Craft and high strength beers buck the trend of declining beer volumes in New Zealand

By Rachel Arthur

- Last updated on GMT


Related tags Beer New zealand

The volume of beer available in New Zealand has fallen: but craft and high-strength varieties are on the rise.

According to Stats NZ, the overall volume of beer available for consumption in 2017 fell 1.2% to 289m liters, despite having seen a 3.7% rise in 2016.

While lower-alcohol beers fell, those with a higher ABV grew in popularity. In particular beers with more than 5% AVB rose by 34% to 29m liters.

“The volume of beer above 5% 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.”

While beers over 5% ABV saw strong growth in 2017, beers with an ABV of 4.35-5% also rose 4% to 131m liters.

Today beers in the 4.35%-5% category and beers in the 2.5-4.35% category account for a roughly equal share of the market. However, there has been a marked shift towards higher ABV beers over the last 15 years:  in 2002 the 4.35%-5% category was only a fifth of the size of the 2.5%-4.35% category.

Beers in the 4.4-5% ABV category are the fastest growing segment in the craft beer industry, typical of gateway craft styles, according to research from ANZ.


stats NZ beer

In contrast, beers with less than 2.5% ABV fell 15% and beers with an ABV of 2.5 -4.35% fell 11%.

Wine and spirits

Wine volumes in 2017 were up 1.5% to 111m liters, following on from 4.7% growth in 2016. Table wines made from other fruit and vegetables or flavored with aromatic substances rose 8.2%. In contrast to trends for higher alcohol products in beer, high alcohol wines (fortified wines with an ABV of 14% or more) fell 9.4%.

The volume of spirits and spirit-based drinks rose 5.4% to 77m liters, following a rise of 5.7% in 2016 and 3% in 2015.

Related topics Markets Beer & cider Beer

Related news

Follow us


View more