AUSTRALIA – Recent data from Roy Morgan’s Alcohol Consumption Report reveals shifts in alcohol consumption patterns among Australians post-pandemic.  

According to the report, the proportion of Australians consuming alcohol increased to 68.1 percent in the 12 months to September 2023, up by 1.8 percent from the pre-pandemic period in the 12 months to March 2020 (66.3%).  

The consumption of wine, beer, and spirits, which reached pandemic highs in 2021, has seen a decline as the country emerged from pandemic restrictions. 

Notably, Ready-to-Drink (RTD) beverages have continued to gain popularity, reaching a record high of over one-in-five Australians in late 2023. The consumption of RTDs has more than doubled from pre-pandemic levels, with 21 percent of Australians indulging in these beverages. 

While wine remains the most popular alcoholic beverage, experiencing an increase from 41 percent pre-pandemic to 44.1 percent in the 12 months to September 2023, spirits enjoyed a ‘pandemic boost’ with over 1 million additional consumers.  

However, this boost has now receded, and the current consumption of spirits is slightly lower than pre-pandemic levels. There are now 5,623,000 (27.3%) Australians drinking spirits, down slightly from 5,671,000 (28.7%) pre-pandemic. 

In contrast, beer consumption has experienced a long-term decline, with less than a third of Australians (32.7%) consuming beer. This marks a significant decrease from the 37.6 percent who consumed beer in the 12 months to March 2020, indicating a challenge for the beer category to regain its previous momentum. 

Roy Morgan CEO Michele Levine said, “The rapid increase in the consumption of alcohol during the pandemic years of 2020-21 was driven by increases for all four of the major alcohol categories – wine, beer, spirits, and RTDs. However, as the pandemic subsided, these four categories experienced very different trajectories of consumption.”  

Levine also noted the challenge faced by beer consumption, which has waned not only in Australia but also in countries like Germany and the Netherlands. 

“The trends we are seeing in the post-pandemic period suggest consumption of wine has found a new high above pre-pandemic levels while consumption of spirits looks set to return to pre-pandemic levels,” said Levine.  

“The good news is that consumption of RTDs such as vodka, gin, bourbon, and rum has been on a sharp rise in recent years and that trend has continued despite the challenging economic circumstances faced by many Australians.” 

The decline in beer consumption aligns with global trends, as seen in Germany, where beer sales fell by 4.5 percent in 2023 compared to the previous year. In the Netherlands, total beer sales in 2023 marked a 5.6 percent fall from 2022 and were even lower than the pre-COVID figure in 2019. 


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