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Aussies Switching from Beer to Wine

Posted: Monday, 24 January 2011 14:47

Aussies Switching from Beer to Wine

Indians might believe in Australia being a beer gulping nation because of the famous Fosters beer Ads in the nineties, dubbing ‘Beer as Austraalia’, but a recent report by the Australian Bureau Of Statistics disclosed that beer consumption has been falling consistently since the 1960s, while consumption of wines and spirits has increased, with wine expected to equal the beer intake in another decade, as in the US.

Australia has been popular in India not only for Fosters beer but for its value-for-money mass-produced wines like Lindemans and Jacobs Creek for several years, as also a decent Shiraz producer, but not many know that Australians are drinking less beer now than in the past 61 years.

In a report titled ‘No Longer a Nation of Beer Drinkers’, the Australian Bureau of Statistics says that beer consumption has fallen gradually but consistently since the 1960s, while consumption of wines and spirits has increased.

In terms of volume, beer consumption for Australian adults peaked in 1948-49 at around 190 liters per person, but by 2008-09, it had decreased to 107 liters. At the start of the sixties, beer made up a whopping 76 % of alcohol consumption, but has fallen to 44 % in recent years, while wine consumption has increased from 12% to 36 %. Unfortunately, the consumption of hard liquor has nearly doubled to 20% during the same period.

The report noted that increased consumption was likely to have been affected by numerous factors including different age patterns in the population, increasing affluence and the growth of the Australian wine industry. A rise in the number of women drinkers was also responsible.

Continuing wine education since the seventies might be another reason. Australia boasts of some of the finest education centers and universities like Adelaide, in the world. Innovations and improvement in technologies, granting of tax credits earlier by the government for new plantings could also be a reason.

However, changing taxes and stricter driving-under the influence laws and the introduction of random breath testing are a few of the factors that could have cut consumption.

"Nobody drank wine in 1971," is a typical statement made by a Sydney resident who reportedly admits that if he is thirsty, he drinks beer but with dinner he always has wine. Although there is no substitute for water when you are thirsty, as any good Indian doctor or nutritionist would advise, beer has been perceived as a drink to quench thirst. Not only does wine not quench thirst, it can cause dehydration and it is not uncommon for knowledgeable wine lovers to keep a glass of water handy for occasional sips to ward off dehydration and the possible hangover.

However, beer still reigns supreme Down Under as the rapidly increasing wine consumption since the sixties peaked at mere 29 liters per person in 2006-07, and has been steady since. It is estimated that the consumption of the two of their most favourite alcoholic beverages of today would be same in another decade.

The report and commentary is surprisingly quiet about the health benefits of wine due to the anti-oxidants and whether this knowledge has helped improve the consumption.

       

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