The Hamilton Spectator

Canada’s booze market in low spirits


Canadians bought less booze last year, according to findings from a new report.

The volume of beer sold per person in Canada last year reached an all-time low, while the wine sales based on volume also experience­d its largest decline since tracking began in 1949, according to Statistics Canada.

These new findings released Friday offer a glimpse into Canadians’ alcohol-purchasing habits — just as updated drinking guidelines and a new tax increase set to take effect in April promise to further alter the country’s alcohol industry.

The report, which examined the sale of alcoholic beverages between April 2021 and March 2022, found the volume of beer sold during that period decreased by 2.8 per cent, continuing the trend of steadily declining beer sales from the mid-1970s.

Statistics Canada also reported that wine sales decreased significan­tly last year, down four per cent in 2021 to 2022.

“This was the largest decrease in the volume of wine sold since Statistics Canada began tracking alcohol sales in 1949,” the government agency noted. Despite the drop in beer sales, it continues to be the most popular alcoholic beverage across much of the country. Wine sales exceeded that of beer in only Quebec and British Columbia, according to the report.

Despite declining beer and wine sales, ciders and coolers continue to grow in popularity, the report found. The total value of sales for both was up 13.5 per cent in 2021-22 compared with the previous year.

Overall alcohol sales based on volume decreased by 1.2 per cent last year in Canada, marking the first decline since 2013-14 and the largest drop in over a decade. While the value of alcohol sales did increase last year, much of that was driven by inflation, according to Statistics Canada.

The agency stressed that statistics on alcohol sales should not be equated with consumptio­n trends. Sales volumes only include “sales as reported by the liquor authoritie­s and their agencies” and exclude sales from u-brew, which sell ingredient­s for consumers to make their own alcoholic beverages.

The new statistics, however, come ahead of a planned federal tax increase of 6.3 per cent to all beer, wine and spirits, set to take effect April 1.

The Statistics Canada numbers also come as Canadians are rethinking their relationsh­ip with alcohol after new guidelines released last month by the Canadian Centre on Substance Use and Addiction stated that no amount of alcohol is good for health and anything beyond two glasses a week could increase the risk of alcohol-related consequenc­es.

Newspapers in English

Newspapers from Canada