Immigration linked to drinking dry spell

From The Australian: ASIAN and Muslim immigration has diluted Australia’s drinking culture, with alcohol consumption crashing to its lowest level in 17 years. Beer drinking has halved since the mid-1970s and is at its lowest level since the end of World War II, the Australian Bureau of Statistics revealed yesterday. The average Australian aged 15 or older knocked back 93 litres of beer and 29 litres of wine in 2012-13. Average beer consumption was 81 litres in 1945-46 but peaked at 192 litres in 1974-75. Wine consumption, at 5.7 litres per person in 1945-46, has hovered around 30 litres per annum over the past three years. Total consumption of alcohol has fallen for the sixth consecutive year to a 17-year low of 9.88 ­litres of pure alcohol per person — equivalent to 2.2 standard drinks a day. Brewers Association chief executive Denita Wawn blamed the downturn in part on rainy summers that put a dampener on backyard barbecues. She said beer drinkers were “choosing quality over quantity’’, spending more on boutique labels but drinking less. “There is no doubt the economic downturn did cause a decline in spending and also, with the recent wet summers, people haven’t been going out to parties and barbecues as often,’’ she said. Michael Livingston, of the Nat­ional Drug and Alcohol Research Centre at the University of NSW, said growing immigration from Muslim and Asian countries had increased the number of teetotallers and light drinkers. Binge drinking was still a problem, he said, with 10 per cent of drinkers consuming half the ­nation’s alcohol. “There’s certainly been an increase in the number of people not drinking over the last decade, particularly among young ­people,’’ he said. “Heavy drinkers are still drinking as heavily as they did 10 years ago but moderate and light drinkers have cut back. “More people have come from a multicultural background where drinking is not so widespread.’’ Winemakers Federation acting chief executive Peter Gniel said the drop in drinking showed Australians were choosing more expensive wines. Article Source:

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