Kiwi love affair with craft beer gets stronger

Kiwi love affair with craft beer gets stronger

Craft beer is more popular than ever in New Zealand.

According to the 2016 ANZ Craft Beer Industry Insights report, released today, craft beer sales have increased by 35 percent in past year.

It now makes up 15 percent of the entire New Zealand beer market - up from 9 percent three years ago.

Brewer Kelly Ryan, from Wellington's Fork & Brewer, says Kiwi attitudes towards beer is changing.

"If you look at New Zealand food culture, we're not about meat and three veg anymore, and I think the same thing is happening with our drinking culture."

There are now 168 craft breweries in New Zealand producing more than 1500 unique craft beers for the local market.

The popularity of craft beer is evident when considering Wellington's Beervana Festival.

Held at Westpac Stadium, this year's festival will for the first time include brewers' stalls around the entire stadium concourse - in total more than 50 brewers and over 300 different beers.   

Beervana's Beth Brash says the craft beer industry can be hugely beneficial for New Zealand's economy. 

"Beer tourism is a thing now - and I think that's incredible exciting for Wellington."

That's been underlined by the arrival of a delegation of tourism officials from Portland, Oregon.

They've flown all the way here just for Beervana.

"[Craft beer] is a major economic driver - both in tourism but also in jobs," says Travel Portland President and chief executive Jeff Miller. "So it makes a big difference on how we do what we do in Portland by having that great craft beer scene."