Seven insights from New Zealand’s pub market

New Zealand OPUS
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CGA’s On Premise User Survey (OPUS) shows how pubs and taverns are integral to drinking out in New Zealand. Around a third (32%) of On Premise users visit them at least monthly, and these people tend to be highly engaged, with three quarters (73%) visiting at least once a month. Here are seven more insights from the market to help suppliers make the most of opportunities.


1 Pub visitors are heavier spenders

Pub users are slightly older than the average On Premise user in New Zealand—60% are aged 35-plus—and they are much heavier spenders too. Their average monthly outlay on eating and drinking out is £209, compared to the all-consumer average of £173.


2 Range is crucial

Pub visitors are motivated by a good drinks offer. Nearly a third (31%) say they are influenced in their choice of venues by the range of drinks—13 percentage points more than the average consumer (18%).


3 Big cities dominate the premium market

Upmarket and premium pubs are heavily concentrated in big cities, OPUS shows. Two thirds of those who only use these types of pubs live in Auckland (43%), Wellington (12%) or Canterbury (11%).


4 After-work drinks is a key occasion

After-work drinks is the most important daypart for many pubs in New Zealand. Among consumers who go out for drinks every week, nearly half (44%) do so for this occasion every week.


5 Drinkers like familiar brands

Many pub users stay loyal to the drinks they like. Nearly half (44%) of those visiting pubs for after-work drinks say their choice is affected by the availability of their favourite brand, putting it on a par with price (45%) as a factor.


6 Domestic beer tops craft and imports

Domestic beer is the category of choice for a third (33%) of pub users, putting it ahead of both craft (26%) and imported (25%) beer. All three rank ahead of other drinks categories like still wine (21%), soft drinks (21%) and cider (20%).


7 Whisk(e)y leads spirits

Whiskey is the top ranking spirit among pub users. Just over half (54%) choose it while out, placing it ahead of vodka (51%). Gin (35%), rum (31%) and tequila (29%) complete the top five spirits. The authenticity and reputation of a brand rank nearly as high as quality and value in the list of influences on drinkers’ choices.

Our research shows that drinks range plays a key part in driving footfall to pubs, and that consumers are looking for their favourite brands at the bar,” says Graeme Loudon, CGA’s managing director, EMEA & APAC: “Whilst domestic Beer is the most popular drink in pubs, there is a huge opportunity for Spirits to grow share & volume by building a stronger understanding of the consumer path to purchase. We found that 1 in 2 Whisk(e)y drinkers who visit pubs, don’t drink Whisk(e)y in pubs, convincing this consumer to switch to Whisk(e)y on their pub visits by stocking their favourite brands and executing the perfect serve can help drive share and therefore volume for Spirits.

CGA’s analysis is based on a survey of 1,500 nationally representative On Premise users in New Zealand in March 2021 and is summarised in a free report that is available to download. To learn more about CGA’s exclusive research into the New Zealand market, and opportunities for bespoke analysis to support suppliers’ sales and marketing strategies, contact Graeme Loudon at

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