Economic and demographic factors in Australian alcohol demand
In the last two decades, total (pure) alcohol consumption in Australia has declined by about 31% and currently it is at the same level as it was in the 1950s. Australians consumed about 10 litres of pure alcohol per person in 1982 and now the level has declined to about 7 litres of pure alcohol per person. During the last four decades, per capita beer consumption has reached a peak of 140 litres in 1975 and has fallen to a low 93 litres in 1999; wine consumption has increased four-fold while spirits consumption has stayed around the same level. This paper, using the Australian consumption data for beer, wine and spirits for the period 1956-1999, aims to explain the change in consumption patterns of beer, wine and spirits by considering the effects due to changes in economic and demographic factors. The results show that while income and prices significantly influence the consumption patterns of alcohol, the increasing Australian elderly population also plays an important role.