The year Aussies drank the most beer in the world

An animated chart has revealed the countries that drank the most beer for the last 50 years and the year that Australia took out the No.1 spot for the first time.

The chart takes its data from the World Health Organization Global Health Observatory and tracks the countries that drank the most beer per capita every year from 1961 to 2018.

For many years, it was Germany that topped the list. But in 1973 Australia hit No.1 – drinking 9.59 litres per capita – however by 2018 it didn’t even make the list.

And the biggest surprise on the list is that the Seychelles has been the most prolific beer consumer per capita since 2014. In 2019, the island – which has a recorded population of 97,625 – drank 10.93 litres of beer per capita, according to the data.

Last month, Roy Morgan announced that data gathered from its continuous survey of tens of thousands of Australians reveals widespread fears about excessive alcohol consumption during 2020 have proven to be baseless.

Back in 2006, when Roy Morgan began collecting this data to produce the Alcohol Report, 73.5% of Australians enjoyed a drink in an average four-week period. In the 12 months to September 2020 that was down to 66.4%.

And data released by the Australian Institute of Health and Welfare (AIHW) last week has confirmed Australians retain a mature and responsible relationship with their use of alcohol.

On a per-capita basis the consumption of alcohol is at a 50-year low (1968: 10.8 litres pure alcohol per person. 2018: 9.5 litres).

Fewer Australians are now drinking daily, down significantly from 8.5% in 2001 to 5.4% in 2019. Even those who enjoy a glass or two a week is down from 39% to 34% over the same period.

Commenting on the figures, Alcohol Beverages Australian CEO Andrew Wilsmore said: “What you are seeing is significant cultural change where moderation is the new norm – Australians are making sensible choices and choosing to act responsibility when it comes to enjoying alcohol.

“No-one who works hard at crafting a beer, wine or spirit wants Australians harmed by their product and over several decades of partnering with Governments or by investing in industry-led programmes and initiatives, it is pleasing to see the proportion of people exceeding lifetime risk guidelines (drinking more than two standard drinks a day) declining from 21% in 2001 to 16.8% in 2019. It’s a trend that says Australian are increasingly capable of making sensible, personal decisions around their own consumption.

“Public education campaigns and police RBT enforcement has clearly made a big difference. The AIHW data shows driving a car was the riskiest activity undertaken while under the influence of alcohol and has fallen more than 40% from 14.3 to 9.9% of drinkers over nine years,” said Wilsmore.

Australian’s tastes have also changed. 50 years ago, beer was the drink of choice representing almost three quarters of all alcohol sales (73.5%). Now its 39%, with wine rising from 14.4% to almost 39% (38.4%). Spirits, cocktails and packaged ready-to-drink products now represent 19.9% up from 12.2%.

View the mesmerising animated chart that shows the rise and fall of beer drinking in Australia:

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