New Zealand consumers have the spirit(s)

Think New Zealand and what adult beverage comes to mind?

Bourbon, of course.

Don't believe me? Just check with the Distilled Spirits Association of New Zealand and they'll tell you that their latest statistics show bourbon is the nation's drink of choice. Total per capita consumption of spirits and spirit-based drinks increased by 1.8% in calendar 2005, continuing the category’s steady growth trend over the last few years.

Other spirits in the top five for New Zealand consumers by volume in 2005 were (2.) Scotch, (3.) gin, (4.) vodka and (5.) dark rum.

Spirits' share of per capita volume has risen to 23% from 22% in 2000, while wine was 33% up from 30%. Beer, as is the case globally, dropped precipitously, from 48% to 44%.

Speaking of Kiwi land spirits, the country's only whiskey distillery is broadening its production and adding two lines.

Southern Distilling Co. is best known for its Hokonui Whiskey, a refinement of a basic moonshine recipe. It now will begin producing The Southerner, a whiskey liqueur sweetened with manuka honey, and a legal version of the irish moonshine known as Poitin (pronounced poteen or posheen), to which they may add a bit of sweetner

Owners Malcolm Willmott and Peter Wheeler say they expect to ramp up production to 50,000 litres a year. Willmott said Poitin would be released for St. Patrick's Day, March 17.

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