14 January 2022

Our summer continues to embrace the prettiness of pink and vibrant seasonal flavours as Kiwis imbibe their rosé, gin, beer and cider, says the NZ Alcohol Beverages Council (NZABC).

“This summer has been dominated not only by traditional favourites but by hints of rose, summer berry, watermelon and pomegranate as well as bold bursts of pink grapefruit, rhubarb and plum,” says NZABC executive director Bridget MacDonald.

“Light and refreshing seltzers have become favourites over the past couple of years, though the new trend of iced tea with a twist is fast becoming popular. Overseas, they’re embracing the likes of black tea with rum spiced with anise and orange, earl grey with botanical gin, and green tea with vodka and ginseng,” says Bridget.

“These are trends that we’re likely to follow here,” she says. 

“The ever-increasing range of no- and low-alcohol wine, beer and cocktails will also continue to give consumers plenty of options to have their tastebuds tickled over the remaining summer months. The change in Kiwi’s attitudes toward balance and moderation has seen no- and low-alcohol drinks become increasingly popular and socially acceptable. New research shows nearly half (47%) of Kiwis had low-alcohol drinks in the past year. Consumer demand for ‘better-for-me’ drinks is really driving innovation in the beverages sector. We have never had so many choices of low-carb, low-sugar, and reduced alcohol drinks. Our world-class zero no- and low-alcohol beers and lighter wines keep summer occasions safe and social,” says Bridget.

“While many of us are proudly Kiwi when it comes to choosing a summer beverage, our tastebuds also keenly follow global trends. We’ll see subtle summer fruits and softer botanicals of elderflower and hibiscus shift to bolder flavour profiles of turmeric, rosemary, anise and ginger as we head out of summer. Distinct citrus flavours such as yuzu and blood orange will continue to be popular in 2022. Still, we can expect things to get a little hot and spicy in the New Year with hints of mustard and chilli as we move to cooler temperatures,” says Bridget. 

“How New Zealanders drink is changing with a move toward premium wine, craft beer and spirits. Interestingly, when people imbibe a premium drink, they are doing so in a more moderate and mindful way by taking a ‘sip and savour’ approach to enjoy the flavour experience of the drink.[iii] Kiwis have really taken that to the next level by embracing our unique indigenous flavours like kawakawa, horopito and manuka and locally-grown hops, grapes and grains. As a bonus, support for local wineries, breweries and distilleries is keeping people in jobs,” Bridget says.

Bridget says spirits are fast becoming an indulgent experience where the characteristics of a drink are savoured slowly. For example, the bitter citrusy negroni is a popular apéritif before dinner or sipping a spiced rum, scotch whiskey, or cognac makes the perfect digestif after dinner. Gin and vodka will continue to be popular in the year ahead, but the global popularity of other spirits such as tequila and mezcal will also influence our cocktail lists. 

“We’ve seen a shift to a more moderate and responsible drinking culture. New Zealand’s alcohol consumption has been trending downward for some time – around 25% less today than in the 1980s, and global consumption declined 6% in the past year – and we are drinking less hazardously, and fewer younger people are drinking. Whether we choose to drink no- or low-alcohol, or sip and savour a full-strength drink, it’s important we do so as part of a balanced lifestyle,” Bridget says.

Top tips for safe and social summer social occasions

·        Go ‘no, low or slow’. It’s okay to choose no- or low-alcohol drinks. If you choose to drink, pace yourself and enjoy your drink slowly.

·        Sip and savour that cocktail, and remember that a good cocktail can be made with no more alcohol than a bottle of beer.

·        Know what a standard drink looks like, and keep an eye on how many you are drinking.

·        Eat when you are drinking.

·        Drink water in between drinks to stay hydrated.

·        Have a plan to get home safely. Leave the car at home.

·        Support others to stay safe and social. Look out for your friends or family. 

·        If you’re hosting, make sure there’s plenty of food, no- and low-alcohol options, and water available.

·        If you are out and about, be sure to use the NZ COVID tracer app.

Need more information? 

Check out cheers.org.nz and alcoholandme.org.nz for more information on what a standard drink is and how to make better drinking decisions.

A good rule of thumb is ‘Go no, low or slow’. It’s okay to choose no or low alcohol drinks. If you choose to drink, pace yourself and enjoy your drink slowly.

Ministry of Health/HPA Guidelines: Low-risk alcohol drinking advice to reduce your long-term health risks by drinking no more than:

Two standard drinks a day for women and no more than 10 standard drinks a week,

Three standard drinks a day for men and no more than 15 standard drinks a week,

AND have at least two alcohol-free days every week. 

Need help? 

Call the Alcohol Drug Helpline on 0800 787 797, free txt 8681, or visit alcoholdrughelp.org.nz.

References: Media Release_2022 beverage trends- summer options supporting local and bold flavours to sip and savour_140122