Drink Tank

2016 in review: Risky business

Showcasing the landmark research report published by FARE in 2016

As we welcome in the new year, the team at FARE would like to take a moment to reflect on the past year in alcohol policy and to recognise the many achievements of these last 12 months.

During January, we’ll be showcasing some of the best pieces published on Drink Tank, Australia’s conversation space about alcohol, in 2016.

Today we’re focusing on Risky business, a landmark report released by FARE last year.

In January 2016, our Risky business research exposed the Australian alcohol industry’s heavy reliance on risky drinkers – with more than 3.8 million Aussies averaging more than four standard drinks of alcohol a day, twice the recommended health guidelines.

Targeted by the alcohol industry and branded as ‘super consumers’, the industry’s best customers represent just 20 per cent of Australians aged 14 and above, yet they account for a staggering 74.2 per cent all the alcohol consumed as a nation each year.

We’ve summarised some of the key commentary below.

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Risky business: Australia has a drinking problem and so does the alcohol industry

FARE’s Risky business report reveals alarming patterns of consumption in significant segments of the population. But while the alcohol industry sees ‘super consumers’ and profits, health professionals see patterns of risky drinking, says Michael Thorn.

Living behind closed doors with a super consumer

Behind the barrage of fun, colourful, social and happy advertisements promoted by alcohol companies; the global multinationals referred to as ‘Big Alcohol’, there lies a ‘super consumer’ who exhibits none of these traits. Samantha Menezes says it’s time that Big Alcohol was held accountable for their relentless pursuit of super consumers.

Alcohol companies target the 20% of Australians who drink 75% of the alcohol

Those in the business of selling alcohol have long known about the skewed distribution of alcohol consumption in the population – and target their marketing at this group of Australians who are drinking to dangerous levels. The researchers behind this work, Professor Robin Room and Dr Michael Livingston of the Centre for Alcohol Policy Research (CAPR) look at the Risky business of targeting super consumers.



Drink Tank aims to generate meaningful commentary and debate about alcohol policy, and to provide a platform for all members of the Australian community to share their views and concerns.

Our goal is for the Drink Tank community to engage in robust discussion about alcohol, highlighting a broad spectrum of views and voices, and ultimately to raise the profile of alcohol as an issue national of importance.

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