When it comes to beer moderation, Bay of Plenty locals appear to be ditching the binge-drinking culture and leading by example, a new survey shows.

Earlier this year, the Brewers Association of New Zealand commissioned the inaugural New Zealand Beer Survey as an opportunity to look at New Zealanders' habits, attitudes and perceptions of beer.

Findings show 73 per cent of beer drinkers from the Bay of Plenty admitted to having just one to two beers on occasion.

This compares to 68 per cent in Auckland, 67 per cent in Wellington, and 63 per cent in Canterbury.


The findings show, as a nation, more people are choosing to drink one to two beers at a time, more women are choosing beer as their go-to drink, and food and beer pairing is growing in popularity.

Reg Hennessy, Hennessy's Irish Bar publican and Bay of Plenty Hospitality NZ president, said the results were unsurprising.

He said his staff had found local people were drinking a lot less, and were more interested in coming in to have a drink with food or when there were major sporting events or live music on.

"Whereas once upon a time people would stay all night and drink, we find now a lot of people will have two - it seems to be about the norm now."

Hennessy thought, from his experience, that the next generation of young people were not as interested in drinking as past generations.

He said in his bar the RTD (Ready to Drink) market seemed to have flattened out and people were enjoying drinking different types of beers and wines.

Hennessy said young people also did not seem to be going out and spending a lot of money - "whether they can't afford to or not I don't know".

He said, having been in the industry for more than 30 years, the standard of behaviour appeared to have changed for the better.

"I think it's great. Now it's about the whole evening, and going out eating and watching sports events.

"From my experience and what I've seen, I think we are slowly getting past the binge drinking model.

"I'm not saying people aren't doing it, but I think numbers are dropping, particularly on premises."

Brewers Association executive director Dylan Firth said the association compiled the findings from a beer survey conducted earlier in the year.

The survey spoke to the general public throughout New Zealand about their beer consumption, he said.

He thinks people in general have started to treat beer differently and, "give it the respect it deserves".

Firth said cultures had changed around drinking, and it was more in moderation which was a positive thing.

He said people were starting to drink different varieties - value over volume.

"I think it's really encouraging to see. We like to see people consuming, but in a safe way."

Worlds End owner Cameron Keogh said he had guessed alcohol consumption had reduced, though people still loaded up on cheaper alcohol from the supermarket.

He said it was about $5 a box cheaper for "Joe Bloggs" to buy a box of Corona from the supermarket than for a bar to buy it direct from the brewery, which he thought drove bar prices up and stopped people buying alcohol at bars.

"I think a lot of this conversation is addressed to craft beers which you can only have a couple of. With traditional, mainstream beers I don't think habits have changed at all."

He said Worlds End had had a massive increase in food sales, so this was predominantly a big focus for them.

"Alcohol sales have stayed the same, but food has increased tenfold."

Crown and Badger owner Jessica Rafferty said she was not too surprised by the findings.

"It's not uncommon for people to come in and have one to two beers on occasion."