Beer lovers have been gathering for a toast over the proverbial campfire for millennia—forming a strong community that promotes closeness and overall well-being. Likewise, you’ve probably been out and about with friends or family at your local watering hole, enjoying life and improving your social ties. You’ve also won a trivia night or two with a pint in your hand! Right?
In the sections below, we’ll equip you with some amazing Australian beer market statistics to teach you all you need to know about the world’s most popular drink.
Care for a sip? Let’s get brewing!
Top Ten Beer Facts Lager Than Life
- Australia produced 16.1 million hectolitres of beer in 2019.
- The per capita consumption of full-strength beer was 64.4 litres in 2018.
- The overall price of beer in Sydney is $4.46.
- A total of 6,878,000 Aussies drank beer in 2020.
- A total of 294 independent breweries in Australia were registered as of June 2020.
- 85% of the beer sold in Australia is produced domestically.
- Almost 70% of Aussies buy their craft beer at specialist stores.
- Black Hops is the best-rated of all Australian craft beer breweries.
- Be Kind Rewind is the best craft beer in Australia for 2020.
- The Independent Brewers Association (IBA) launched its Independence Seal in May 2018.
General Beer Statistics
1. Australia produced 16.1 million hectolitres of beer in 2019.
Recent research reveals that the beer industry in Australia is definitely the biggest one in the Oceania region, with more than 16 million hectolitres of beer produced in 2019. In comparison, beer production in New Zealand—the second-biggest beer manufacturer in the area—was 2.95 million hectoliters. Finally, Papua-New Guinea placed third with 800 thousand hectoliters, followed by all other Oceania countries with a small fraction of the beer output.
2. 34.6% of Australians have consumed beer in an average four-week period in 2020.
The latest Australian beer market analysis conducted by Roy Morgan reveals valuable data about the current share of beer in the overall alcoholic beverages market. For example, the number of Australians who consume beer in an average month declined by 2.8% in 2020, from the 37.4% reported the previous year.
Despite this decline in Australian beer consumption, beer remains the second-most popular type of alcoholic beverage in Australia, with more than a third of Australians consuming it. However, the number of consumers purchasing spirits increased to 31.5% in 2020, and if this trend continues, they might overtake beer drinkers in 2021.
3. The per capita consumption of full-strength beer was 64.4 litres in 2018.
The most popular type of beer in Australia in 2018 was full-strength beer, with almost 65 litres consumed per capita. On the other hand, mid-strength and low-strength beers are significantly less appealing, with a yearly average of 18.75 and 4.41 litres consumed per person.
4. The overall price of beer in Sydney is $4.46.
(Wall Street Journal)
A recent Wall Street Journal study comparing the costs of beer worldwide revealed that beer prices in Australia are relatively high. For example, the average supermarket price of a Sydney beer is $2.37, while the bar cost is $6.56—somewhat above the median line of all surveyed cities.
Compared to Sydney, almost twenty out of 75 surveyed cities were found to be more expensive for beer drinkers. Geneva and Hong Kong are topping the charts with average beer prices of $6.32 and $6.16, respectively. Hong Kong had the highest bar prices, however, with $10.86 for an order of beer. The cheapest beers, on the other hand, can be found in Eastern Europe, in cities such as Kyiv, Kraków and Bratislava.
5. Bars and pubs are the consumers’ favourite beer takeaway spot.
According to data as recent as 2020, beer drinkers’ favourite takeaway spots are bars and pubs, where 41% of respondents buy craft beer in Australia. Restaurants closely follow with 12% of all votes. Conversely, only 4% and 3% of respondents answered they order beer at cafes and clubs, respectively.
However, with Aussies being the beer lovers that they are, each state has a favourite watering hole. Below are the best locales in which to enjoy a beer or two across Australia:
- New South Wales—The Grain Store
- ACT—Old Canberra Inn
- Victoria—Carwyn Cellars
- Tasmania—St. John Craft Beer Bar
- South Australia—Nola Adelaide
- Western Australia—Dutch Trading Co.
