RTD alcohol availability on the rise

Last updated 15:00 25/02/2013

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Although the volume of alcohol available for consumption fell 3.3 per cent last year, ready-to-drink (RTD) spirit-based drinks are still on the rise.

Latest Statistics New Zealand figures show pre-mixed RTDs were up 78,000 litres, rising 0.1 per cent to 62 million litres.

The overall downturn in alcohol available for consumption was due to a fall in the volume of beer, which dropped 20 million litres, a decline partly offset by a 4.3 million litre rise in the volume of wine.

Wine contributed 22 percent of the total volume of alcoholic beverages available in 2012, compared with 16 percent in 1996.

“Although the volume of alcoholic beverages available was down more than three per cent, the amount of pure alcohol fell only 0.6 percent,” Statistics New Zealand industry and labour statistics manager Louise Holmes-Oliver said. 

“This was due to change in the types of beverages available."

An increase in the volume of higher-alcohol beverages such as wine, spirits, and spirit-based drinks accounted for the smaller fall in pure alcohol available. 

The volume of high-alcohol beer – over five per cent – also jumped. By contrast, all other beer categories available for consumption decreased.

Volumes of pure alcohol available for consumption per person aged 15 years and over fell 1.7 per cent, to 9.3 litres in 2012, equivalent to an average of two standard drinks daily per person over 15-years-old.

The statistics measure how much alcohol is available for consumption but are not a measure of actual alcohol consumption, although the two figures are thought to be similar.

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