The number of craft breweries in New Zealand is continuing to expand but the sector faces the challenge of increasing its modestly growing share of the beer market, a report says.
From 2011 to 2016, the number of small breweries grew about 16% year-on- year, the latest annual ANZ Craft Beers Industry Insights says.
There are now nearly 200 producing more than 1600 unique craft beers.
In 2016, production volume grew 22% and revenue by up to 32% compared with 2015, while small breweries’ share of the total beer market value gained 1.5 percentage points to 10%.
ANZ’s John Bennett says small breweries have become big business and the sector is employing 400-plus more people than in 2008.
“New brands are appearing all the time and together the industry is changing the way many New Zealanders think about and consume beer,” he said.
With so much choice it was a great time to be a consumer but brewers were finding intensifying competition for retail shelf space.
“I am confident we will continue to see growth but brewers need to be smart about how they sell their product,” Mr Bennett said.
“It is about more than just good beer.”
He said exporting remains a challenge, with exports remaining static about 10% of production.
Considerations included cool chain continuity affecting the shelf life of more volatile styles of craft beer.
Mr Bennett said it was a challenge worth solving the more mature New Zealand wine sector sends about 80% of its annual product overseas for export earnings of more than $1.6 billion.