6. Radio Brews News was the most popular craft beer podcast in 2020.
The Australian brewery fandom has tons of hobbies. For example, 9% of craft beer lovers enjoy listening to beer podcasts. The most popular beer-related podcast was Radio Brews News in 2020—closely followed by Ale of a Time, Beer Healer Interviews, Black Hops Operation Brewery and Beer Cartel—The Inside World.
7. A total of 6,878,000 Aussies drank beer in 2020.
The number of Australian beer drinkers in 2020 amounted to almost 6.88 million, according to a recent Roy Morgan study. However, the latest data shows a significant decline in beer drinking since 2019, when over 7.4 million consumers purchased beer in Australia. Should the trend continue in 2021, spirit drinkers will surpass beer lovers by far.
8. 59% of Australians have been drinking craft beer for longer than six years.
The craft beer market in Australia has some of the most dedicated consumers worldwide, as demonstrated by a 2020 survey conducted with 17,000 respondents. Namely, around a third of craft beer consumers said they have been drinking this type of brew for 6 to 10 years, while 26% answered they have been consuming it for at least 11 years. By comparison, 2% of craft beer consumers have declared only a year of drinking experience, while 9% stated they have been imbibing it for 1 to 2 years.
9. 39% of craft beer lovers in 2020 were 30–39 years old.
The same Australian craft beer market statistics also show that almost two-fifths of craft beer drinkers are between 30 to 39 years of age, followed by 40 to 49-year olds with 26%. Moreover, the figures indicate that craft beer is not as popular with the younger generation—18 to 29—and with older consumers above 49 years of age, both of which are represented with a more or less equal share.
10. Australian men drink far more craft beer than women.
(Statista) (The Association for Consumer Research)
Craft beer in Australia is mainly enjoyed by men—a relatively steady trend that has not changed in the recent past. The 2020 survey reveals that 79% of craft beer drinkers were men, with the remaining 21%—women. The speculative reasons for this gender divide are possibly related to the association between masculinity and beer consumption.
11. New South Wales and Victoria comprise 54% of the total number of craft beer drinkers in Australia.
The Australian beer market share of New South Wales and Victoria is 27% each—more than half of all craft beer drinkers nationwide. Queensland also has a significant percentage of 24%, while the remaining five states share the remaining 23%. For example, the Northern Territory and Tasmania are insignificantly represented with 1% and 2%, respectively.
12. A total of 294 independent breweries in Australia were registered as of June 2020.
Recent research on the Australian beer industry shows that almost 300 indie breweries were operating countrywide in late 2020. Most of these Australian brewers were located in New South Wales—with 99 operational breweries. Victoria followed closely with 83 beer factories, while Queensland placed third with 47 independent breweries.
13. The Northern Territory and the Australian Capital Territory had the fewest independent breweries in 2020.
Although running independent breweries in Australia is the new trend in the beer world, not every state finds it popular. As of June 2020, only three independent breweries were in operation in both the Northern Territory and the ACT. Tasmania stands out with 13 independent breweries, followed by Western Australia with 20 and South Australia with 26.
14. Independent breweries supplied 5.9% of the total market volume in 2018/19.
Indie craft beer makers are a growing industry, according to the 2018/19 report by the Independent Brewers Association. For example, while the 2011 market volume share of Australian microbreweries was just over 1%, it grew to almost 6% in 2019. Moreover, the market volume percentage of indie beer grew by nearly 25% between 2017 and 2019.
15. 36.9% of the value share of craft beer comes from independent breweries.
Per the same IBA report, nearly 37% of the total value share of craft beer in 2018/19 came from indie Australian beer companies. On the other hand, major craft breweries held the 57.2% majority, while private labels comprised the rest.
16. 85% of the beer sold in Australia is produced domestically.
(Brewers Association of Australia)
According to the Australian Brewers Association, Aussies produce more than four-fifths of the beer they drink, with around $16 billion a year in economic activity. In addition to generating such a significant revenue, this vital sector also supports other major industries:
- Materials and packaging with $582 million
- Marketing and sales with $490 million
- Transport and freight with $281 million
- Ingredients/agriculture sector with $254 million
- Administration sector with $198 million
17. Beer production contributed $4.6 billion to the Australian economy in 2018.
The economic contribution of the beer industry in Australia amounted to $4,600 million during the 2018 fiscal year. Furthermore, the production of Queensland and Victorian beers resulted in the highest revenues by state—$1,765 million and $1,361 million, respectively. In comparison, beer factories in the Northern Territory and Tasmania contributed with a fraction of the total economic output, with $29 and $105 million each.
