Australians’ love of beer as soon as fed the concept that it was a rustic the place the “amber nectar” dominated supreme, from Paul Hogan’s Foster’s adverts to the often-told story of cricketer David Boon downing 52 cans on a flight from Sydney to London.

But 2022 was the yr when beer misplaced its mantle as Australia’s favorite tipple for the primary time, in accordance with the brewing trade, as a youthful, extra abstemious and health-conscious era turned its again on the more and more dear drink within the pub for a glass of wine at residence.

Tim Cooper, chief government of Coopers Brewery, the nation’s largest impartial beer producer, cited trade knowledge exhibiting that beer’s share of the Australian alcohol market slipped to about 38 per cent this yr, behind wine with greater than 40 per cent.

This was an enormous reversal from the Nineteen Seventies, when beer accounted for 70 per cent of all alcoholic drinks consumed in Australia, with wine at simply 10 per cent, he stated. “The massive change is that persons are consuming at residence and never within the pubs any extra. That’s a considerable shift,” stated Cooper, the fifth era of his household to steer the Adelaide-based firm.

Half of the beer produced in Australia was consumed in pubs within the Nineteen Seventies, he famous, a time when promoting kegs was “a licence to print cash”. However that determine has now fallen to 16 per cent, not helped by the pandemic, which has hit Australia’s hospitality sector onerous.

Australians’ taste for wine passes thirst for beer

Matt Kirkegaard, founding father of Brews Information, a commerce publication, stated the emergence of wine because the nation’s hottest drink had been “sneaking up on us for some time”, reflecting a shift in Australians’ self-perception.

“For years, beer has been such a robust a part of our id, whether or not it’s Paul Hogan or the XXXX advertisements,” he stated, referring to the model of beer common in Queensland state. “However the fashionable Australian doesn’t wish to be seen that manner any extra. They wish to be seen as extra refined.”

Kirkegaard stated the trade . . . had not helped itself by selling beer as an overtly masculine product, pointing to a Victoria Bitter marketing campaign a decade in the past that mocked males who used hand cream or drank cocktails. “They have been on the fallacious aspect of historical past,” he stated.

Certainly, VB has launched a spread of colognes and toilet merchandise up to now two years, however the as soon as omnipotent model has dropped out of the highest three beers within the nation.

Brewers argue {that a} vary of things has influenced beer’s sinking recognition, together with a extra health-conscious inhabitants that has began counting energy.

John Preston, chief government of the Brewers Affiliation commerce physique, pointed to a drop within the quantity of alcohol that Australians eat. “Persons are consuming a lot lower than they did within the Nineteen Seventies,” he stated.

Value is one other vital think about altering client developments, as the price of a pint reaches A$15 (US$10) due to rising inflation, which is linked to the tax levied on beer.

Preston stated Australia was set to overhaul Finland subsequent yr when it comes to duties on beer, making it the third-highest on the planet. “The overall sense is that it has turn into a deal with for individuals to exit,” he stated.

Beer, which raises about A$2.5bn a yr in tax, has struggled to compete financially towards wine, which is handled in another way and raises a few fifth of that quantity a yr for the Treasury. “There’s an financial incentive . . . to modify from beer to wine,” stated Cooper.

Coopers, which has resisted takeover makes an attempt by bigger gamers, expects beer volumes to proceed to say no over the subsequent decade. “Demand for beer may be very elastic. If the worth goes up, the volumes go down,” its chief government stated.

The corporate, which is situated in one in all Australia’s most vibrant wine areas, is responding by pumping A$50mn into creating a whisky model. Cooper emphasised, nonetheless, that the 160-year-old brewer was not turning its again on its heritage: “We’re not giving up on beer.”

Kirkegaard pointed to the nation’s thriving craft beer scene as proof that many Australians continued to take pleasure in a pint. “Beer has survived 12,000 years for an excellent purpose,” he stated.


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