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Australians’ drinking habits distilled into 100 glasses

Source: Roy Morgan Single Source (Australia), January–December 2015 (n=15,676). Base: Australians 18+

In any given four-week period last year, Australian adults drank just over 426 million glasses of alcohol between them, the latest data from Roy Morgan Research reveals. While this may seem like an ocean of liquor at first glance, it actually translates to an average 23 glasses per person per four weeks.

But how much of that is beer, how much is wine and how much is spirits? As we revealed recently, a higher proportion of Australians 18+ drink wine than beer in an average four weeks, but that doesn’t necessarily mean that a greater volume of wine than beer is consumed. In fact, the reverse is true: although a lower proportion of people drink beer than wine (37.6% vs 45.1%), they drink more of it!

For every 100 glasses of liquor consumed by Aussies in an average four weeks, 48 glasses are beer, 25 are still wine, 11 are spirits, six are Ready-To-Drink, four are sparkling wine/Champagne, three are cider, two are liqueur and one is fortified wine.

The 100-glass breakdown: number of glasses of each alcoholic beverage consumed per 100

Source: Roy Morgan Single Source (Australia), January–December 2015 (n=15,676). Base: Australians 18+

Comparing the 100-glass breakdown between different age groups reveals some striking variations. For example, the beer component comprises 50 glasses out of each 100 consumed by the 18-24 year-old-age bracket, but only 42 among drinkers aged 65 and over.

Wine, on the other hand, accounts for 48 of every 100 glasses drunk by the 65+ demographic: 42 being still wine, four being sparkling/Champagne, and two being fortified. This is substantially more than any other age group: in fact, the number of glasses of wine consumed per 100 increases in proportion with age.

Young drinkers aged 18-24 years also consume more spirits (16 glasses), RTD (also 16 glasses) and cider (three glasses) per average 100 glasses than any other age group.

Andrew Price, General Manager – Consumer Products, Roy Morgan Research, says:

“By breaking down Australian alcohol consumption data into each 100 glasses drunk in an average four weeks, we get an instant understanding of the relative volume consumed of each beverage. Especially striking is the fact that although a higher proportion of Aussie adults drink wine, those who drink beer consume it in greater volumes.

“It is also interesting to apply the 100-glass breakdown to specific groups, such as age brackets, as described above. Comparing volumes consumed between drinkers from different socio-economic circumstances can also be interesting. Beer consumption varies dramatically between the top, high-value AB socio-economic quintile of the population (who drink 45 glasses of beer per average 100 glasses of alcohol) and the lowest, least wealthy FG quintile (57 glasses of beer consumed for every 100 glasses of booze).

“Not surprisingly, the quantities of different beverages consumed by Aussie women and men per 100 glasses vary significantly. While beer accounts for 60 of every 100 glasses drunk by men (compared to 19 for women), women drink greater volumes of almost all the other beverages.

“Alcohol manufacturers and brands seeking to understand how their particular beverage slots in with their target market’s overall consumption would benefit from the kind of holistic insights that only Roy Morgan Research Single Source data can provide.”

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About Roy Morgan

Roy Morgan is the largest independent Australian research company, with offices throughout Australia, as well as in Indonesia, the United States and the United Kingdom. A full service research organisation specialising in omnibus and syndicated data, Roy Morgan has over 70 years’ experience in collecting objective, independent information on consumers.

Margin of Error

The margin of error to be allowed for in any estimate depends mainly on the number of interviews on which it is based. Margin of error gives indications of the likely range within which estimates would be 95% likely to fall, expressed as the number of percentage points above or below the actual estimate. Allowance for design effects (such as stratification and weighting) should be made as appropriate.

Sample Size

Percentage Estimate


25% or 75%

10% or 90%

5% or 95%