40 Million Less Beers Sold Due To COVID-19 At Pubs And Clubs

A Port local enjoying a cold one in an almost empty hospitality venue earlier this year. Photo: Marian Sampson.


IT’S official – the hospitality industry has been hard hit by COVID-19.

However, the latest measure of the downturn is a rather interesting one.

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Simply put, we aren’t going to the local for a cold one.

The Australian Tax Office (ATO) figures for draught beer sales in the first quarter (July-September) of the 2021-22 tax year have shown that pubs and clubs sold 40 million fewer pints of beer in July-September 2021 than they did for the same period in 2019, before the pandemic hit.

That’s a massive drop of over 50 percent in beer sales for struggling venues, a clear illustration of the true devastating impact of the pandemic on Australia’s hospitality sector.

After a horror year in 2020 where pubs and clubs lost over $1 billion in beer sales due to lockdowns and other restrictions these latest figures from the ATO show that losses for 2021 could well exceed this.

The ATO recorded 903,982 litres of alcohol as having been served in beers over the counter in July-September 2021 compared to 1,993,027 litres during the same period in 2019.

John Preston, Chief Executive of the Brewers Association of Australia, said, “These figures show that the damage to our pubs and clubs from the pandemic actually worsened last year.

“On average beer sales are around 70 percent of alcohol sales volumes in licensed premises and a drop of this severity has hit pubs and clubs incredibly hard.

“We are calling for the Federal Government to use the forthcoming Federal Budget to reduce Australia’s fourth highest beer tax in the world to give pubs and clubs a fighting chance.

“We are very concerned that on 1 February the Australian Government will hit Australian beer drinkers with one of the biggest beer tax increases in more than a decade – it’s not right and it’s not sustainable.

“Other countries have been reducing their tax on draught beer to give pubs and beer drinkers a break.”



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