Friday, October 11, 2013

Tea, coffee, wine and beer

In the early 1980s Kevin McClintock, one time CEO of McWilliam’s and, before that, sales and marketing director at Tucker Seabrook & Co, produced an interesting chart which showed the intersection point between the increase in the consumption of coffee, and the decrease in the consumption of tea. 1975 was the year of intersection, and McClintock suggested this marked the end of the dominant colonial influence and the increase in the European/continental influence.

In 1975 the consumption of beer so outweighed that of wine that a bar chart representation of the consumption figures was all but meaningless. But while for any number of reasons McClintock might not have been prepared to say that the same intersection for beer and wine would occur less than 40 years later, we are now approaching that point. While total consumption of alcohol has decreased significantly since 2008 (by 56 fewer standard drinks per year per person), beer has been on a long term downtrend, wine consumption on a long term uptrend. Thus in the period between 2008 and 2013, the average person is drinking 44 fewer standard drinks of beer than they were in 2008, with wine consumption increasing over the same period by seven standard drinks per person.

Beer still has its nose just in front, with 331 standard drinks per person per year, compared to 304 standard drinks of wine. Cider has been the upwards mover, but from a very small base.

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