Aaron Vaughan, Joe Sidoti and Duncan Ashman enjoy low-alcohol beer at Bar Cleveland, Surry Hills. Picture: Justin Lloyd
Aaron Vaughan, Joe Sidoti and Duncan Ashman enjoy low-alcohol beer at Bar Cleveland, Surry Hills. Picture: Justin Lloyd

Aussies easing off the booze

AUSTRALIANS are shunning their hard-drinking image and becoming a nation of teetotallers who are increasingly turning to low and non-alcoholic beverages at record levels.

Non-alcoholic beer sales have jumped 57 per cent to $35.5 million over the past five years, having been driven by zero-alcohol beer Birell - made by Coopers - and the German beer Bitburger Drive.

Over the same period, the average alcohol consumption in Australia has dropped from 157.5 litres per person to 153 litres last year, with mid-strength beer sales also skyrocketing.

Aaron, left, said he drinks mid-strength beer so he can socialise longer. Picture: Justin Lloyd
Aaron, left, said he drinks mid-strength beer so he can socialise longer. Picture: Justin Lloyd

The statistics, from Euromonitor International's Alcoholic Drinks In Australia report, predicts non-alcoholic beer brewing in Australia will quadruple from two million litres in 2003 to 12 million litres by 2022.

Mid-strength beer has become one of the fastest-growing industry segments as a share of revenue over the past five years, with IBISWorld stats showing it now comprises 14.1 per cent of the beer market.

Nielsen research shows the shift towards lighter beers and teetotal-friendly drinks is being put down to Millennials aged 18 to 34 who are opting for healthier choices, better value for money and reputations.

"Sixty-two per cent of millennial drinkers will purposefully avoid buying a product or service from a specific company, because of concerns about its impact on the environment," Nielsen Consumer & Media associate director Sonia Marine told The Saturday Telegraph.

"In addition, Millennials look for value but they also rate health factors such as low carb, low calories, vitamin-fortified and organic as very important."

Nielsen's survey data shows during a calendar month 53 per cent of Millennials drink alcohol, compared to 72 per cent of Baby Boomers - with the "baby boozers" category aged 55 and over preferring a tipple due to higher disposable incomes.

Mainstream beer brands including Asahi, Becks and Heineken now make no-alcohol brews while Edenvale Wines makes only alcohol-free wines.

Builder Aaron Vaughan said he drank mid-strength beer so he could socialise for longer.