18. The Australian beer industry employed 102,820 workers in 2018.
In 2018, almost 103,000 employees had full-time jobs in various areas of the beer industry in Australia. While most were working in restaurants, cafes, pubs and clubs (46,820), nearly the same number of workers were employed by other types of retailers and related businesses (43,440). The various beer manufacturing sectors directly engaged the remainder (12,560).
19. The production costs for a 24-pack of 330ml beer bottles amounted to around $40 in 2020.
The cost to produce craft beer in Australia differs among various breweries, and they are calculated based on several factors. For instance, Black Hops—an independent Australian brewery—has recently calculated their production costs for a 24-pack of 330ml to around $40. These calculations include basic expenses only, without potential profit margins and bottle shop markup charges.
Per Black Hops’ estimates, the most expensive link in the production chain is the canning, which costs them $9,547 per batch of pale ale (1,500 cartons). On the other hand, ingredients (grains, hops, yeast, and others) cost $5,613 per batch, while wages amounted to $1,085. After adding packaging and warehousing costs of $1,185, the total production expenses added up to $17,430 per batch of pale ale, or $39.75 per 24-pack carton.
20. Great Northern Brewing was the most sold beer in Australia in 2019, with a 12% market share.
A 2019 survey examining the beer sales in Australia by brand revealed that both Great Northern Brewing and Carlton were the country’s most popular commercial beers—each with a 12% representation of the total market share. The third- and fourth-most-popular beers for that year were XXXX with 9.2% and Victoria Bitter with 7.3% market share apiece.
21. The least sold commercial beers in Australia for 2019 were Furphy and Iron Jack.
The same Australian beer market analysis revealed that Furphy and Iron Jack had the smallest market share with 1.7% and 1.8%, respectively. Other less popular beers included the following:
- Peroni (Asahi)—1.8%
- Asahi (Asahi)—1.9%
- Heineken (CUB)—1.9%
- James Squire (Lion)—2.1%
- Pure Blonde (CUB)—2.3%
This survey did not cover the remaining 23% of the Australian beer market—composed of various craft beer and other brands.
22. In 2019, CUB was the most dominant beer manufacturer in Australia.
The discount segment of the Australian beer market was dominated by two leading breweries in 2019—Carlton United Breweries (CUB) with a 53% share, and the Kirin Group with a 47% share. Furthermore, CUB manufactured over 50% of the most popular mainstream beers as well. However, the remaining mainstream beer brands were produced in more or less equal part by the Kirin Group (27%) and other breweries (22%).
23. CUB is also a significant premium and super-premium beer producer.
CUB also holds the largest Australian beer market share of the premium and super-premium beer market segments. However, while CUB dominates the beer market in every section, the Kirin Group only has a significant presence in the premium beer market segment with a share of 29%.
24. 39% of Australians spent $26–$50 per week on beer in 2020.
The latest figures on beer sales in Australia reveal that almost 40% of Aussies spend a maximum of $50 a week on beer, while around a third said they have beer expenses between $51 and $100. Conversely, 17% of the respondents declared that their weekly spend on beer does not exceed $25, while around a tenth answered they splurge over $100 on beer every week.
25. Almost 90% of Australians consumed pale ale in 2020.
The same Australian beer market analysis also compared the popularity of different beer styles, revealing that the best selling beers in Australia are of the pale ale or extra pale ale variety. While almost 90% of all respondents said they purchased a pale ale or XPA beer in 2020, a significant percentage (84%) said they also bought an India pale ale or a double IPA beer.
26. Over half of Australian beer drinkers said they consumed lager and golden ale beers in 2020.
Australian lager beers and the golden ale variety are the less popular choices for beer lovers. For example, 58% of Beer Cartel’s 2020 survey said they consumed lager beers, while almost the same number (56%) said they also drink golden ales. However, the least popular choices were pilsners (50%) and sour beers (48%).
27. 84% of consumers purchase craft beer at mainstream liquor stores.
