Research from New Zealand Institute of Economic Research (NZIER) has revealed that the first COVID-19 lockdown from March to May this year cost the local brewing industry an estimated $300 million in sales.

The findings released today, follow research commissioned by The Brewers Association of New Zealand to key evaluate areas of the Brewing industry and its contribution to the economy.

The study reveals that from grain to glass, the New Zealand brewing industry was worth $2.7 billion in the year to March 2020 but that COVID-19 significantly impacted the sector.

“The value of the sector and GDP data in this report are for the year-end March 2020 and hence the full impact of COVID-19 is not yet captured in the data,” says Dylan Firth, Executive Director of The Brewers Association of New Zealand.

“However, on-licence sales are likely to be the most impacted by COVID-19, as both a lack of tourism, forced closures and social distancing requirements will have impacted sales on-licenced establishments.”

“The closure of licenced establishments due to the initial lockdown cost the industry an estimated $300 million in sales,” he says. “Even when taking into account a slight increase in off-premise sales in the June quarter.”

Firth says over the coming year, the New Zealand brewing industry faces challenges with reduced demand from international visitors, as COVID-19 related border closures have reduced tourist numbers to a trickle.

“Prior to COVID-19, tourists spent $400 million on beer each year,” he says.

However, despite a challenging year, Firth says shows that the brewing industry supports more than 7000 jobs through brewing and the purchase of intermediate inputs to the brewing process, paying over $470m in wages.

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