Drinking Habits of Australians

What is the average age at which Australians start to drink alcohol?

In 2016, the average age at which Australians aged 14 years and older consumed their first serve of alcohol was 17 years. However, the average age at which 14-24 year olds consumed their first serve of alcohol was 16 years.

Source: Australian Institute of Health and Welfare (AIHW). 2016 National Drug Strategy Household Survey Report.

How many litres of alcohol do Australians drink each year?

There were approximately 186 million litres of pure alcohol available for consumption in Australia in 2016-17. This comprised approximately 73 million litres of beer, 71 million litres of wine, 24 million litres of spirits, 11 million litres of RTDs, and 6 million litres of cider. This equated to around 9 litres of pure alcohol available for consumption per person (aged 15 years and over) per year.

Source: Australian Bureau of Statistics (ABS) (2018). Apparent Consumption of Alcohol, Australia, 2016-17.

RTDs: Ready-to-drink (pre-mixed) beverages

Please note: The pure alcohol available for consumption figures will overestimate the true level of alcohol consumed as beverages, as adjustments cannot be made for wastage and other factors such as for alcohol used in cooking.

How much money do Australian households spend on alcohol each week?

Australian households spent an average of AU$31.95 per week on alcohol beverages in 2015-16.

Source: Australian Bureau of Statistics (ABS) (2017). Household Expenditure Survey 2015-16. 

Which alcohol beverages do Australians usually drink?

The alcohol beverages most commonly consumed by Australians are bottled wine (34%), regular strength beer (20%), and bottled spirits/liqueur (14%).

Source: Australian Institute of Health and Welfare (AIHW). 2016 National Drug Strategy Household Survey Report.

Please note: Percentages may not tally to 100% due to rounding.

Do Australian men and women drink different types of alcohol beverages?

Australian men and women drink different types of alcohol beverages. Men are most likely to drink regular strength beer whilst women are most likely to drink bottled wine.

Source: Australian Institute of Health and Welfare (AIHW). 2016 National Drug Strategy Household Survey (NCETA secondary analysis, 2018).

Please note: Percentages may not tally to 100% due to rounding.

Do younger and older Australians drink different types of alcohol beverages?

Younger and older Australians drink different types of alcohol beverages. Those aged 14-17 years are most likely to drink pre-mixed spirits, the popularity of which tends to decrease with age. Those aged 30 years and older are most likely to drink bottled wine, the popularity of which tends to increase with age.

Source: Australian Institute of Health and Welfare (AIHW). 2016 National Drug Strategy Household Survey (NCETA secondary analysis, 2018).

 * Estimate has a relative standard error of 25% to 50% and should be used with caution.

** Estimate has a relative standard error greater than 50% and is considered too unreliable for general use.

Please note: Percentages may not tally to 100% due to rounding.