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Drinking Contexts and Alcohol Consumption: How Much Alcohol Is Consumed in Different Australian Locations?

Callinan S, Livingston M, Room R, Dietze P

  • Journal Journal of studies on alcohol and drugs

  • Published 02 Aug 2017

  • Volume 77

  • ISSUE 4

  • Pagination 612-9

  • DOI 10.15288/jsad.2016.77.612


The aim of this study was to examine where Australians in different demographic groups and drinker categories consume their alcohol.

Results were taken from the Australian arm of the International Alcohol Control study, a telephone survey of 2,020 Australian adults with an oversample of risky drinkers. The 1,789 respondents who reported consuming alcohol in the past 6 months were asked detailed questions about the location of their alcohol consumption and how much alcohol they consumed at each place.

Sixty-three percent of all alcohol consumption reported by respondents was consumed in the drinker's own home, with much less consumed at pubs, bars, and nightclubs (12%). This is driven primarily by the number of people who drink in the home and the frequency of these events, with the amount consumed per occasion at home no more than in other people's homes or pubs, and significantly less than at special events. The average consumption on a usual occasion at each of these locations was more than five Australian standard drinks (above the Australian low-risk guideline for episodic drinking). Short-term risky drinkers had the highest proportion of consumption in pubs (19%), but they still consumed 41% of their units in their own home.

The majority of alcohol consumed in Australia is consumed in the drinker's own home. Efforts to reduce long-term harms from drinking need to address off-premise drinking and, in particular, drinking in the home.