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In 2021-2022 annual alcohol sales in Canada decreased overall for the first time in a decade. While sales volume was down, alcohol sales revenue was up during the same time period. The revenue increase is a result of inflation, according to Statistics Canada. Prices for alcohol purchased from stores rose by 2.8% in 2021-2022. Sales volume on the other hand, declined by 1.2% – the equivalent of 9.5 fewer standard alcohol drinks purchased per week for every Canadian of legal drinking age.
Wine sales volume took the biggest hit, decreasing by 4% – the largest decrease in wine sales since Statistics Canada began tracking sales data in 1949. Though wine sales volume declined, revenue from wine increased by 2.1%. While wine accounted for 43.4% of all alcohol sold in Quebec and 33.2% of sales in BC, beer remained the alcohol purchase of choice for most Canadians at 34.9% of alcohol sold in Canada.
Notwithstanding beer’s popularity, beer sales volume dropped by 2.8% – an all-time low and the third consecutive year of decreased beer sales. The decline in beer purchased is the equivalent of 3.7 fewer bottles of beer per week per Canadian of legal drinking age. Beer has lost 8.8% of its market share in the past decade while ciders, coolers, and spirits claimed the lion’s share of that lost market.
Source: “Control and sale of alcoholic beverages and cannabis, April 1, 2021 to March 31, 2022”, Statistics Canada, February 24, 2023.
Why Are Canadians Buying Less Alcohol?
The reduction in annual alcohol sales is likely the result of many factors: inflation, increase in non-alcohol beverage choices, healthier lifestyles, and new guidelines on alcohol consumption.
Millennials, a huge spending group, are driving change in many markets. Millennials make healthier choices, eat healthier foods, exercise more and smoke less than any previous generation. Further reading: “Why Liquor Stores Should Stock & Market Low-Alcohol Beer & Wine”.
Get Help from BC’s Retail Liquor Experts
Thrive Liquor & Cannabis Advisors, BC’s premier liquor and cannabis business consultants, helps liquor retailers stay on top of market changes. We can help implement operational improvements that keep your business healthy in tough times and all times.