Cheap beer no longer the booze of choice
Premium tipple: Olivia White enjoys a cocktail at Salt House. Picture: MARC McCORMACK.
WE'RE drinking less, but Aussies are still on a $33 billion-a-year alcohol binge.The nation's traditional beer-guzzling image is officially losing froth, giving way to a growing premium booze-sipping set prepared to pay for quality.
Consumers are now leaning towards more expensive lagers, wine and cider, says Olivia White, marketing manager of Salt House in Cairns.
"The two-for-one drink specials don't really interest me any more, I'd rather drink at a nicer venue and pay a bit more," the Cairns resident said.
"People come here for a premium product, and if we don't have them then they get upset."
Ms White said men were moving towards beer brands such as Peroni or Stella Artois, while the older men tended to prefer scotch "on the rocks".
As for the women, they don't mind a tipple of premium spirits, which includes paying higher prices for cocktails.
About $17.2 billion will be spent at bottle shops this financial year, compared with $15.9 billion in pubs and bars, business analyst IBISWorld predicts.
However, alcohol consumption is predicted to drop to 9.8 litres per person this year, down from 10.6 litres six years ago, as more people heed health warnings.
Changing tastes are expected to continue to flatten beer sales, which are set to slip from 37.1 per cent to 32.5 per cent of market share over the next five years as drinkers favour wine and cider.