While New Zealander's alcohol consumption might have decreased by 25 percent since the 70's and 80's, their enthusiasm for the industry still thrives. Local skills, social change and sustainability are key drivers for the alcohol industry's contribution to local economies, a report from The New Zealand Institute of Economic Research (NZIER) has indicated.
In New Zealand, there are currently 1,865 beer, wine and spirits businesses that directly employ around 10,200 people nationwide. An additional 20,900 people are employed indirectly through the alcohol supply chain. Connecting the chain, there are 172,000 employees in cafes, bars, restaurants, hotels and other events businesses that involve alcohol. While employing high volumes of workers, the industry is also contributing $1.92 billion to the nation's gross domestic product, pays $1.819 billion in tax and GST, and spends $2.02 billion on goods from the local economy.
However, changes to the alcohol industry are afoot. Consumers are becoming increasingly conscious about their purchases. Not only are they drinking in moderation, but they have also risen in support for local producers, and have a want for both low carb and low carbon beverages. Alcohol consumption is about both socialising and sustainability.
“It’s an exciting time for our industry––we are diversifying our product ranges in response to consumer demands and trends. The challenges of today are becoming the opportunities for tomorrow, and this encourages innovation and investment in research and development right throughout the industry––from developing unique hops varieties for beer, embracing indigenous ingredients for spirits to refining viticulture practices to create lower alcohol wines,” said Bridget MacDonald, Executive Director of the NZ Alcohol Beverages Council.