More high-strength beer on offer
Retailers are working to keep up with New Zealand’s changing beer tastes.
Data from Statistics New Zealand shows Kiwis had a third more highstrength beer, with alcohol volume above 5 per cent, available to consume last year.
The measure of ‘‘available to consume’’ covers domestic product, minus exported beer, plus beer imported from overseas.
‘‘The volume of beer above 5 per cent alcohol rose for the fourth year in a row in 2017,’’ Statistics NZ’s 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 between 4.35 per cent and 5 per cent also rose in volume, up 4 per cent. But low and middle-strength beer volumes fell. Overall, the total volume of beer available fell 1.2 per cent in 2017, following a 3.7 per cent rise in 2016.
Foodstuffs spokeswoman Antoinette Laird said beer was a growth category in the supermarket co-operative’s New World and Pak’n Save supermarkets.
More beer was being sold in cans again, she said. ‘‘The innovative labels and creative artwork we are seeing on cans really stand out on shelf and appeal to consumers.
‘‘Cans also provide the best protection for liquid quality and it’s much faster to chill a can than a bottle.’’
She said craft beer was still a growing category, and the option of mixed sixpacks with different styles and flavours was increasingly popular.
There was also growing interest in low-carb beers and those with low alcohol. ‘‘These are socially acceptable amongst millennials.’’
A Countdown spokeswoman said that chain had noticed changes, too. ‘‘Low and mid-strength beer is increasing in popularity all the time, which is why you’re seeing lots of new products and variations in supermarkets.
‘‘Equally, however, craft beer continues to be very popular which often has a higher alcohol volume than mainstream beer.’’
Statistics NZ said the amount spent on beer dropped 8 per cent between 2012-13 and 2015-16.
A third more high-strength beer (alcohol volume above 5 per cent) was available to consumers last year.