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Control and sale of alcoholic beverages

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For the year ending March 31, 2009 (Previous release)

Beer and liquor stores and agencies sold $19.4 billion worth of alcoholic beverages during the year ending March 31, 2009, up 3.0% from the previous year.

The growth in dollar value reflected a combination of factors: the increase in sales of imported spirits and beer compared with domestic products, and a 1.0% average increase in alcoholic beverage prices during the fiscal year.

In litres of absolute alcohol, the volume of sales of alcoholic beverages increased 1.6% to 226.4 million litres. A litre of absolute alcohol is a litre of pure alcohol, free of water. The volume of sales of alcoholic beverages in litres of absolute alcohol is calculated by multiplying the sales volume by the percentage of alcohol content.

The net income realized by provincial and territorial liquor authorities, combined with other alcohol-related revenue, such as liquor licenses and permits, reached $5.4 billion in 2009, up 3.6% from the previous year. Saskatchewan, Nunavut and Nova Scotia reported the largest increases.

Beer dominance weakening

Beer stores and agencies sold $8.8 billion worth of beer during the year ending March 31, 2009, up 2.2% from the previous year. Quebec, British Columbia and Alberta were the largest contributors to this growth.

Beer remained by far the most popular alcoholic beverage in terms of both volume and dollar value, although its market share declined.

In 1993, beer peaked at 53% of dollar sales and wine accounted for 18%. By 2009, the market share of beer had declined to 46%, while wine had captured 29%.

Note to readers

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.

Consumption of alcoholic beverages would include all these sales, plus homemade wine and beer, wine and beer manufactured through brew-on-premises operations, sales in duty-free shops and any unrecorded transactions.

Similarly, statistics on sales of alcoholic beverages by dollar value of sales should not be equated with consumer spending on alcoholic beverages. Sales data refer to the revenues received by liquor authorities, wineries and breweries. These revenues include sales to licensed establishments, such as bars and restaurants.

Therefore, sales data do not reflect the total amount spent by consumers on alcoholic beverages, since the prices paid in licensed establishments are greater than the price paid by those establishments to the liquor authorities.

Per capita data are based on the population aged 15 and over.

The fiscal year period for liquor authorities covers the period April 1 to March 31.

In terms of volume, beer stores and agencies sold 2.3 billion litres of beer in 2009, a 0.9% increase from the previous year. On a per capita basis, beer sales have declined 28% from their peak of 115.2 litres in 1976 to 83.5 litres in 2009.

Sales of alcoholic beverages per capita 15 years and over: Volume

The growth in volume of sales of imported beer continued to outpace that of domestic products. The volume of imported beer sold increased 7.8% in 2009, while sales of domestic products remained unchanged.

By volume, imported beer has more than doubled its market share in the last decade. In 2009, imported beer had captured 13.0% of the beer market in Canada, up from 6.0% in 1999.

Red wines boost wine sales

Wineries and liquor stores and agencies sold $5.7 billion worth of wines during the year ending March 31, 2009, up 4.6% from the previous year.

In terms of volume, wine sales reached 441.4 million litres, a 3.8% increase. The growth in sales of domestic wine outpaced the growth of imported wine sales.

Much of the strength in wine sales can be attributed to the rising popularity of red wines. Sales of red wine, which includes both red and rosé wines, accounted for 64% of the total volume of red and white wine sold.

Dollar sales of red wine have more than doubled (+161%) between 2000 and 2009, while white wine dollar sales rose at a much slower pace (+50%) during the same period. Just over 24% of all red wines sold in Canada were domestic wines, compared with almost 39% of white wines.

Vodka increases spirits sales

Liquor stores and agencies sold $4.9 billion worth of spirits during the year ending March 31, 2009, up 2.9% from the previous year. This gain was due mainly to a 5.6% increase in vodka sales.

The volume of sales of spirits decrease  0.2% in 2009 to 210.3 million litres. Canadian products represented 67.5% of these sales, down from 69.0% in 2008.

Although domestic spirits dominated the spirits market, the sales volume of imported spirits increased 4.7% to 68.4 million litres. Sales of Canadian spirits declined 2.4% to 141.9 million litres.

Whisky-type products, such as whisky, scotch and bourbon, were still the largest share, accounting for 27% of all total spirits sales in 2009. Just over 67% of these sales were Canadian products.

