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High-strength beers up in 2017

New Zealanders had more high-strength beer available to consume in 2017, Stats NZ said today. The volume of highest-strength beer (above 5 percent alcohol content) rose 34 percent in 2017.

“The volume of beer above 5 percent alcohol rose for the fourth year in a row in 2017,” international statistics manager Tehseen Islam said. “The volume of high-strength beer available is now over twice the 2013 volume, and three times the 2011 volume, in part reflecting the rising popularity of craft beers.”

Beer with an alcohol content from 4.35 percent to 5 percent also rose, up 4 percent. In contrast, traditional mid-strength and lower-strength beer volumes both fell in the year.

Overall, the total volume of beer available fell 1.2 percent in 2017, following a 3.7 percent rise in 2016.

The total volume of wine available to the domestic market rose 1.5 percent in 2017, and the volume of spirits (including spirit-based drinks such as RTDs) rose 5.4 percent.

The volume of wine from grapes was little changed in 2017, up 0.5 percent. In contrast, wine from other fruit and vegetables (mostly cider) was also up 8.2 percent on 2017.

The volume of traditional spirits (such as whisky, gin, and vodka) rose 1.3 percent, and spirit-based drinks rose 6.4 percent.

The total volume of all alcoholic drinks was little changed in 2017, up 0.5 percent, following a 4.2 percent rise in 2016.

Standard drinks per person falls in 2017

The total volume of alcohol in alcoholic beverages available for consumption, expressed as the number of standard drinks available per person a day, fell in 2017 to the third-lowest level in the last 17 years.

In 2017, there was enough alcohol for each adult New Zealander to drink the equivalent of 2.0 standard drinks a day, down from a recent peak of 2.2 in 2010.

“In 2010, the average adult would have had about 800 standard drinks available to consume. By 2017, that was down to about 730 a year,” Mr Islam said.

We compile alcohol statistics 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.


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