AUSTRALIA is not be the beer-swilling nation it once was.
Figures released by the Australian Bureau of Statistics on Wednesday showed that while beer remained the most popular alcoholic beverage, our tastes appear to be swinging towards wine.
Of our alcoholic drinks available for consumption in 2011-12, beer contributed 41.2%, wine 37.8%, spirits 12.6%, ready-to-drink 6.8% and cider 1.7%.
But beer consumption was at its lowest point in 66 years while wine consumption increased, said Louise Gates from the ABS, .
In terms of pure alcohol available for consumption, beer was down 2.3% in 2011-12 compared with the previous year, while wine rose 1.9%.
The drop in beer consumption per person continued a downwards trend that started in the 1970s.
"Even so, that means that there are still 4.1 litres of pure alcohol available from beer for every person in Australia aged 15 years and over," Ms Gates said.
Australians over the age of 15 consumed 2.2 standard drinks per day, per person in 2011-12 - although this figure probably overestimated the true level of alcohol consumption because it did not take into account factors such as waste and the use of alcohol in cooking.
The figures, contained in Apparent Consumption of Alcohol, Australia 2011-12, also revealed Australians drank a little less alcohol overall for the second year in a row.
There were 183.5 million litres of pure alcohol available for consumption from alcoholic beverages in Australia in 2011-12 - a drop of 1.4 million litres compared to 2010-11 and 2.7 million litres in 2009-10.
There was also a 2.5% drop in ready-to-drink beverages, while spirits had the largest fall, down by a full 4%.
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