Beer drinkers buck 9-year decline in grog
Aussies are back on the grog, bucking a nine-year trend of declining alcohol consumption as the major players cash in on the growing quality over quantity segment of the market, according to new data.
IBISWorld’s latest numbers peg the amount of pure alcohol consumers by Aussies over 15 at 9.7 litres in 2015-16, up from 9.52 litres in 2014-15, with forecasts predicting another slight increase to 9.72 litres in 2017-18.
Its good news for craft beer brewers, who IBIS reckons have been spurring on growth in recent years, and great news for Coles and Woolies, who have increasingly been dipping the toe into the boutique side of the market.
“Craft beer’s popularity has been driven by consumers seeking variety and quality. An increasing number of small-scale craft breweries are opening to take advantage of changing consumer tastes, contributing to the expanding range of beers available in liquor retailers. Consumption of low-strength beer remained unchanged in 2015-16, while mid- and full-strength beer consumption grew,” IBIS’ senior industry analyst James Thomas said.
“Consumers are increasingly seeking artisan and high quality beverages, while also looking for authentic experiences, such as visiting small breweries, distilleries and cellar doors. This trend has contributed to strong revenue growth for many small-scale alcohol producers, such as craft breweries and boutique wineries.”
The Australian craft beer production industry is expected to further increase at an annualised 9.7% over the five years through 2017-18, outperforming the beer manufacturing industry, which is expected to grow at an annualised 2.1% over the same period.
Tempering optimism is the fact that consumption is lower among young adults, aged 15-24, and that the long-term trends plaguing the industry are set to continue, including an increasing interest in health consciousness, increased taxation of alcohol and anti-alcohol advocacy.
Cider’s popularity has experienced a boost though, with per capita consumption expected to grow at an annualised 13.3% over the five years through 2017-18. However, this segment still accounts for a small portion of total alcohol consumption.
“Cider has grown in popularity due to its image as a refreshing alternative to beer, aided by savvy marketing and promotion. Conversely, per capita spirits and RTD consumption has declined over the past five years,” said Thomson.
As for wine, it’s per capita consumption is expected to slide marginally over the five years through 2017-18. The declining popularity of fortified wines, particularly among younger consumers, has contributed to this decline. Wine consumption as a share of total per capita alcohol consumption has increased over the past decade, and is expected to represent 37.7% of total per capita consumption in 2017-18.
“Despite a decline in per capita wine consumption in Australia over the past five years, IBISWorld research highlights the growing popularity of Australian wines abroad. Strong export growth, particularly to Asia, is expected to drive the wine production industry’s performance over the next five years,” said Thomson.