Data from alcohol producers and recent Commonwealth Bank credit card analysis show that overall alcohol consumption in Australia is lower than it was at the same time last year due to pubs, bars, clubs and restaurants closing. This refutes research put out today conducted by YouGov that was commissioned by the Foundation for Alcohol Research and Education (FARE).
Mr Andrew Wilsmore, Chief Executive Officer for Alcohol Beverages Australia said today “The YouGov poll was conducted at a snapshot in time when there was concerns bottleshops would close. Once Governments assured supply and access to bottleshops, there has been a return to more normal trading, but that has not made up for the total loss of sales from pubs, bars, clubs and restaurants.
“We urge greater caution in equating an increase in packaged liquor or home-delivery sales to many Australians drinking to excess while at home during this crisis.
“Our beer, wine and spirits producing members are all telling us that sales lost through ‘on-premise’ pubs, bars, clubs and restaurants has only marginally been made up for by an increase in packaged retail liquor sales.
“Indications are that overall sales and volume loss range from 10-30%, with many small producers even more severely impacted as they are unable to access the retail channel or have had to close their cellar/brewery/distillery door,” Mr Wilsmore said.
This data is supported by recent Commonwealth Bank1 report analysing credit card transactions. Overall alcohol sales were down 10% on the previous year in week ending 3 April, and 13% less for the week ending 10 April.
Mr Wilsmore said “It is also important to understand that consumption doesn’t necessarily occur shortly after the time of purchase for packaged liquor sales, but normally occurs over a considerably longer period of time.
“In time, I’d anticipate that we’ll learn that the trend towards moderation and premiumisation that has occurred over the last two decades has been maintained.
“Organisations like FARE have a responsibility to contribute to an informed debate and not use the coronavirus crisis as an excuse to implement their favoured draconian restrictions on alcohol marketing and service delivery.
“During the covid19 crisis, Governments have relied upon science in order to inform its policy responses rather than assumptions. We should extend that same thoroughness to any other health related issues, and not cherry-pick data from a snapshot in time at the height of concerns over potential bottleshop closures.
Audio: Overall alcohol consumption is down – Andrew Wilsmore, Alcohol Beverages Australia, 16 April 2020.
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