April 20, 2009

Beer’s dominance weakening in Canada

Sales of alcoholic beverages in Canada increased 2.2 percent to 58.8 million gallons in the year ending March 31, 2008, Statistics Canada reported Monday.

Beer stores and agencies sold $8.6 billion worth of beer in 2007-2008, up 2.4 percent from the previous year, but the agency noted beer's market dominance is shrinking.

In 1993, beer accounted for 53 percent of dollar sales, spirits 29 percent and wine 18 percent. By 2008, beer's share had declined to 46 percent, spirits slipped to 25 percent and wine had captured 29 percent of the market.

Wine sales totaled $5.4 billion in 2007/2008, up 7.3 percent from the previous year, and much of the strength can be attributed to the rising popularity of red wines, StatsCan said. Sales of red wine, including both still and sparkling wines, accounted for 62 percent of the total sales.

As for hard liquors, sales during the year were $4.7 billion, up 4.4 percent from the previous year. The report said the gain was due mainly to a 9.1 percent increase in vodka sales. Whiskey, scotch and bourbon accounted for almost 28 percent of all spirits sales in 2007-2008, the report said.