‘Ready to drink’ alcohol consumption at record high as number of drinkers decline post lockdown

While Australia’s alcohol consumption has dropped from pandemic highs, use of ‘ready to drink’ beverages, known as RTD’s, has soared to a new record.

Roy Morgan’s recent Alcohol Consumption Report reveals 13,603,000 Australians aged over 18 consumed alcohol in an average four-week period, a drop of 1.8 per cent from Covid-rampant 2021.

RTD consumption has increased over the past 12 months, from 13.5 per cent of drinkers to 16.7 per cent – ​​an rise of 3.2 per cent, or 680,000 people.

Australian’s are drinking less than peak pandemic times. (A Current Affair)

Roy Morgan CEO Michele Levine said that pandemic drinking behaviors have proven short-lived, but that RTD drinkers kept at it, despite the ending of lockdowns.

“The extensive disruption to people’s day-to-day lives, and the restrictions on travel for most of this time, led to several changes of behaviour.”

“One of the most prominent was the increased consumption of alcohol during the pandemic years of 2020-21.”

Levine said that seltzers have contributed to the increase in popularity of the drink.

Wine remains the preferred alcohol for Australians to consume. (Getty)

“Hard seltzers’ began to hit the Australian market in significant numbers in 2019, just before the pandemic struck, and these newer alcoholic products are still attracting an increasing array of customers,” she said.

Wine remains the most popular alcohol, but the number of people having a glass has dropped from 9,237,000 to 8,938,000 over the year.

Beer drinkers have also cut back this year, with 2.3 per cent of people (428,000) saying no to rounds.

About 538,000 have given up spirits, with a 2.8 per cent drop since peak pandemic.

“Although the ‘big three’ alcohol types of wine, beer and spirits are all down on a year ago, the consumption of wine and spirits is still well above pre-pandemic levels,” warned Levine.

“The emerging trends suggest consumption of wine and spirits looks set to return to pre-pandemic levels while RTDs, and ‘hard seltzers in particular’ rise in significance and beer consumption continues its long-term decline.”