As regional hotels close and the valuable real estate of inner-city pubs get redeveloped there are now more bottle shops than pubs in NSW.
These days patrons have more options to buy booze than ever before with around 1000 bottle shop licences being granted in NSW since 2008. At the same time, some 100 pubs have closed their doors, the majority of them in rural townships.
The City of Sydney has the most pub licences in NSW with 344 but there were 14 fewer licences in January 2018 than there were in January 2015 and many other Sydney postcodes also showing declines.
According to an article in the Sydney Morning Herald, a professor from the School of Medicine and Public Health at the University of Newcastle has said that the growth of bottle shops “reflects changing patterns of socialisation” and may be partly driven by social media. He also cited that youth drinking was falling in many high-income countries including Australia.
However, the main driver is likely to be economic as prices at pubs have risen, while costs at bottle shops remain low.
Online-only retailers have also made up a significant percentage of new packaged liquor licences since 2008.
Of roughly 2500 liquor licences in NSW for bottle shops and online retailers, about 14 percent are “online only”.
The other area bottle shops are proliferating is in supermarkets or stores owned by the major chains like Aldi, IGA, Coles and Woolworths.