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World economy lowers New Zealand wine levels

Mar 15th, 2012 | By | Category: Front Page Layout, Latest News, News

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WINE may not be as free-flowing as we once thought in New Zealand, judging by alcohol figures released by Statistics New Zealand.

The volume of alcoholic beverages available for consumption in 2011 slipped 0.3% for the year, a decrease attributed to a 4.6% fall in volumes of wine available.

Duncan Gillespie, retail manager for Regional Wines and Spirits in Wellington says the decrease may have come as a result of the global recession.

“With the recession a lot of overseas contracts got cancelled,” he says.

Wine stocks as a result were downsized and spread more thinly across the national market, but, he says that the statistics aren’t reflective of the market they’ve seen.

“If anything there’s been more for us to try,” he says.

“There’s been more produced than can be consumed.”

Overabundant fruit had to be downgraded and sold under new labels, whichMr Gillespie says have sold reasonably well in the New Zealand market.

“It’s kind of hard (to see a decrease), we’ve got such a wide selection.”

The decrease was partly offset by 3.7% rise in the volume of spirits and spirits-based drinks.

Mr Gillespie says the market for spirits has always been big.

He says the store gets a lot of requests for the ‘weird and wacky’ spirits and their wide range of brands have always accommodated that demand.

The store has recently cut its RTD selection and introduced a whiskey cabinet with around 200 labels in it, a move that Mr Gillespie says reflects a rise in the market.

“It’s increased because we’ve taken action to do so,” he says.

Neil Kelly, industry and labour statistics manager for Statistics New Zealand, says despite the flat volumes, June and September respectively saw a 7.5% and a 7.2% rise in the totals compared to 2010.

“This was possibly due to both the replacement of damaged stock following the Canterbury earthquakes, and the anticipation of increased demand for the 2011 Rugby World Cup,” he says.

Beer added to the 63% share of the total volume of alcoholic beverage available with a 0.1% increase.

The total volume of alcoholic beverage available for consumption in New Zealand equates to nearly 500 million litres. Beer has a volume of 300, wine has a volume of 100 and spirits and spirit based drinks are around 80 million litres.

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