To describe how for some high- and middle-income countries, the total volume of alcohol, including volume consumed in harmful drinking occasions, is distributed across drinking locations in each country.
Population surveys of drinkers were conducted as part of the International Alcohol Control Study in New Zealand, Australia, Vietnam and Thailand. Consumption data were collected using a beverage- and location-specific measure that also allows for the measurement of unrecorded alcohol.
In the high-income countries, the percentage of absolute alcohol consumed in harmful drinking occasions was 44% in New Zealand and 51% in Australia. In the middle-income countries, the proportions were 55% in Vietnam and 66% in Thailand. The vast majority of alcohol was consumed in private homes (67% or above in all four countries). Private homes were also the location where the highest percentage of alcohol was consumed in harmful drinking occasions (range 33% in New Zealand to 44% in Vietnam). Unrecorded/untaxed alcohol was of considerable importance for heavier drinking occasions in private homes in Vietnam. Bars and nightclubs were more likely locations for harmful drinking in the high-income countries relative to the middle-income countries.
As the majority of alcohol consumed in each country, including in harmful drinking occasions, was consumed in private homes, these findings make take-away alcohol a focus for alcohol policy including trading hour and pricing policies. Unrecorded alcohol was also of considerable importance in Vietnam, highlighting the importance of the policy responses being developed to address unrecorded alcohol.