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Australia’s bar and pub sales rise 9%

Sales in Australia’s night-time sector surpassed pre-pandemic levels in 2022 after reaching AU$146 billion (US$92.5bn), with bar and pub revenue increasing by 9%.

Brisbane, Australia
Brisbane’s bar and pub scene has increased with 16 additional venues

According to the Measuring the Australian Night Time Economy Report, the country’s night-time economy reported a 10% sales increase in the 12 months to June 2022, compared with the previous year. It marked a 5% rise on the pre-pandemic 2018/2019 financial year.

The report has been commissioned by the Council of Capital City Lord Mayors (CCCLM), which represents the mayors of Australia’s cities, annually since 2012.

The research looked at Australia’s core night-time sector in each city, divided into three areas: food, drink, and entertainment and leisure.

The food and drink subsectors led much of the growth for the night-time economy in the country, the report noted, with both areas surpassing 2018/2019 levels.

Australia’s drink subsector (which includes pubs, bars and alcohol retailers) continued to grow in 2021/2022, increasing sales by 5% to AU$21.9bn (US$8.2bn). The division represents 5% of Australia’s core night-time economy.

This performance was led primarily by pubs and bars, which saw sales increase by 9% to AU$12.4bn (US$7.8bn), while alcohol retail turnover rose slightly to AU$9.6bn (U$$6.1bn).

The food subsector rose by 9% in sales. Leisure and entertainment was up by 14%, but it remained 4% below the 2018/2019 peak.

The number of businesses operating within the night-time sector increased by 7% compared with the previous financial year, totalling 131,373 companies. There were 9,457 drinks establishments in the recent year, up by 5%.

However, employment numbers in the night-time sector did not fully recover to pre-Covid levels with a 1% increase on the previous year and a 6% decline compared with the 2018/2019 year.

Employment levels increased by 3% for the drink subsector and by 2% for food.

Sally Capp, chair of CCCLM and lord mayor of Melbourne, said: “Despite the ongoing external challenges presented by the pandemic, and the new rhythms of people travelling in and out of cities, it’s clear that that night-time economies are continuing to thrive

“In 2023, the night-time economy around Australia is thriving with unique and exciting businesses continuing to choose capital cities to make the most of the vibrant after-dark scenes on offer.”

In Brisbane, the drink subsector gained 26 businesses in 2022 (up by 10%), comprising 10 alcohol retailers and 16 bars and pubs.

The drink subsector also saw ‘substantial growth’ in Canberra, with the number of drink establishments surging by 20% from 111 to 133 in 2022 and a 47% rise in the number of alcohol retailers.

We recently spoke to Australia’s distillers about the country’s punitive spirits excise tax, which rose to AU$100.05 (US$63.86) per pure litre of alcohol in August.

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