Beer is the latest food to be added to the growing list of foods that consumers can’t live without.
A survey of more than 1,000 Australians found that only one in five respondents were buying more beer than they used to.
What does this mean for Australians’ consumption of the drink?
Read moreThe findings come as alcohol is increasingly seen as an essential part of modern life, with Australians spending more than $10bn per year on booze and more than 80 per cent of the country’s adults drink more than one drink a week.
But while the demand for beer has grown, so has the price.
In 2018, beer was around the same price as a packet of biscuits, according to a Beer Market Report released in October.
The cost of buying a single 12-pack of beer is now around $6.75, with the average retail price for a 12-ounce beer in Australia is about $4.25.
The cost of a 12 pack of beer in 2017 was about $5.25, according the Beer Market report.
“The price of a single bottle of beer has gone up over the past year,” said the report’s co-author, Dr Michael Glynn.
“People are just consuming more and more and the prices are going up.”
Dr Glynn said that beer consumption had also risen over the last five years.
“We know that alcohol is a lot more expensive than other foodstuffs, so that has affected people’s willingness to eat less of it,” he said.
The beer boom is a new phenomenon, with many Australian cities seeing record-breaking beer sales.
The Beer Market reported that in Sydney, the average price for an 8.5-ounce bottle of ale was about 30 per cent higher than it was 10 years ago.
In Melbourne, the price for the equivalent bottle of a four-pack rose to almost 60 per cent more than it had been 10 years earlier.
“What we’ve seen is a shift away from buying beer for the sake of beer, and a shift towards buying beer to satisfy your alcohol needs,” Dr Glynn told the ABC.
Beer has also become a way to reduce costs, as well as to get in front of the crowd at sporting events.
Dr Glynnes report said people were now spending more time and money in restaurants than pubs.
“People are eating out more and are spending more and spending more,” he told the broadcaster.
“And they’re buying a bottle of wine or a bottle at a pub and then they’re going out and drinking a pint or two.”
But the big picture for Australians is a little different.
“In the last 10 years, we’ve had a lot of people with very high incomes,” Dr Matthew McConaghy, a professor of economics at the University of Melbourne, told the BBC.
“So it’s been a lot less beer consumed, but a lot was consumed on lower incomes, so it’s a bit more expensive.”
He said the cost of living had also changed.
“There’s a lot that’s gone on in the last few years, but overall, the cost is actually going down, so people are less likely to have beer consumed,” Dr McConahy said.
“And so they’re less likely [to have] it consumed when they’re out drinking with friends or having a social event.”
It’s not necessarily because of the cost, it’s just that people are spending less and less time and more money.
“I think that’s really important.”
The Australian Competition and Consumer Commission said in a statement that “most beer drinkers do not drink as much as they used at the time of survey”.
“While the increase in beer consumption may be due to the increase of restaurants and bars, there is no evidence to suggest that beer is a key driver of this trend,” the commission said.
Dr McConachy said the boom was a good thing for the economy.
“If you look at the average gross domestic product, it hasn’t been this good in years,” he explained.
Beer drinkers, who are not required to take alcohol-testing tests, have been finding out more about their health over the years.”
We have been spending a lot on things like public transport, which has helped keep up with population growth.”
Beer drinkers, who are not required to take alcohol-testing tests, have been finding out more about their health over the years.
Dr Jody Browning, the chair of the alcohol and drug committee of the Australian College of Surgeons, said that it was “not uncommon” for people to be surprised by their health after drinking beer.
“When I started my practice in 1992, the main thing I thought about was how many people I could save,” she said.
Dr Browning said that the new generation of Australian beer drinkers was getting older.
“You’ve got to look at that and say: ‘Why are we doing this?'”, she said, referring to the rise in alcohol-related hospitalisations.
“And we’ve been saying, we can’t just