Kiwis raise glasses to a record year

Stewart said: “We’re not necessarily drinking more – we’re certainly drinking better.”

We are spending at least 25 per cent more on alcohol than we did nine years ago. We spent almost a billion dollars on alcohol in supermarkets this year, according to AC Nielsen data.

Mainstream beers and white cask wine were the only categories not to pull in piles more cash than last year – the spend on premium beers was up an astounding 22.2 per cent and white bottled wines up 15.1 per cent.

Red and fortified wines were close behind, ringing up an extra 13.8 and 10.6 per cent respectively.

Overall wine sales in supermarkets leapt from $500m in 2004 to $607m this year, while beer jumped from $287m to $344m in the same period.

Nicki Stewart, chief executive of the Beer Wine and Spirits Council, said across the board, alcohol consumption was either climbing or steady. “Beer – overall consumption, total, is flat. Wine has risen a little bit but not as much as it has in the past. Spirits are up – mainly due to the RTD market.”

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