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Drinkers desert pubs

Judy Hardy from Richmond Homebrewing Supplies, a home brewing store in Lismore, in front of some of the styles of home brew they sell.
Judy Hardy from Richmond Homebrewing Supplies, a home brewing store in Lismore, in front of some of the styles of home brew they sell. Patrick Gorbunovs

AUSSIES are turning away from their local watering holes in favour of a quiet, and sometimes not-so-quiet drink at home, according to a new study.

The new research by the Foundation for Alcohol Research and Education (FARE) found 74% of Australians drink alcohol at home or at a friend's house.

The figures are in stark contrast to previous generations when 70% of drinking was conducted in a pub or club.

While the latest figures may be bad news for pubs and clubs, Judy Hardy from Richmond Homebrewing Supplies said the move was good news for them.

Mrs Hardy said she suspected that economic factors were the biggest force driving people away from pubs.

"Since I bought the shop in 2009 every time interest rates go up I get an influx of people wanting starter kits."

"You can make two-and-a-half cartons of beer for $20, if going out was that cheap, people wouldn't bother (making their own)."

FARE's chief executive, Michael Thorn, said the figure reflected societal changes to drinking.

"It's been going on for 40 years," Mr Thorn said. "A lot of social and economic factors shape the way people consume alcohol."

Mr Thorn suggested the prevalence of cheap take-away alcohol, increasing cost of living, growing job uncertainty and tough drink-driving penalties were factors behind the move to home drinking.

The research also found that changes in drinking behaviour were resulting in a large number of harms in the home with four million Australians negatively affected by the alcohol consumption of a household member, relative or friend.

"Drinking at home can contribute to the normalisation of drinking when done in front of children," Mr Thorn said. "This study aims to establish harms to others rather than just the drinker."

Station hotel regular Corey Smith said despite the increased cost of living he still preferred to drink at his local because of the camaraderie that it had.

"I come here to have a yarn," Mr Smith said. "There's more people at the pub."

Findings

74% of people mainly consume alcohol at home or at a friend's house; 24% of people mainly consume alcohol at a pub, club or restaurant; Gen Y (38%) is more likely than Gen X (20%) and Baby Boomers (19%) to consume alcohol at a pub, club or restaurant.

Topics:  drinking, pubs


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