New Zealanders may have swapped beers for wine and spirits during the Covid-19 pandemic, but there was no spike in drinking consumption overall, new Stats NZ data reveals.
Alcohol available for consumption in the year ending in December decreased to 8.719 litres per head of the population, down from 8.752 litres in December 2019.
"We are seeing an increase in wine and spirits consumption and a decrease in beer consumption, though the alcohol available for consumption has remained fairly static over the past year," Alcohol Beverages Council executive director Bridget MacDonald said.
The country's total consumption of spirits increased from 10.998 million litres in 2019, to 11.352 million in 2020.
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Consumption of wine jumped slightly from 11.156 to 11.668 million litres, while beer dipped from 13.134 to 12.949 million litres.
MacDonald said New Zealanders have remained responsible and moderate drinkers despite the pressures of the coronavirus continuing.
"Hazardous drinking is declining, fewer young people are drinking, and our consumption is decreasing and below the OECD average."
Health Promotion Agency data shows over lockdown last year, 36 per cent did not drink at all, 34 per cent were drinking less and almost half consumed about the same. 64 per cent reported drinking at their usual levels post lockdown.
Young adults are increasingly saying no to booze, according to MacDonald.
"The health and wellbeing trend, particularly amongst young adults, is influencing demand for 'better for me' drinks, such as zero-alcohol beers, lighter wines and low-alcohol seltzers."