Australian Grape & Wine takes an evidence-based and balanced approach in its work relating to alcohol and health issues, focusing on targeted policy interventions to address harmful alcohol consumption.
We were therefore disappointed by a recent Foundation for Alcohol Research and Education (FARE) report into drinking during the Covid-19 pandemic, which sought to tie an increase in the value of retail sales of alcohol with an increase in the overall amount of alcohol consumed in Australia.
While retail sales did increase during the course of the pandemic, this occurred in the context of the widespread and lengthy closure of businesses in the on-premise environment (eg. restaurants, pubs, cafes and clubs across the country), which clearly saw a significant reduction in sales through these channels.
Indeed, in the context of Covid-19, a recent ANU report indicated that:
And this occurred in the context of the positive trends Australia has seen in recent decades in relation to alcohol. The primary independent source for alcohol and health data is the Australian Institute of Health and Welfare (AIHW). The AIHW data tells us that:
Clearly, there is more work to do to reduce harmful alcohol consumption in Australia, but it’s imperative that we get the facts right when considering these issues.