Growth in craft beer almost trebles in five years

Figures show the overall volume of beer in the market increased 1.4% last year, up from a 1.2%...
Figures show the overall volume of beer in the market increased 1.4% last year, up from a 1.2% fall recorded a year earlier. Photo: Getty Images

The volumes of craft beer produced over the past five years has almost trebled, Stats NZ figures released today show.

Last year alone, the volume of high-strength beer increased by 21% - the rise in craft beer was partly offset by a fall in lower-strength beers, Stats NZ said.

The volume of high-strength beer reached 35 million litres in 2018, accounting for more than 10% of all beer available.

Figures show the overall volume of beer in the market increased 1.4% last year, up from a 1.2% fall recorded a year earlier.

Stats NZ international statistics manager Tehseen Islam said volume increases reflected the rising popularity of craft beer.

New Zealand's beer industry is worth $2.3 billion and is made up of 218 breweries, according to a report by the New Zealand Institute of Economic Research (NZIER).

There are 4.6 breweries for every 100,000 people in the country - more breweries per capita than anywhere else in the world.

Craft beer has been growing exponentially since 2008 and last year represented 10% of all sales, the report outlined.

Around 83% of the beer available for consumption last year was made in New Zealand and 17% was imported.

Just 10% of all beer produced in New Zealand is exported.

Other figures released today show spirits and spirit-based drinks such as RTDs are amongst the fastest growing sectors in the alcoholic drinks market.

Total spirit volumes rose 4.9% last year and volumes for traditional spirits such as whiskey and gin increased 5.5%.

Volumes of wine in the market fell 1.3% last year.

In 2018, there was enough alcohol in the domestic market for each adult New Zealander to have 2 standard drinks per day.

"In 2010, the average adult would have had about 800 standard drinks available to consume. By 2018, that was down to about 730 a year," Islam said.

Visitors to New Zealand spent $242 million on beer last year.

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