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Alcohol and Tobacco Available for Consumption: Year ended December 2006
Embargoed until 03:40pm  –  23 February 2007
Commentary

Total alcoholic beverage available for consumption

The total volume of alcoholic beverage available for consumption in the December 2006 year was 463.9 million litres, an increase of 5.1 million litres compared with the December 2005 year. For the first time since the series began in 1986, the level has exceeded the 463.8 million litres available for consumption in that year. Following decreases from 1987 to 1997 (when a low of 401.9 million litres was recorded) the volume of available beverage has increased almost every year.

Spirit-based drinks were the leading contributor to the increase in 2006, up 7.0 million litres (16.3 percent). Wine also increased, while less beer was available for consumption in 2006 than in 2005.


Graph, Total Volume of All Alcoholic Beverages Available for Consumption

Total pure alcohol available for consumption

The total volume of pure alcohol available for consumption was 30.8 million litres in the December 2006 year, an increase of 1.9 percent compared with the December 2005 year. The volume of pure alcohol available from wine increased by 5 percent and by 5.3 percent for spirits and spirit-based drinks, while the pure alcohol available from beer decreased by 2.2 percent. At 9.43 litres, the volume of pure alcohol available per head of population aged 15 years and over has increased 0.5 percent from the December 2005 year. While this is 8.7 percent higher than the lowest level, recorded in the 1998 year, it is 16.4 percent lower than the 11.28 litres per head recorded in 1986, when the current series began.

 Graph, Total Litres of Pure Alcohol Available for Consumption.  Graph, Litres of Pure Alcohol Available for Consumption.

Beer

The volume of beer available for consumption in the December 2006 year was down 6.4 million litres (2.0 percent) on the December 2005 year. While still the most popular type of alcoholic beverage, beer has declined as a proportion of the total beverage available for consumption – down from 97 percent in 1946, and 81 percent in 1996, to the present level of 67 percent.

 Graph, Volume of Beer Available for Consumption

The volume of beer available for consumption with an alcohol content of between 4.36 and 5.0 percent continued to rise, up by 6.9 million litres (10.1 percent) in the December 2006 year compared with the December 2005 year. This was the only range of beer strength to show an increase, and now provides almost a quarter of all beer available. Although beer with alcohol content between 2.6 and 4.35 percent still contributed the largest share (almost 70 percent) of the volume of beer available for consumption in 2006, this level has been decreasing every year.

As the Beer Production Survey, which provided data on the volume of beer produced in New Zealand, was discontinued after the September 2006 quarter, information on volumes of beer by packaging type (bottled, canned, bulk) is no longer available.

Graph, Volume of Beer Available for Consumption.  

Wine

Over the past decade, the volume of wine available for consumption has generally been increasing, and in 2006 wine provided 20.2 percent of available alcoholic beverage, compared with 15.9 percent in 1996. The total volume of wine available for consumption was 93.7 million litres in the year ended December 2006, up 5.0 percent compared with the previous year. New Zealand-produced wine available for domestic consumption was 69.6 million litres in 2006, compared with 66.9 million litres in 2005. Over the same period, net imports of wine increased by 7.7 percent to 24.1 million litres.

In addition to the increased availability of domestically produced wine for consumption, exports of wine produced in New Zealand have been increasing over the last decade; levels of New Zealand-produced wines exported in 2006 were almost three times the volume exported in 1996.

Table wine (up to 14 percent alcohol by volume), which is now 99.0 percent of all wine available for consumption, increased by 4.5 million litres (5.1 percent) in the December 2006 year compared with the December 2005 year.

Graph, Volume of Wine Available for Consumption. Graph, Wine-Domestic Production, Imports and Exports.

Spirits and spirit-based drinks

Spirits and spirit-based drinks now represent 13.1 percent of the alcoholic beverage available for consumption. The total share of spirits and spirit-based drinks has increased steadily from 3.0 percent in the year ended December 1996.

The availability of spirit-based drinks (those with less than 23 percent alcohol content) continued to rise in the December 2006 year, as it has done each year since the series began in 1995. The volume available in the 2006 year increased by 7.0 million litres (16.3 percent) when compared with the 2005 year. This is follows an increase of 6.1 million litres (16.6 percent) between the 2004 and 2005 years.

While the volume of spirits (those with more than 23 percent alcohol content) available for consumption (10.5 million litres) was almost unchanged in the December 2006 year, the shift to spirit-based beverages with a lower alcohol content resulted in the pure alcohol available from total spirits and spirit-based drinks increasing only 5.3 percent, despite an increase of 13.0 percent in the total volume of beverage available.

Graph, Volume of Spirit-based Drinks Available for Consumption.

Cigarettes and tobacco

During the December 2006 year the number of cigarettes available for consumption was virtually unchanged at 2.4 billion. This follows a rise of 5.0 percent in 2005.

The number of cigarettes available for consumption peaked at 6.3 billion in 1977. Since then the level of cigarettes available for consumption has generally been decreasing. The number of cigarettes has been below 3 billion for the last six calendar years, and below 2.5 billion for the last four years, and is now less than half the 5.2 billion available in 1986.

In the December 2006 year, tobacco available for consumption fell 1.0 percent (to 879 tonnes) compared with the 2005 year.

 Graph, Cigarettes Available for Consumption  Graph, Tobacco Available for Consumption.
 
For technical information contact:
Christine Sadler or Alex Bayley
Christchurch 03 964 8700
Email: info@stats.govt.nz
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