Brewers and bar owners blame a cultural shift towards spirits and wine for a drop in beer sales.
Figures from Statistics New Zealand show the volume of beer being sold fell by 6.6% in 2012.
The Australian & New Zealand Brewers Association said the drop is a continuation of a long term trend away from beer towards wine and spirits.
It said last year's figures are particularly bad due to a combination of poor summer weather and tough economic conditions.
However, the association said high strength craft beers are bucking the trend and gaining in popularity.