Australia biggest drinkers

Australian beer tax rises again today

February 3, 2020
By Alana House

The government’s unpopular beer tax rises a further 1.2% today, taking it up to $2.26 per litre of alcohol.

Brewers are hit with an automatic CPI increase every February and August. Prices have been increasing every six months for the past 35 years.

A new report by economist and Emeritus Professor Kym Anderson AC from the University of Adelaide, commission by the Brewers Association of Australia, has compared Australian beer tax with OECD and EU countries.

Of the world’s advanced industrial countries, Australians pay the fourth highest beer tax.

Australians will now pay $2.26 per litre of alcohol. In Australian dollar terms, we are paying:

  • 17 times more than Germany ($0.13),
  • 15 times more than Spain ($0.15),
  • 7 times more than the US ($0.31),
  • 6 times more than Canada ($0.35),
  • more than 4 times that of France ($0.50), and
  • approaching double that of New Zealand ($1.26).

“It’s getting to the point that having a beer with your mates is beyond the reach of ordinary Australians,” Brewers Association of Australia CEO Brett Heffernan said.

“By far the biggest cost in the price of a typical Australian beer is tax. It’s not the ingredients, production costs, advertising, transport or even retail overheads and profits … it’s Australian Government tax.

“A massive 42% of the retail price on a carton of beer, is tax. Of the $52 retail price for a typical carton of beer at 4.9% alcohol, $21.84 goes to the taxman. Now it’s going up again.

“Most Aussies simply are not aware they are being hit so hard, or so often, with beer tax. Beer tax has been going up every six months for the last 35 years. This latest slug is the 71st consecutive hike.

“Beer tax is now out of control. Simply freezing the six-monthly CPI increases will only lock-in the unreasonably high tax Australians are already paying. The rate of beer tax needs to be addressed if punters are to get genuine relief.”

Of a carton of full-strength (4.9%) beer retailing at $52, you’re already paying $21.84 (or 42 per cent) in tax, according to the Brewers Association of Australia – and that figure will likely rise with today’s beer tax hike.

In 2019, the federal government was estimated to have reaped $3.6 billion in alcohol tax.

But it’s not as pricey as Super Bowl beer …

Punters at today’s Super Bowl game in Miami are paying $AU17.93 for a draught beer; $AU20.90 for a 16oz (slightly over a standard schooner) bottle of domestic beer and $AU22.40 for an imported beer at the Hard Rock Stadium.

Meanwhile, it’s $AU33 for a strawberry daiquiri to $AU37 for a glass of champagne!

According to, Americans watching the game at home have purchased 51.7 million cases of (more budget friendly) beer. 

Host city Miami was expected to receive a $500 million economic impact from the big game. Each tourist in the city over the weekend was expected to drop $350 every day they were in town.

Meanwhile, the price for a single Super Bowl ticket was around $6390, and the highest price ever paid for a single ticket was $27,883.

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