The New Zealand Brewers Guild has named a 50 per cent increase in the number of craft breweries operating in the country as the leading factor in the “explosion of beer flavours” on offer in the country.

A recent survey by the guild found that there was a distinct rise in the number of craft breweries – producing less than 40 hectolitres annually – to a total of 30.

In a statement, guild president Ralph Bungard credited this upswing with a change in the public’s perception of beer. “The increased number of small brewers and the volume of the beer that they are producing suggest that the public are changing their drinking habits,” he says. “There is an explosion of beer flavours and styles available to consumers, and that means more of the public are finding a beer that suits their taste and lifestyle.”

Additionally, while 42 per cent of the survey’s participants already exported their beer to foreign markets, another 32 per cent confirmed that they expect to expand their market to encompass exporting within the next two years.

“It is very encouraging to see the growth and diversification in the industry,” says Bungard. “And it is a good sign that most brewers consider that they will look to be exporting.”

There was further good news in the report with small to medium sized breweries – those producing between 40,000 to 100,000 litres per year – recording the most consistent increase in production, with their average output driving up approximately seven per cent every six months.

It will be interesting to see the results from next week’s New Zealand Beer Awards, to be held in Wellington on August 16, as the trophies are handed out to the best and brightest Kiwi and international brewers.

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