New, official data1 from the Australian Bureau of Statistics (ABS) today confirms the vast majority (85.6%) of Australians are drinking responsibly during the pandemic shutdown – either unchanged behaviour or drinking less during COVID-19.
Mr Andrew Wilsmore, Chief Executive Officer of Alcohol Beverages Australia, said today,
“Beer, wine and spirit producers are reporting volume declines of between 10 and 35%, which has clearly translated into Australians drinking less overall, and the sad reality of close to half a million jobs being lost in hospitality.
“The ABS data shows that 28.9% of Australians are largely abstaining or not consuming alcohol; 47.1% are drinking the same; and 9.5% are drinking less. Only 14.4% of Australians reported that their drinking had increased.
“Despite the headlines generated from a single-day of early panic buying, Australians have less occasions to drink.
The majority of Australians have not replaced the beverage they previously enjoyed with a restaurant meal, the after-work drink, the late-night cocktail with increased at-home drinking occasions.
“DrinkWise has and continues to educate2 the community about the need to moderate when enjoying a drink, particularly in the current environment as Australians self-isolate.
“Reports from recently re-opened hospitality venues are all positive for Australia’s drinking culture, with venues reporting customers as well behaved and enjoying a drink as part of the pleasure of re-socialising with family, friends and colleagues,” Mr Wilsmore said.
It is disappointing that organisations like the Foundation for Alcohol Research & Education (FARE) have seized upon a single day of panic buying to suggest Australians are at home drinking at harmful levels, and sought to use this as an excuse to seek to implement their favoured draconian restrictions on alcohol marketing and service delivery.
FARE’s claims3 that 70% of Australians are drinking more alcohol than normal have clearly been shown to be wrong.
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