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Alcohol and Tobacco Available for Consumption: Year ended December 2007
Embargoed until 10:45am  –  22 February 2008
Commentary

Total alcoholic beverage available for consumption

Compared with the December 2006 year, the total volume of alcoholic beverage available for consumption during the December 2007 year increased 6.4 million litres to reach a new high of 470.3 million litres. Contributing to the increase were rises in the volume of spirits, (up 5.3 million litres) and beer, (up 2.7 million litres), while the volume of wine fell 1.6 million litres.

Graph, Total Volume of All Alchoholic Beverages Available for Consumption.

Total pure alcohol available for consumption

The pure alcohol available for consumption time series are a measure of the alcohol content contained within the various alcoholic beverages.

The total volume of pure alcohol available for consumption was 30.7 million litres during 2007, a decrease of 0.3 percent compared with the 2006 year. The volume of pure alcohol available from wine fell 1.7 percent (to 10.2 million litres), and spirits, down 1.3 percent (to 7.3 million litres). The total volume of pure alcohol available from beer was 13.2 million litres, an increase of 1.3 percent.

The volume of pure alcohol available per head of population aged 15 years and over decreased 1.6
percent to 9.2 litres from the December 2006 year. The decrease for the December 2007 year follows a
period of consecutive increases over the last three years.

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

Beer

Compared with 2006, the volume of beer available for consumption in 2007 rose 0.9 percent to 312.2 million litres. Although beer is still the most popular type of alcoholic beverage, as a proportion of the total beverage available for consumption it has once again declined, down to 66.4 percent. The proportion of beer has been in decline since 1992 when its proportion to total beverage available for consumption was 84.2 percent. 

Graph, Volume of Beer Available for Consumption.

While the total increase in the volume of beer available for consumption in 2007 was 2.7 million litres, there were more interesting movements within the beer-strength categories. The volume of beer with an alcohol content of between 4.36 and 5 percent continued to rise and increased 19.1 million litres from 2006. By contrast, beer with an alcohol content of between 2.51 and 4.35 percent; and an alcohol content greater than 5 percent, both decreased by 9.6 and 6.6 million litres, respectively. Although beer with an alcohol content of between 2.51 and 4.35 percent contributed two-thirds of the total volume of beer available for consumption in 2007, this level has continued to decrease.

Graph, Volumr of Beer Available for Consumption.  

Wine

The total volume of wine available for consumption was 92.1 million litres in the year ended December 2007, down 1.7 percent compared with the previous year. This is the first drop in the volume of wine available for consumption since 2001. Wine contributed 19.6 percent of the total available beverage in 2007, compared with 20.2 percent in the previous year.

Table wine (up to 14 percent alcohol by volume), decreased by 1.7 million litres (1.8 percent) in 2007 compared with the previous year and contributed 99 percent of total wine available for consumption, the same proportion as last year.

The volume of fortified wine (greater than 14 percent alcohol by volume), increased by 50 thousand litres (5.5 percent) in 2007. 

Graph, Volume of Wine Available for Consumption.

Spirits and spirit-based drinks

The volume of spirits and spirit-based drinks available for consumption rose 8.7 percent to 66.0 million litres during 2007. However, the rate of increase has slowed this year compared with increases seen in the previous three years. Spirits and spirit-based drinks now represent 14.0 percent of the total alcoholic beverage available for consumption. The total share of spirits and spirit-based drinks has increased steadily since 1996. 

The volume of spirits (those with more than 23 percent alcohol content) available for consumption fell 11.9 percent to 9.3 million litres in 2007. This is the first time since 2003 that the volume of spirits has dropped below 10 million litres. 

The availability of spirit-based drinks (those with less than 23 percent alcohol content) continued to rise in 2007, as it has done each year since the time series began in 1995. The volume available in the 2007 year of 56.7 million litres increased by 6.6 million litres (13.1 percent) when compared with the 2006 year. 

In the year ended December 2007, the volume of pure alcohol available for consumption from spirit-based drinks with a lower alcohol content increased by 14.2 percent, while that for spirits with a higher alcohol content decreased by 11.9 percent. Despite these movements, the total volume of pure alcohol available from spirits and spirit-based drinks fell only 1.3 percent. 

Graph, volume of Spirits and Spirit-based Drinks Available for Consumption.

Cigarettes and tobacco

During the December 2007 year, the number of cigarettes available for consumption was virtually unchanged for the third consecutive year at 2.4 billion. 

The number of cigarettes available for consumption has generally been decreasing since they peaked at 6.3 billion in 1977. The number of cigarettes available this year is now 61.5 percent less than the high point reached 30 years ago. 

The volume of tobacco available for consumption rose 2.8 percent to a new high of 904 tonnes in 2007 compared with 2006 and was 83.3 percent higher than the lowest amount recorded in 1985. 

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