March 01, 2019

Increase in availability of alcohol for consumption

Craft beer, cider and spirits are the fastest growing alcohol markets, with all volumes increasing in 2018.

The availability of alcoholic beverages rose 1.3 percent in the year ended December 2018 according to the latest StatsNZ figures. While the volume of wine decreased 1.3 percent, this was countered by an increase in the volumes of beer (up 1.4 percent), and in spirits and spirit-based drinks, such as ready-to-drink (RTD) beverages, which rose by 4.9 percent.

Source: Statistics NZ

Since 2003, the volume of beer available for consumption has been trending downwards, and has decreased from 72 percent of all available alcohol to 61 percent. Over the same time frame, the volume of wine has increased 5 percent (from 18 to 23 percent), and the volume of spirits has increased for the fourth year running from 10 to 17 percent. While wine available for consumption decreased in 2018 (2.6 percent), wine made from other fruit and vegetables (mostly cider) rose 5.9 percent in 2017.

Source: Statistics NZ

Spirits, on the whole, are higher in alcoholic content, and this has contributed to an increase of 1.7 percent in the total volume of pure alcohol in alcoholic beverages in 2017. The rise in high-strength beers (over 5 percent alcohol) has trebled in the past 5 years, partly due to the popularity of craft beers. High-strength beers now account for nearly 10 percent of all beer available. This has been partly offset by a fall in lower-strength beers.

Source: Statistics NZ

However, the amount of alcohol available in the market per person aged 18 years and over is down 0.6 percent from 2017 to 2.0 standard drinks per day. This is the second lowest figure since 2003, with 2015’s availability being slightly lower at 1.98 standard drinks per day. The 2018 figure is a decrease of 0.2 standard drinks per day (9.1 percent) since a peak in 2010.

Note: StatsNZ alcohol statistics are compiled from figures on alcoholic beverages produced for local consumption, on which duty is paid, and imports less re-exports. The statistics provide information on the volume of alcoholic beverages released to the domestic market, and therefore what is available for consumption, rather than actual consumption.