Source: The Mercury, 24 November, 1998, p.12

Aussies shout: light beer for us

guzzle a

in Canberra 
AUSTRALIAN drinkers 
knocked back 336 beers 
each on average last year 
and guzzled record quan- 
tities of light beer. 
New figures also reveal 
people are eating less meat 
and drinking more wine. 
Drinkers seem to be heed- 
ing the health message with 
one out of every four beers 
opened across the country 
now low-alcohol. 
Figures released yesterday 
by the Australian Bureau of 
Statistics show a continuing 
decline in full-strength beer 
People drank 24.9 litres of 
low-alcohol beer each on 
average last year, a rise of 
3.6%, while full-strength beer 
dropped by 2% to an average 
of 70.1 litres a person. 
Despite the change in pro- 
portions, overall beer con- 
sumption remained steady. 
The Aussie steak suffered 
slightly with the average per- 
son eating 1kg less meat than 
last year. 
Average consumption fell 
to 74.2kg a person with peo- 
ple turning away from beef 
and lamb and choosing to eat 
slightly more pig meat and 
poultry products. 
But Australians continued 
to change what they drank 
with their meat. 
In the past five years, light 
beer and wine consumption 
have increased while full- 
strength beer has fallen. 
Last year was no different 
with light beer consumption 
rising by nearly 4% and full- 
strength beer falling by 2%. 
The average Aussie of legal 
drinking age now enjoys 
126.4 litres of beer a year. 
Uncorking a bottle or open- 
ing a cask of wine is becoming 
more popular with average 
consumption rising to 26.2 
litres each. 
The respective figures 
equate to 336 cans of beer and 
260 glasses of wine for every 
legal Australian drinker. 
Other beverages showed 
only minor changes in de- 
mand. Soft drinks were less 
popular, dropping by nearly 
2%, and supermarket milk 
remained steady. 
This was despite powdered 
full-cream milk falling by 
nearly one-third to less than 
1kg a person and skim milk 
dropping by 20%. 
Tea continued to slide in 
popularity with consumption 
declining by 22.5% in the past 
five years. Tea drinkers may 
well be turning to coffee, 
which has increased by more 
than 4% in the same period. 
Butter sales jumped while 
table margarine dropped.

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