When asked where they buy craft beer in Australia, almost 85% of the 2020 Beer Cartel survey answered they obtain it at mainstream liquor stores. The majority said they obtain it weekly (22%), fortnightly (23%), or monthly (23%). The remainder said they purchase craft beer rarely—between every 2 to 3 months or once a year.
28. Almost 70% of Aussies buy their craft beer at specialist stores.
A large number of Aussies also utilized the services of specialist craft beer stores to find the best craft beer in Australia. Consumers who shop at craft beer stores mostly do so weekly (18%), monthly (18%), or fortnightly (17%).
29. The least favourite craft beer vendors are craft breweries and online stores.
In addition to the aforementioned beer purchasing spots, Australian beer lovers also buy their craft beers at:
- Craft breweries—59% of consumers (19% monthly, 15% every 2-3 months, 11% fortnightly, and 8% weekly)
- Online—38% of consumers (12% every 2-3 months, 10% monthly, 7% every six months, and 3% weekly)
Craft Beer Consumer Perspective
30. Black Hops is the best-rated of all Australian craft beer breweries.
Black Hops sells the best craft beer in Australia, according to respondents of the latest Beer Cartel survey. Black Hops overtook Stone & Wood (4th place), Bentspoke (3rd place), and Balter (2nd place) to take the top spot for the first time ever. Another craft brewery worthy of mention is Deeds, since it jumped 114 spots to take 5th place.
31. Be Kind Rewind is the best craft beer in Australia for 2020.
According to a March 2021 study, Be Kind Rewind was voted the top-rated craft beer in Australia with a score of 4.27 out of 5. Survivor Type and Once more Into The Fray share second place with a score of 4.2., while Tusk was rated third. The other high-rated Australian craft beers are listed below:
- Relax I’m A Regular Here—4.18
- Clout Stout—4.16
- Double Juice Train—4.16
- Citra Feels—4.16
- Viper Pit—4.15
32. Heineken had the best quality score in Australia for 2019.
Among all beers sold on the Australian beer market, beer drinkers associated Heineken with the highest quality, according to an April 2019 survey. The quality score ranges from -100 to 100 since the negative feedback is subtracted from the positive. Following Heineken’s score of 27.8 is Corona with a score of 24.4 and Stella Artois with 18.1. The other beer brands linked with high quality include:
- Little Creatures—15.6
- James Squire—14.4
- Great Northern—13.9
33. Carlton Draught received the highest value for money score in 2019.
The same survey about the top-selling beers in Australia also asked consumers which beer is the best value for money. Aussies voted Carlton Draught as the best offering with a score of 12.6. Heineken placed second with a score of 10.8, while Great Northern took third place with a score of 9.3. The remaining seven spots on the top ten list are as follows:
- Stella Artois—5.6
- Pure Blonde—4.9
34. 38% of customers prefer craft beer in cans in Australia.
Recent research on the shopping habits of craft beer drinkers reveals that almost 40% of them prefer their craft beer in cans. On the other hand, 27% answered they purchase their Australian beer in bottles, while the remaining 35% remained neutral.
35. Convenience is the number one reason why Aussies prefer alcohol delivery services.
Many Australians also purchase their beer products via delivery services for a variety of reasons, ranging from online discounts to no time to buy in person. For instance, 31% of consumers who answered a 2020 survey about the reasons to use alcohol deliveries said that they prefer the convenience of product delivery delivered straight to their door. Over a quarter also said that it was simply cheaper to buy in bulk via the internet and that alcohol delivery is the better value for money.
36. The chance to try new beers is the key to a great beer festival.
Beer Cartel’s 2019 survey about the drinking trends of craft beer in Australia also reveals the main reasons consumers attend beer festivals. Almost 90% of respondents said the opportunity to try new beers is the main appeal of beer festivals. Almost two-thirds of beer drinkers also stated that festivals offer great food and an overall value for money. On the other hand, entertainment events (6%) and non-beer drink options (7%) were voted as the least important reasons to attend beer festivals.
