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Alcohol Available for Consumption: Year ended December 2013
Embargoed until 10:45am  –  25 February 2014
Commentary

Total alcoholic beverage volume rises

The total volume of alcoholic beverage available for consumption rose 8.9 million litres (1.9 percent) to 466 million litres in the year ended December 2013. This follows decreases of  3.3 percent for 2012 and 0.3 percent for 2011.

The increase was led by a rise in the volume of beer available, which was partly offset by a fall in the volume of spirit-based drinks available.

In 2013, alcohol available in the December quarter rose 0.4 percent compared with the same quarter in 2012. The March and June quarters had rises, while September fell.

Beer volume rises 3.2 percent

The total volume of beer available for consumption rose 8.9 million litres (3.2 percent), to 289 million litres in 2013, following a 6.6 percent fall in 2012.

Graph, Volume of beer available for consumption, by beer strength, 2003 to 2013.

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 2013.

The 2013 rise in beer volume available was driven by medium-strength beer, but offset slightly by high-strength beer.

Changes, by beer's alcohol content, were:

  • less than 2.501 percent – rose 1.0 million litres (44 percent), to 3.4 million litres  
  • 2.501 to 4.350 percent – fell 1.2 million litres (0.8 percent), to 156 million litres
  • 4.351 to 5.000 percent – rose 11 million litres (10 percent), to 117 million litres
  • more than 5.000 percent – fell 1.6 million litres (11 percent), to 13 million litres.

Wine volume up 3.6 percent over the year

The total volume of wine available for consumption in 2013 was 106 million litres, up 3.7 million litres (3.6 percent) compared with 2012.

  • Table wine made from other fruit, vegetables, or other aromatic substances rose 50 percent, to 16 million litres. Cider is included in this category but its value cannot be separately identified.
  • Table wine made from grapes fell 1.5 percent, to 90 million litres.

Graph, Volume of table wine available for consumption, by wine type, 1998 to 2013.  

Fortified wine (greater than 14 percent alcohol by volume) decreased 150,000 litres (29 percent), to 362,000 litres.

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

Volume of spirits and spirit-based drinks falls 5.0 percent

The volume of spirit-based drinks (containing not more than 23 percent alcohol) decreased 3.9 million litres (6.2 percent), to 58 million litres.

The volume of spirits (containing more than 23 percent alcohol) increased 135,000 litres (1.0 percent), to 13 million litres.

Spirits and spirit-based drinks contributed 15 percent of the total volume of alcoholic beverage available in 2013, compared with 3.0 percent in 1996.

Graph, Volume of spirits and spirit-based drinks available for consumption, 1998 to 2013.  

Volume of pure alcohol available rises 0.8 percent

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

The total volume of pure alcohol available for consumption rose 0.8 percent, to 32.9 million litres in 2013, an increase of 263,000 litres since 2012.

The volume of pure alcohol available from:

  • beer – rose 387,000 litres (3.2 percent), to 12 million litres  
  • wine – rose 121,000 litres (1.1 percent), to 11 million litres
  • spirit-based drinks (not more than 23 percent alcohol) – fell 297,000 litres (6.8 percent), to 4.1 million litres
  • spirits (more than 23 percent alcohol) – rose 56,000 litres (1.0 percent), to 5.5 million litres.

 Graph, Total volume of pure alcohol available for consumption, by beverage type, 2006 to 2013.

 Graph, Litres of pure alcohol available for consumption, per person aged 15 years and over, 1999 to 2013.

Standard drinks per person shows no change

In 2013, litres of pure alcohol available per person were unchanged from 2012.  However, the 2012 and 2011 levels were:

  • 9.2 litres per person aged 15+, down from 9.5 litres in 2011.
  • 9.7 litres per person aged 18+, down from 10 litres in 2011.

The 2013 figure is equivalent to an average of:

  • 2.0 standard drinks per person (15+) per day, unchanged from 2012
  • 2.1 standard drinks per person (18+) per day, unchanged from 2012.

The proportions of pure alcohol available for consumption from the different alcoholic beverages have changed over time. Between 1996 and 2013, the proportion available from:

  • wine has increased from 30 percent to 33 percent  
  • spirits (including spirit-based drinks) has increased from 16 percent to 29 percent
  • beer has decreased from 54 percent to 38 percent.

 Graph, Beverage type as proportion of total pure alcohol available, 1996 to 2013.

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

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