of total pure alcohol available, 1996 to 2011.

Average number of standard drinks up since 1996

In 2011, there were 9.5 litres of pure alcohol available per person aged 15 years and over, up from 8.8 litres in 1996. This is equivalent to an average of 2.1 standard drinks per person per day, compared with 1.9 standard drinks per person per day in 1996.

For more detailed data see the Excel tables in the ‘Downloads’ box.

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