Objective: This study provides information regarding trends in alcohol consumption at the household level in South Africa using two datasets. These two datasets, from 1995 and 2000, are the basis of the Consumer Price Index (CPI) in South Africa, although they contain information on alcoholic beverage expenditures, and, therefore, they represent a unique opportunity to examine changes in purchases of alcohol at the household level between 1995 and 2000 in South Africa. Method: Two different stratified random samples of the South African population were surveyed. In 1995, 127772 persons in 29595 households were surveyed, while there were 104153 people in 26264 households surveyed in 2000. Alcohol consumption was surveyed via a number of questions regarding expenditure on purchases of alcoholic beverages. Comparative real consumption statistics were constructed for households whose heads differed by race, gender and employment status of the household head, as well as by the income and location of the household; those statistics were further compared across the two samples. Results: Real alcohol purchases are the highest for the wealthiest households, which are generally white, and lowest for the poorest households, which are generally African; female-headed households are less likely to have purchased alcohol compared to male- headed households, and, most interestingly, real purchases have fallen between 1995 and 2000 for nearly all household stratifications examined. Although a smaller proportion of African and coloured households consumed positive quantities of beer in 2000 than in 1995, the average share of expenditure on beer increased for these households. Conclusions: Alcohol consumption is becoming less common in South Africa, although there is evidence of increased concentration of use, especially for the use of beer. The change in concentration towards beer, however, is likely to be partly due to a decrease in the consumption of more traditional beverages.