Responsible Service of Alcohol Update : Australians Drink Less Beer And More Spirits

An interesting article recently featured in The International Business Times highlighting the changing landscape of alcohol preference in Australia. The article based on statistics by The Australian Bureau of Statistics reported that beer and wine consumption in Australia was down and the sales of spirits was up. In fact the statistics showed an increase of 4.8% in alcohol sales.


According to  The International Business Times:


Australians continue to show a change in their drinking preference as they drank less alcoholic drinks and beer, and more of spirits.


According to the report of the Australian Bureau of Statistics (ABS) released on Friday, 182 million litres of pure alcohol were made available for consumption in 2010-11, less 2 million litres compared to a year ago. Sales of beer, which is 42 per cent of all alcohol sold, declined 3.4 per cent, while sales of wine, which is 37 per cent – went down by 0.6 per cent. Beer sales used to account for 76 per cent of Australian alcohol consumption.


On the opposite side, sales of spirits went up by 4.8 per cent for the same period. Pre-mixed spirits and spirits account for 20 per cent of all alcohol sales.


The data means the average Aussie imbibed 10 litres of pure alcohol in the past 12 months or 2.2 standard drinks daily. The daily amount of alcohol consumption recommended by health authorities is just 2 standard drinks. Overall consumption dropped 1.1 per cent, the ABS noted.


The ABS report came out amid a price war by Australian supermarkets on Grange, considered Australia’s most prized liquor. The recommended retail price of the drink is $625, but Coles started the price war by offering a 20 per cent discount to $499 at Coles’ 1st Choice liquor outlet.


Costco joined the price war by bringing down the price of Grange to $489.99, while the Dan Murphy Web site offered on Thursday afternoon Penfolds Grange 2007 for $479.99.


Woolworths, the main competitor of Coles, announced initially on its Dan Murphy Web site that the vintage’s price would drop to $554.60, but the price is expected to go down further as the supermarket war intensifies.


However, the $489.99 price tag of Costco is only at three warehouse supermarkets in Melbourne, Sydney and Canberra, and the purchases are limited to club members.


 A comparison indicated the lowest price of Grange is at 1st Choice, but shoppers could only buy two bottles each. A similar two-bottle limit was made by Vintage Cellars, which is also owned by Coles. Vintage’s price tag is $520.




With a variety of alcoholic brands available it can become an overwhelming choice. Here is a basic breakdown of various classes of alcohol and a brief description of the most popular ones:




Gin – Is made by distilling rye or grain spirits and adding juniper berries or other flavourings such as anise, caraway seeds or angelica roots. The liquid is colourless.


Whiskey – distilled from grain, potatoes maize, rye, wheat or malted barley.


Vodka – originally distilled from fermented wheat mash or mash of rye, corn, or potatoes.


Tequila – an alcoholic liquor distilled from the fermented juice of the Central American century plant Agave tequilana.


Rum – distilled from cane juice, treacle or molasses.


Brandy – an alcoholic liquor distilled from wine or fermented fruit juice.




(Flavoured Spirits)


Liqueurs are flavoured spirits prepared by infusing certain woods, fruits, or flowers, in either water or alcohol, and adding sugar, etc. or from aromatic or flavouring agents.


Wines & Champagne


Red Wine – wine having a red colour derived from skins of dark-coloured grapes.


White Wine – has a clear, transparent colour, bordering on white, as Madeira, sherry, Lisbon, etc.; — distinguished from wines of a deep red colour, as port and Burgundy.


Rose Wine – pinkish table wine from red grapes whose skins were removed after fermentation began.


Champagne – a sparkling white wine made from a blend of grapes, especially Chardonnay and pinot, produced in Champagne.


Sparkling Wine – any of various effervescent wines, such as champagne, produced by a process involving fermentation in the bottle.


Vermouth – a sweet or dry fortified wine flavoured with aromatic herbs and used chiefly in mixed drinks.



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