Spirits takes up more shelf space for tenth consecutive year
The relentless rise in spirits, for the tenth year in a row, has the country’s alcohol consumption watchdog worried.
Dr Andrew Hearn, general researcher of the Alcohol Advisory Council, admits the amount of spirits consumed is a concern.
“The total volume of spirits and spirit-based drinks available for consumption has risen to the point where spirits and spirit-based drinks contributed 16% of the total alcoholic beverages available in 2012, compared with 3% in 1996,” he said.
Consumers have had more spirits available to them in 2012 compared with the previous year, even if it was only up 0.1% to 62 million litres according to Statistics New Zealand.
The amount of beer, New Zealand’s most consumed alcoholic beverage, took a drop of 6.6% in 2012 to 280 million litres. Dr Hearn says that although spirits have increased most in the last ten years, their rise is still not the focus for ALAC who want kiwis to change the way they drink.
“The growth in spirit based drinks began in the mid 1990s and was associated with the growth in ready-to-drink spirit-based beverages which were introduced in 1996,
“Our approach to alcohol is not so much about the type of drink but more about the amount people consume on a single occasion, because that can lead to New Zealand’s high rate of acute harm.”
As a proportion of the total volume of alcoholic beverage available for consumption, beer has fallen from 81% in 1996 to 61% in 2012.
A spokesperson from the alcohol shop chain, Thirsty Liquor, said that spirit based drinks or spirits themselves make up 20% of sales which is continuing to increase.
“We would sell more spirits to younger people now and I think that is where demand is increasing the most.”
Statistics New Zealand say it is important to note that these statistics do not measure the amount of alcohol consumed but the amount entering the domestic market, even if the market is fuelled by demand.
The amount of wine available in the country also increased by 4.4% to 102 million litres up 4.3 million litres compared with 2011.