37. The Independent Brewers Association (IBA) launched its Independence Seal in May 2018.
Motivated by the latest Australian beer market analysis, which revealed that almost every beer drinker is happy to buy from independent Australian brewers, the IBA launched their Independence Seal in May 2018. The association’s seal has been designed to distinguish home-owned smaller breweries from large multinational corporations. This emblem is displayed on the packaging of all eligible independent breweries in Australia who apply for it.
38. The total number of IBA members is currently 570.
(Independent Brewers Association)
Established to provide a voice to the indie breweries in Australia, the Independent Brewers Association currently has 570 members—385 of which are brewery members, 100 are associate members, and the remainder are supporter members.
39. Awareness of the IBA Independence Seal grew to 60% in 2020.
Almost two-thirds of consumers of craft beer in Australia answered that they are aware of the existence of the IBA seal, up 19% from 2019 and 27% from 2018. The significant improvement in these figures is expected to drive increased sales of homemade craft beer in the years to come.
40. 82% of respondents to a 2020 survey know what independent beer is.
The 2020 edition of the annual Beer Cartel survey asked respondents if they know what ‘independent beer’ means. Compared to previous years, the consumer perception of independent Aussie beer brands has improved greatly. For instance, more than 80% (up 4% than the previous year) of beer drinkers said that ‘independent beer’ is a type of beer produced by independent breweries. Other descriptors that surged in votes include the following:
- Crafted, not manufactured—with 55% (up 7%)
- Australian made and owned—with 53% (up 10%)
- Supports small businesses—with 52% (up 10%)
- A better quality beer—42% (up 14%)
41. 52% of Aussies aware of the Independent Brewers Seal say they try to buy beers that carry it as often as possible.
More than half of Australian beer lovers who buy craft beer in Australia answered they are motivated to purchase Aussie beer brands with the seal since independent brewers need the consumer’s support to continue improving the quality of their beers. Similarly, around 9% of the respondents said they are strongly influenced to buy beers with the seal exclusively. The remaining 39%, on the other hand, answered that they are under small or no influence to seek out IBA branded beers.
42. Over two-thirds of craft beer drinkers purchase their beer in six-packs.
(Statista) (Beer Cartel)
When asked about their preferred packaging option when getting craft beer in Australia, 68% of consumers answered they mostly purchase six-packs, while 54% said they also get cases of 24 beers. Conversely, cases of 16 (42%) and four-pack packaging (38%) were the less popular packaging formats for beer drinkers.
43. 52% of beer drinkers bought core range beers weekly or fortnightly.
After analyzing the 2019 craft beer trends, Beer Cartel reported that over half of the existing customers prefer buying core range beers on a weekly or fortnightly basis, while more than a third buy them monthly or every few months.
As for new and limited-release beers, consumers are less willing to try them on a regular basis. For example, only 26% answered they are eager to buy a limited or new Australian beer every week or twice a month. New craft beers are instead purchased on a monthly basis or once every few months.
44. Over 55% of core range beers are purchased in four- or six-packs.
Owing to their already-established reputation, core range beers are generally purchased in larger packaging formats such as four- or six-packs (56%) and by the case (37%). In contrast, new beers have not yet gained the confidence of beer lovers. Therefore, they are obtained in singles (47%) and as four- or six-packs (47%).
45. Beer lovers express primarily positive attitudes towards the release of new beer products.
Beer connoisseurs are generally excited when a new craft beer in Australia hits the market. Per the 2019 Beer Cartel survey, more than two-thirds of craft beer drinkers believe that new releases show the creativity of breweries, whereas 63% think they can always find something new and exciting to try. Almost half of all respondents also said they enjoy sharing new beers with others.
On the other hand, only a fraction of the surveyed consumers expressed negative attitudes towards new craft beer releases. For instance, only 5% believe that new beer products will reduce the overall beer quality and the profitability of Australian craft beer breweries.
46. The majority of beer drinkers are enthusiastic about the current direction of Australia’s craft breweries.
When questioned about the evolution of Australian craft beers, 85% of consumers were eager to see where craft beer is heading. On the other hand, 76% believe that beer lovers need to support the breweries’ core ranges so that independent brewers can survive the market. Two-thirds of respondents also said they enjoy trying out the latest craft beer trends.
