The day Australia bucks the anti-beer trend

Generally speaking drinking beer in Australia is on the decline... except on Australia day.
Generally speaking drinking beer in Australia is on the decline... except on Australia day. Lou O'Brien

JUDGING by year-on-year decreases in sales, one might think beer drinking was a dying art, making way for alco-pops, party drugs and the dreaded abstinence by a health-obsessed generation.

But there is one day of the year when the country unites under the banner of beery excess, and that does not look like changing.

Carlton and United Breweries spokesman Jeremy Griffith said Australia Day beer sales were bucking overall consumption trends and had risen 3.4% from 2013 to 2014.

Beer sales across the nation hit $300 million in both pack and draught in the lead-up to Australia Day - just behind Boxing Day and Christmas sales.

Mr Griffith said Australia Day drinking habits varied from state to state, with New South Wales, Western Australia, Victoria and Queensland opting mostly for premium and contemporary beers, compared to contemporary and lighter brews in South Australia.

Northern Territory tipplers had a taste for light, classic and premium brews and Tasmania was more conservative and inclined to stick to mostly classic beers.

"Those contemporary beers, the lighter, less bitter but easier-drinking brews are popular with men and women so it makes sense they are increasingly on people's agenda when planning their Australia Day celebrations," Mr Griffith said.

However, the brewer admitted the industry had shot itself in the foot in the past by failing to market beer to women.

"We've seen a decline in beer consumption more broadly over the last few decades and we know that is in part due to the industry only talking to blokes and ignoring opportunities to talk to women as well," he said.

Only 500 beer brands existed a decade ago and there are now more than 1700 on the market in Australia.


Topics:  alcohol australia day beer editors picks

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