What we drink

In 2018, 482.4 million litres of alcoholic drinks were available for sale in New Zealand:

This is a small (1.3%) increase from 2017 (476 million litres).

By volume, we drink more beer (293m litres) than wine (109.1m litres) or spirits (80.3m litres).

However, the share of pure alcohol being consumed is almost equal across beer (12.9m litres), wine (11.3m litres) and spirits (10.5m litres).

A consumption of 482.4 million litres equates to 34.8 million litres of pure alcohol, or 8.8 litres of pure alcohol per person aged 15 and above.  To put this into perspective, it is the same as every person aged over 18 years consuming two standard drinks per person every day of the year (i.e. 2 cans of beer (330ml, 4% alcohol) or 2 glasses of wine (12.5%; 100ml).

However, in reality we know that approximately 46% of all alcohol sold in New Zealand is consumed in heavy drinking occasions, ie. 8 or more standard drinks for men and 4 or more standard drinks for women.


New Zealand drinking compared to other countries

New Zealanders typically drink a large amount of alcohol in a drinking occasion. Although we drink less (overall) than the Irish and British (and slightly less than Australians), we drink more than Americans, Canadians and South Africans. 

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DRINKING IN NEW ZEALAND