Covid-19 Impact on the Craft Beer Market
47. Support for Australian craft beers has increased since the start of Covid-19.
Public awareness about the impact of Covid-19 on the craft beer market in Australia has resulted in overwhelming support for the country’s independent breweries. For example, 93% of the respondents of Beer Cartel’s 2020 survey have answered that independent Australian brewers need the consumer’s support more than ever.
48. More and more Australians have been purchasing craft beer during Covid-19.
The beer industry in Australia has been affected by the socio-economic changes resulting from the Covid-19 pandemic, as evident by the various shifts in the national drinking trends. For instance, an enormous net change of 30% has been recorded in favour of purchasing local-made craft beer instead of international and/or mainstream beer.
49. The Australian beer market saw increased overall spending of 13% on beer products during the Covid-19 lockdowns.
During April–May 2020, the purchase behaviour of beer drinkers was significantly affected. While 40% of beer lovers increased their beer consumption, 27% said their weekly beer expenses decreased. The total net adjustment amounted to a 13% increase in beer consumption in Australia for the peak Covid-19 month after taking into account the unchanged shopping habits of the remaining 33%.
50. In April 2020, Australian brewers produced 44% less in beer volume than the same period of the prior year.
Breweries in Australia worked at almost half their capacity for April 2020 and reported a value decrease of 55%. However, both beer production and expected value started improving in May 2020 with a volume decrease of 19% and a value reduction of 26%—compared to the 2019 figures.
51. In April 2020, 64% of consumers chose where to buy craft beer in Australia based on convenience.
Almost two-thirds of Australia’s beer lovers picked a beer store that was close and convenient for shopping during the peak Covid-19 period. Nearly half of all respondents said that an extensive product range is also an important factor when deciding on a beer shop. The following list outlines the other main factors that helped consumers choose their destination for beer in Australia during the Covid-19 lockdowns:
- They’re my favourite—35%
- They’re local—34%
- Ease of purchase—31%
- Store/Venue location—28%
- Existing customer—26%
- Delivery cost—18%
52. Online sales spiked by 18% during the Covid-19 peak.
To get their steady supply of Aussie beer brands throughout the peak Covid-19 period, consumers turned to online stores, increasing their sales traffic by almost 20%. However, this shopping trend did not continue past the lockdown—dropping to only a 1% increase, similar to the pre-Covid-19 shopping habits.
Meanwhile, the same report showed that beer lovers lost confidence in mainstream liquor stores, with a 1% sales decrease during peak Covid-19 and a 7% reduction afterwards. Specialist craft beer stores didn’t experience any changes during the lockdown period, but saw a 1% increase in beer sales after the peak.
53. Covid-19 has significantly increased the frequency of online beer sales in Australia.
Purchasing commercial and craft beer in Australia via the internet has become a new favourite pastime activity for Aussies. Due to the restrictions and general precautions imposed by Covid-19, 53% of beer drinkers said that they had purchased beer online between April and September 2020. Before Covid-19, on the other hand, that percentage was no higher than 38%.
An increasing number of beer lovers obtain both commercial and craft beer in Australia via online stores. For instance, 28% of respondents said they had purchased beer from major brewery websites—an increase of 14% from the previous year. Similarly, craft breweries saw increased traffic through their speciality websites, selling their products to 27% of all surveyed beer drinkers, up from 19% in 2019.
By reading the above facts and stats, you’ve surely learned that Aussies love drinking beer. Despite the restrictions imposed due to Covid-19, beer lovers continued to enjoy their beer drinking pastime by ordering from online beer markets and various delivery services. The country’s brew bros and girls have also shown increased support for home-based Australian microbreweries, believing they offer superior taste and quality over commercial beer.
The Australian beer market is expected to stabilize as the nation continues to recover from the effects of the pandemic. Independent brewers will also continue thriving thanks to the emergence of new drinking trends that see the adventurous Aussie try out many new home-brewed beers. We hope that these Australian beer market statistics have encouraged you to buy local the next time you go out for a pint or two! You won’t regret it.
- Beer Cartel
- Beer Cartel
- Beer Cartel
- Beverage Daily
- Black Hops
- Brewers Association of Australia
- Independent Brewers Association
- Roy Morgan
- The Association for Consumer Research
- Wall Street Journal