Beers of our Lives

July 30, 2009

The Law Commission have now released their review of the Regulatory Framework for the Sale and Supply of Liquor – titled Alcohol In Our Lives. The full 279 page report is here.

I’ve had a bit of a read and looking at the press release talking points, things don’t look too bad – probably because they don’t mention excise increases. They instead mention a possible ‘tax reduction’ for low alcohol beers, though increases are discussed in the full report.

Looking at the following graph, you can see that beer consumption has been in steady decline since the mid-eighties, only starting to pick up a little in the last year – no doubt driven by the increasing popularity of craft and ‘premuim’ beer as regular sales have been flat.


The next graph shows the alcohol content of beer consumed – you can see the effect of the increasing popularity of ‘premium’ beers at 5% abv over traditional NZ beer at 4%. The Law Commission tend to want to make a bigger deal out of this than required by referring to the increase in consumption of higher alcohol beer several times. The growth is in 5% beer – 1 percent higher than average and the norm in most of the world. God knows what they think of wine at 13%.


Anyway, this doesn’t indicate that people are looking to get more wasted – on the contrary it shows that people are becoming more interested in nicer, global beer styles and probably picking quality over quantity. So it is odd that they see a progressive excise tax to encourage the consumption of lower abv beer as a positive solution in this context. People are voluntary choosing to buy more expensive alcohol so why interfere with this?

Have a look at the report yourself. They’re encouraging public feedback via their forum www.talklaw.co.nz


One comment

  1. […] New Zealand – Beers of Our Lives […]

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