Increase in alcohol spending during hot summer
More alcohol consumed during long summerJENNA LYNCH
While drought-stricken farmers are praying for water, it appears the heat is driving city slickers to drink - the alcoholic kind.
A recent British study by Opinium showed that when the weather heated up, Brits guzzled around 33 million more pints of beer over the summer months, and it seems that Kiwis are following suit.
Statistics New Zealand Electronic card transaction figures from February show a $9 million jump from January's spending in the consumables industry - which includes food and liquor retailing.
Paymark Eftpos figures showed that last month's spending in the hospitality sector was 3.3 per cent up on the previous year and, in total, Kiwis have spent close to $1 billion in the hospitality industry this summer.
Brewers Association of Australia and New Zealand director of external relations Jenny Cameron said although beer production was down overall, the consumption throughout summer had risen considerably.
"Beer has had a definite increase in sales this summer," she said. "It is a product that is very relative to the weather."
In Hamilton, bar owners throughout the city say that the heat is driving people to the drink as they look for ways to cool down.
Phoenix Group director Darrel Hadley said bars across his group had experienced a great summer trade.
"In the last three months what we have seen is a lot of people out dining during the day and a lot of after-work drinks."
Mr Hadley said however people work, they are "finishing their day and feeling like they deserve a drink".
He said people are also changing their weekly habits - flocking to bars during the week, but heading for the coast at the weekend, leaving bars dry.
"If there was a drawback to this weather, it'd be weekend trips away."
But rival hospitality operator John Lawrenson, director of the Lawrenson Group, said although people were visiting bars more, people were not drinking enough to keep owners in his group happy.
"The ratios of food and alcohol have changed. We've seen more drinking and less dining," he said. He said cheap supermarket deals and sun-soaked baches were winning the drink and dine dollar from consumers, leaving bars looking a bit dry.
Mr Hadley said the trend of late evening drinks was likely to continue at least until daylight saving ends, which is usually when people start to change their habits.
And with the Metservice only predicting sunny days until Saturday, now is a great time to enjoy the heat before the much-needed rain is expected to settle in on Sunday.
- Waikato Times
The lower drink-driving limits from December are:Related story: Drink-drive limits lowered