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Alcohol Available for Consumption: Year ended December 2014
Embargoed until 10:45am  –  25 February 2015
Commentary

Total alcoholic beverage volume falls

The total volume of alcoholic beverage available for consumption fell 9.4 million litres (2.0 percent) in the year ended December 2014, to 457 million litres. This follows a 1.9 percent increase for 2013 and a 3.3 percent decrease for 2012.

The decrease was due to falls in the volumes of beer available, down 6.5 million litres (2.3 percent) and spirit-based drinks available, down 4.3 million litres (7.3 percent). These falls were partly offset by a rise in the volume of wine available, up 1.6 million litres (1.5 percent).

In 2014, alcohol available in the December quarter fell 0.2 percent compared with the same quarter in the previous year. Volumes also fell in the March and June quarters, while it rose in the September quarter.

Beer volume down 2.3 percent

The total volume of beer available for consumption fell 6.5 million litres (2.3 percent) in 2014, to 282 million litres.

Graph, Volume of beer available for consumption, by beer strength, 2004 to 2014.

As a proportion of the total volume of alcoholic beverage available for consumption, beer has fallen from 81 percent in 1996 to 62 percent in 2014. This is unchanged from 2013.

The 2014 fall in beer volume available was driven by mid-strength beer (2.501–4.350% alcohol content), but partly offset by rises in low-strength and high-strength beer.

Changes, by beer's alcohol content, were:

  • less than 2.501 percent – rose 2.2 million litres (66 percent), to 5.6 million litres  
  • 2.501 to 4.350 percent – fell 12 million litres (7.4 percent), to 144 million litres 
  • 4.351 to 5.000 percent – rose 2.1 million litres (1.8 percent), to 119 million litres
  • more than 5.000 percent – rose 706,000 litres (5.5 percent), to 14 million litres.

Wine volume up 1.5 percent

The total volume of wine available for consumption in 2014 was 108 million litres, up 1.6 million litres (1.5 percent) compared with 2013.

  • Table wine made from grapes increased 3.7 percent, to 93 million litres.
  • Table wine made from other fruit, vegetables, or other aromatic substances fell 12 percent, to 14 million litres. Cider is included in this category but its value cannot be separately identified.

Graph, Volume of table wine available for consumption, by wine type, 1999 to 2014.  

Fortified wine (greater than 14 percent alcohol by volume) increased 98,000 litres (27 percent), to 460,000 litres.

Wine contributed 24 percent of the total volume of alcoholic beverage available in 2014, compared with 16 percent in 1996. In 2013, wine contributed 23 percent.

Volume of spirits and spirit-based drinks falls 6.3 percent

The volume of spirit-based drinks (containing 23 percent alcohol or less) decreased 4.3 million litres (7.3 percent) in 2014, to 54 million litres.

The volume of spirits (containing more than 23 percent alcohol) decreased 235,000 litres (1.8 percent), to 13 million litres.

As a proportion of the total volume of alcoholic beverage available for consumption, spirits and spirit-based drinks have risen from 3.0 percent in 1996 to 15 percent in 2014. This is unchanged from 2013.

Graph, Volume of spirits and spirit-based drinks available for consumption, 1999 to 2014.  

Volume of pure alcohol available down 0.3 percent

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

The total volume of pure alcohol available for consumption fell 0.3 percent, to 32.8 million litres in 2014, a decrease of 94,000 litres since 2013.

The volume of pure alcohol available from:

  • beer – fell 286,000 litres (2.3 percent), to 12 million litres
  • spirit-based drinks (not more than 23 percent alcohol content) – fell 330,000 litres (8.1 percent), to 3.8 million litres
  • spirits (more than 23 percent alcohol content) – fell 98,000 litres (1.8 percent), to 5.4 million litres
  • wine – rose 620,000 litres (5.7 percent), to 12 million litres .

 Graph, Total volume of pure alcohol available for consumption, by beverage type, 2007 to 2014.

 Graph, Litres of pure alcohol available for consumption, per person aged 18 years and over, 2000 to 2014.

Standard drinks per person shows no change

In 2014, the number of litres of pure alcohol available per person was:

  • 9.1 litres per person aged 15 years and over (down from 9.2 litres in 2013)
  • 9.6 litres per person aged 18 years and over (down from 9.7 litres in 2013).

The 2014 figure is equivalent to an average of:

  • 2.0 standard drinks per person (15+) per day (unchanged from 2013)
  • 2.1 standard drinks per person (18+) per day (unchanged from 2013).

The proportions of pure alcohol available for consumption from the different alcoholic beverages have changed over time. Between 1996 and 2014, the proportion available from:

  • wine has increased – from 30 percent to 35 percent (up 2.0 percent from 2013) 
  • spirits (including spirit-based drinks) has increased – from 16 percent to 28 percent (down 1.2 percent from 2013)
  • beer has decreased – from 54 percent to 37 percent (down 0.8 percent from 2013).

 Graph, Beverage type as proportion of total pure alcohol available, 1996 to 2014.

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

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