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Beer Consumption Falls Again

Alcohol Available for Consumption - June 1999 quarter

The volume of beer available for consumption fell 4.3 per cent, to 307.4 million litres, between the June 1998 and 1999 years. The main reason for the fall was a 12.9 million litre reduction in the volume of beer available with an alcohol content between 2.51 and 4.35 per cent. This category includes the bulk of New Zealand produced beers. Over the last decade, the overall volume of beer available has declined by 21.0 per cent.

Despite the continuing decline in the volume of beer available for consumption, beer available with an alcohol content of more than five per cent continues to show strong growth. Between the June 1998 and 1999 years, the volume of beer available with an alcohol content of more than 5 per cent almost doubled, however, this category only represents around 3 per cent of total beer.

The total volume of wine available for consumption in the year ended June 1999 was 64.8 million litres, up 1.1 per cent compared to the same period in 1998. The increase was due to a 1.5 per cent rise in the volume of table wine available. There was a partially offsetting decrease in fortified wine. Wine consumption has been growing steadily over the past ten years.

The volume of spirits available for consumption declined by 9.8 per cent between the year ended June 1998 and the year ended June 1999. Over the same period, the volume of spirit-based drinks available for consumption rose 22.2 per cent, however, there are signs that demand may have peaked. During the June 1999 quarter, spirit-based drinks available were down 5.1 per cent compared with the June 1998 quarter. This follows a 0.4 per cent decrease between the March 1998 and 1999 quarters.

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