An article in The Economist, discusses how China’s alcohol consumption has increased in recent years due to an increase in income. According to the article, average annual consumption rose from 2.5 litres of pure alcohol in 1978 to 6.7 litres in 2010. Most of this increase is due to spirits.
Since working in the Chinese market, we have also seen the change in consumption patterns to also increase younger people and women. Our aim however, is to introduce the lifestyle of wine-drinking – enjoy the wine with food and of course drinking responsibly. According to The Economist article however, it is spirits more than anything else that are increasingly consumed in China and due to the country being traditionally modest drinkers, there is a lack of national guidelines on responsible drinking.
This urged me to have a look at the consumption patterns of South Africa as recently published by SAWIS (South African Wine Industry Statistics).
(See the graphs sharing consumption figures between 1997 and 2013 in the Picture Gallery).
Natural Wine consumption in South Africa reached a high point in 2002, with 337 400 630 litres, it took a sharp dip in 2013, when consumption only reached 296 473 391, with the lowest figures for this period in 2015, when consumption of wine reached only 293 985 618. The difference between the two extremes, a whopping 43 415 012 litres!
The sharp fall from 2002 to 2005 can be attributed to the decrease in standard-price wine sales when legislation against wine sold in foil bags (papsak) and wine sold in lesser plastic containers was introduced.
For the same period, wines at super premium prices increased from 38 000 000 litres in 2002 to 43 000 000 litres in 2005.
The consumption of spirits seems to be much more uniform with the difference between the year of least consumption (2001 with 98 240 000) and the year with the highest consumption ( 2012 with 117 925 000), a mere 19 684 000 litres when compared with natural wine’s more than 43 million.
RTD’s or Ready-to-drink alcoholic fruit juices or Spirit Coolers show steady growth over 17 years, starting out at 130 000 000 in 1997 and increasing every year (except for a 500 000 litre decrease in 2003) until it reached its highest point in 2012 at 465 500 000.
After a dip in the early 2000’s, bear also shows a steady year on year growth from 2 613 000 000 in 2004 to 3 061 000 000 in 2013.