Wine is gaining ground as the drink of choice among Canadians, enjoying a 4.9% sales increase last year as the country’s beer sales continued their long-term decline.
According to data for the fiscal year to 31 March 2013, which was released yesterday by government agency Statistics Canada, the country’s licensed outlets sold $21.4 billion (£11.7bn) of alcoholic beverages during this period, an increase of 2.2% on the previous year.
While beer retains by far the biggest proportion of this spend at $9.1bn, or 2.3bn litres, that figure represents a 0.1% decline on 2012 for a category whose value market share has slipped steadily during the last decade as wine has grown in popularity (see chart below).
Compared to beer’s 50% value market share in 2003, when wine held just 24% of the market, in 2013 beer accounted for 43% of alcoholic beverage value sales, while wine had increased its share to 32%.
This growth from the wine category saw its sales reach $6.8bn last year, with the province of Alberta seeing the biggest increase at 11.0%. Canada’s wine volume sales also increased, showing a 3.9% rise on 2012 to reach 506.6 million litres.
Within this growth, imported wine sales rose by 4.3%, outstripping the performance of their domestic counterparts, whose sales nevertheless increased by a positive 3.3%.
Red wine is also seeing a steady rise in popularity, increasing its market share in 2013 to 56% of total sales compared to 51% in 2003. Despite the growing reputation of Canada’s own wine producing regions, 77% of all red wine sold in the country is imported, compared to 61% of white wine.
Source: Statistics Canada
Although smaller than the growth enjoyed by wine, Canadian spirit sales also increased last year, with a rise of 2.9% to $5.4bn. This uplift was driven in particular by liqueurs, whose sales rose by 9.5%, although rum and vodka also put in strong performances with growth of 4.1% and 3.9% respectively.
As with wine, imported spirits grew faster at 3.8% than the domestic industry, which posted a 2.2% gain, selling 148.0m litres. Despite this faster rate of growth, however, imported spirits account for just 33% of Canada’s total spirit sales, although this one third share has increased from 26% back in 2003.
Within the country’s imported spirit sales, the US and UK account for the largest share in terms of country of origin at 27.3% each, while at 27% whisky holds the largest share in terms of category, followed by vodka at 24%.
On a per capita basis, Canadians last year bought 78 litres of beer, 17.4 litres of wine and 7.6 litres of spirits per person.