Aussies may be known the world over for their love of beer, but new data shows consumption of the amber liquid has fallen to levels not seen since World War II.
The average Australian downed 4.01 litres of alcohol in the form of beer last financial year, slightly less than the 4.04 litres consumed 12 months earlier, official figures show.
At just over four litres, the amount consumed last year was the lowest since 1945/46, when 3.87 litres was drunk by the average Australian.
CommSec economist Savanth Sebastian called the result “stunning”, but said he couldn’t explain it.
“It may reflect immigration, greater variety of leisure pursuits, increases in income and wealth, (or) diet and lifestyle,” he said.
“There is (also) the long-run influence of random breath-testing.”
Full-strength beer consumption fell from 3.32 litres to 3.28 litres, according to the Australian Bureau of Statistics, while low-strength was down from 0.15 litres, to a record low of 0.13 litres.
But the amount of mid-strength beer drunk rose from 0.58 litres to a new high of 0.61 litres.
Wednesday’s data showed the fall in beer consumption was part of a wider trend, with total alcohol consumption also down.
It fell for the seventh straight year in 2013/14 to a 50-year low of 9.71 litres per person.
Wine sagged to an eight-year low of 3.64 litres, and spirits hit a 13-year-low of 1.23 litres.
Cider was the only alcoholic beverage to buck the trend, climbing to 0.22 litres per person, from 0.19 litres the previous year.