Page last updated: June 2016

Alcohol Available for Consumption in New Zealand: Year ended December 2015

In New Zealand the total volume of pure alcohol available for consumption, expressed in terms of the number of standard drinks per person, fell 4.1% in 2015, to the lowest level in the last 18 years.

Statistics New Zealand commented “New Zealanders aged 18 and over are now drinking on average the equivalent of two standard drinks per person per day, down from 2.1 in 2014.”

The total volume of pure alcohol available for consumption in New Zealand fell 2.2% in 2015, after a 0.3% fall in 2014. In contrast, the total volume of alcoholic beverages available for consumption showed little change in 2015, as a decrease in total wine (down 3.3%) was offset by a rise in total spirits and spirit-based drinks (up 3%). The volume of beer available for consumption showed little change, down 0.1%.

“Although the volume of beer available was similar to that in 2014, low-strength beer was up on 2014,”International statistics senior manager Jason Attewell said. “High-strength beer is also up, and has doubled in the last five years, reflecting the growing demand for craft beers.” Wine decreased in volume in 2015. Wine from grapes was down on 2014, but wine from other fruits and vegetables (mostly cider) was up on 2014.

The fall in table wine available for consumption coincided with a rise in the value and quantity of wine exports from New Zealand, reflecting the larger proportion of locally produced wine exported.

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

All text and images © 2003 Alcohol In Moderation.