A new study reveals total beverage retail sales values dropped for the first time in five years.
The 2011 Wider Beverage Report by Nielsen shows there has been a decline in both volume sales and spend per capita.
“Packaged beer has been a key component in the recent beverage decline,” says Liz Watkinsons, director for Nielsen’s Liquor Services Group.  
“It represents the largest beverage segment and accounts for nearly one dollar in every four spent in the beverage category.
“This is the first time we’ve seen the segment decline in over four years, as the traditional Low Carb and Premium beer growth engines no longer appear to be fuelling the category,”
House brand private labels are growing faster than branded beverages with bottled wine, chilled white milk and cask wine adding more value to the segment than other branded products, according to the report.
It also showed Australians spending 60 per cent of their beverage dollars on alcoholic drinks despite the market being restricted to adults 18 years and over. This amount is five times greater than the spend on carbonated drinks.
Tea and coffee account for the highest volume consumed by Australians with alcohol second while new age drinks such as energy drinks are the fastest growing category.
Coca-cola remains the number one beverage trademark.