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CANADA: Dominance of beer as the alcoholic drink of choice is declining

Beer and liquor stores and agencies sold $19.9 billion worth of alcoholic beverages during the fiscal year ending March 31, 2010, up 2.8% from the previous year. Beer remained the alcoholic drink of choice for Canadians, Statistics Canada reported on Wednesday.

The growth in dollar value reflected a combination of factors, including an increase in sales of imported wine and beer as well as a 1.1% average increase in alcoholic beverage prices during the fiscal year.

In litres of absolute alcohol, the volume of sales of alcoholic beverages increased 1.3% to 229.5 million litres.

The net income realized by provincial and territorial liquor authorities, combined with other alcohol-related revenue, such as liquor licenses and permits, reached $5.6 billion in 2010, up 2.5% from the previous year. British Columbia reported a decline of 1.5% in net income, while the rest of the provinces and territories experienced growth.

Beer: Imported brands still on the rise

Beer and liquor stores and agencies sold $9.2 billion worth of beer during the fiscal year ending March 31, 2010, up 3.8% from the previous year. Newfoundland and Labrador had the largest increase in sales at 14.7%.

Although beer remained the alcoholic drink of choice in terms of both volume and dollar value, its dominance continued to decline as consumers turned more to wine.

A decade ago, beer had a market share of 52% in terms of dollar value, compared with 23% for wine. By 2010, the market share for beer had declined to 46%, while wine accounted for 29%.

(Statistics on sales of alcoholic beverages by volume should not be equated with data on consumption. Sales volumes include only sales by liquor authorities and their agents, and sales by wineries and breweries and outlets that operate under license from the liquor authorities.)

25 Apr. 2011

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