Brewers herald 60 % drop in under-age hazardous drinking

The Brewers’ Association is encouraged by the latest Ministry of Health data which shows that consumption of alcohol by 15-17 year olds is continuing its downward trend, with the incidence of hazardous drinking halving over the past decade.

In 2006/2007 the New Zealand Health Survey found that 8.4% of 15-17 year olds were consuming six drinks in one session on a weekly basis.  In the 2015/16 survey, that figure had decreased to 3.2%.

Director of External Relations for the Brewers Association Kevin Sinnott, says that in real terms, that means 13,000 fewer New Zealand teenagers are drinking hazardously every week.

“Across a month, the data shows an even sharper drop in teenage alcohol consumption,” Mr Sinnott said. “But for us, the most positive statistic for the Brewers Association and our members is the number of young people abstaining or delaying when they are starting to drink alcohol at all.

“The recently updated   New Zealand Health Survey found that 42.8 % of 15-17 year olds did not drink alcohol in the last 12 months, a dramatic change from 2006/07, when only 24% abstained.”

Mr Sinnott said there is still work to do, but the positive campaigns industry and Government have run over the last decade are starting to pay dividends.

“The vast majority of New Zealanders now consume alcohol responsibly. No longer is it socially acceptable to be intoxicated at a family barbecue, or be asked to leave a cricket ground because you are too drunk."

Mr Sinnott said the 2015/16 New Zealand Health survey backs up anecdotal evidence from his own family.

“I have four teenage nieces and nephews and their attitude towards alcohol is vastly different to that of previous generations, mine included. Young people are making more responsible choices, and we are committed to working with Government to make this positive social change continues”


For more information, contact Kevin Sinnott on 021 883 699.

The Brewers Association is committed to the promotion of beer as an enjoyable and refreshing lower-alcohol alternative to other alcohol categories. Our members DB Breweries, Lion, Carlton United Breweries and Cooper’s Brewery produce approximately 95% of the beer brewed in the trans-tasman market. Beer is a significant contributor to the economy and provides a number of social benefits as an icon of New Zealand and Australian culture.

The Brewers Association is committed to the promotion of responsible consumption of alcohol. The association believes in the need for targeted intervention that will successfully reduce harm for specific impact groups.


Ministry of Health. 2016. Annual Update of Key Results 2015/16: New Zealand Health Survey. Wellington: Ministry of Health.

Ministry of Health. 2008. A Portrait of Health: Key results of the 2006/07 New Zealand Health Survey. Wellington: Ministry of Health.