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.

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