Key Points:

Beer lovers are being warned to make the most of their favourite drink through the summer months.

DB Breweries says the price of packaged beer will "inevitably" go up by as much as 5 per cent from March 1 next year due to spiralling costs.

DB's group managing director Brian Blake said the impact of the cost of glass, aluminium and cardboard packaging had been especially severe. Prices were where they were around 15 years ago and this was not sustainable, he said.

Beer prices went up by more than 5 per cent in July, partly due to the annual excise tax increase, although supermarkets in many cases absorbed the rise. Lion Nathan said it would not comment on whether it had any plans to match its rival next March.

Liquor is living up to its reputation as recession-proof for both brewers. Lion's New Zealand managing director Peter Kean said the performance of premium brands was still strong.

"I don't think it's drinking to forget, it's more a case of not giving up all your luxuries or all your treats."