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Trouble a-brewin’? Australian beer on the decline

Source: Roy Morgan Single Source (Australia), Australians 18+ Oct 2009 – Sept 2013 average n = 18,834.
Over the last five years, the proportion of Australians aged 18+ who consume local beer in an average four-week period has declined by four percentage points, while consumption of imported beer is on the rise.

A recent study by Roy Morgan Research has revealed that the beer-drinking public’s preferences are changing — with an increasing number of Australian adults turning their backs on locally produced beer. In the year to September 2013, 35% of Australians aged 18+ drank Australian beer in an average four weeks, down from 39% in the year to September 2009. Over the same period, the proportion of Australians who drank imported beer in any given four weeks grew from 14% to 17%.

This development coincides with a shift in our attitude towards local beers. As of September 2013, just 13% of Aussie drinkers agreed that ‘Australian beer is the only beer worth drinking’ — whereas this figure sat at 18% in 2009.

Local beer suffered its biggest fall from favour among the 18–25 age bracket. In the year to September 2009, 43% of them drank local beer in an average four-week period, but this had fallen to 35% by 2013. Meanwhile, 28% drank imported beer in an average four weeks in 2013, increasing from 23% in 2009.

Beer types consumed by Australians 18+ in an average 4 week period


Source: Roy Morgan Single Source (Australia), Australians 18+ Oct 2009 – Sept 2013 average n = 18,834.

Geoffrey Smith, General Manager Consumer Products, Roy Morgan Research, says:

A key differentiator in type of beer consumed is age, with those aged under 25 showing a greater preference for imported beers than those aged 25 and over. However, imported beer isn’t the only alcoholic beverage gaining ground with this demographic: cider consumption has sky-rocketed among young drinkers since 2009 (from 6.8% to 21.3%).

“As new young drinkers come of age, it will be interesting to see if this move towards imported beer continues to gain ground.

“While there’s no single reason behind the overall decline in local beer consumption, Australia’s consistently strong dollar means the price difference between imported and Aussie beers has come down; plus imported beers are more widely available than ever.

“According to Roy Morgan’s revolutionary new classification system, Helix Personas, it’s the Metrotechs, communities of educated, urban professionals, who are most likely to drink imported beers. Today’s Families (young, outer-suburban families on the up-and-up) is the Helix community most likely to drink local beers.

“It’s crucial for our local brewers to have a detailed understanding not only of who their customers are but also of how they differ from imported-beer drinkers. This will ensure they retain their edge in this increasingly competitive market.

View our extensive range of Beer Profiles in our online store, including the Premium/Imported Beer Drinkers Profile and more; or visit the Helix Personas website to learn how this ground-breaking product can help your business.

For comments or more information please contact:

Geoffrey Smith, General Manager, Consumer Products
Telephone: +61 (2) 9021 9100

About Roy Morgan Research

Roy Morgan Research is the largest independent Australian research company, with offices in each state of Australia, as well as in New Zealand, the United States and the United Kingdom. A full service research organisation specialising in omnibus and syndicated data, Roy Morgan Research has over 70 years’ experience in collecting objective, independent information on consumers.

In Australia, Roy Morgan Research is considered to be the authoritative source of information on financial behaviour, readership, voting intentions and consumer confidence. Roy Morgan Research is a specialist in recontact customised surveys which provide invaluable and effective qualitative and quantitative information regarding customers and target markets.

Margin of Error

The margin of error to be allowed for in any estimate depends mainly on the number of interviews on which it is based. Margin of error gives indications of the likely range within which estimates would be 95% likely to fall, expressed as the number of percentage points above or below the actual estimate. Allowance for design effects (such as stratification and weighting) should be made as appropriate.

Sample Size

Percentage Estimate


25% or 75%

10% or 90%

5% or 95%