Available on CANSIM: tables 183-0006 and 183-0015 to 183-0020.

Definitions, data sources and methods: survey number 1726.

Data tables on sales of alcoholic beverages are available from the National economic accounts module of our website.

Data are also available through custom and special tabulation. For more information on products and services, contact Client Services (613-951-0767; fe-pid-dipinfo@statcan.gc.ca), Public Sector Statistics Division.

For more information, or to enquire about the concepts, methods or data quality of this release, contact Jo Ann MacMillan (613-951-0171; joann.macmillan@statcan.gc.ca), Public Sector Statistics Division.

Table 1

Net income of provincial and territorial liquor authorities and revenue from the sales of alcoholic beverages at March 31 
  2008 2009 2008 to 2009
  $ thousands % change
Canada 5,239,825 5,426,005 3.6
Newfoundland and Labrador 118,141 124,262 5.2
Prince Edward Island 27,853 29,050 4.3
Nova Scotia 200,463 214,375 6.9
New Brunswick 146,420 154,334 5.4
Quebec 920,568 973,066 5.7
Ontario 1,854,012 1,883,422 1.6
Manitoba 220,756 230,652 4.5
Saskatchewan 173,630 197,150 13.5
Alberta 678,240 684,468 0.9
British Columbia 866,234 900,135 3.9
Yukon 9,470 10,015 5.8
Northwest Territories 22,327 23,236 4.1
Nunavut 1,711 1,840 7.5
Note(s):
Data may not add up to totals as a result of rounding.

Table 2

Sales of alcoholic beverages at March 31 
  2009
  Beer Wine Spirits Total
  $ thousands
Canada 8,821,826 5,661,805 4,883,987 19,367,617
Newfoundland and Labrador 201,473 47,503 123,441 372,417
Prince Edward Island 38,953 13,984 25,587 78,524
Nova Scotia 290,948 109,791 194,021 594,760
New Brunswick 233,157 72,971 108,446 414,574
Quebec 2,414,741 1,918,645 604,930 4,938,316
Ontario 2,975,242 1,885,088 1,863,853 6,724,183
Manitoba 267,474 119,911 225,566 612,951
Saskatchewan 256,064 70,057 207,146 533,267
Alberta 936,723 484,440 670,479 2,091,641
British Columbia 1,166,622 925,737 829,042 2,921,401
Yukon 16,367 6,543 10,420 33,330
Northwest Territories 20,248 6,836 19,798 46,881
Nunavut 3,815 300 1,257 5,372
  2008 to 2009
  % change
Canada 2.2 4.6 2.9 3.0
Newfoundland and Labrador 3.0 9.9 5.1 4.6
Prince Edward Island 7.2 6.3 1.7 5.2
Nova Scotia 3.8 6.2 4.9 4.6
New Brunswick 1.2 6.9 5.4 3.3
Quebec 3.6 5.1 3.2 4.1
Ontario 0.2 3.7 1.9 1.6
Manitoba 4.5 5.5 4.0 4.5
Saskatchewan 7.2 6.1 7.5 7.2
Alberta 2.4 1.5 2.3 2.2
British Columbia 2.1 6.2 2.7 3.5
Yukon 1.6 3.1 4.1 2.6
Northwest Territories 2.8 6.0 3.7 3.7
Nunavut 5.8 6.0 5.8 5.8
Note(s):
Data may not add up to totals as a result of rounding.

Table 3

Sales of alcoholic beverages per capita 15 years and over at March 31 
  2009
  Beer Wine Spirits Total
  $
Canada 318.3 204.3 176.2 698.7
Newfoundland and Labrador 468.0 110.3 286.7 865.1
Prince Edward Island 335.4 120.4 220.3 676.1
Nova Scotia 366.6 138.3 244.5 749.4
New Brunswick 369.2 115.5 171.7 656.5
Quebec 370.3 294.2 92.8 757.3
Ontario 277.7 176.0 174.0 627.7
Manitoba 273.8 122.8 230.9 627.5
Saskatchewan 311.8 85.3 252.2 649.3
Alberta 319.2 165.1 228.5 712.8
British Columbia 315.5 250.3 224.2 790.0
Yukon 597.8 239.0 380.6 1,217.4
Northwest Territories and Nunavut 434.6 128.9 380.2 943.6
Note(s):
Data may not add up to totals as a result of rounding.