Joe Wiebe, one of the directors of Victoria Beer Week, speaks to the crowd at an event last year at the Victoria Public Market. Among Canadians, British Columbians purchase the least amount of beer as a share of total sales. Christian Tisdale Photography

British Columbians drink less beer than other Canadians

Despite proliferation of micro-breweries, B.C. records lowest share of beer sold in Canada

British Columbians — surprisingly — do not appear to like beer, as they buy less than other Canadians as a share of total sales.

According to new figures from Statistics Canada, beer accounted for 34 per cent of all alcohol sales in British Columbia in 2017-2018, the least among Canadian provinces and territories. Beer accounted for 60.7 per cent of all alcohol sales in Nunavut.

Total beer sales have generally remained flat across Canada. Total beer sales rose 0.8 per cent to $9.2 billion during 2017-2018, and one per cent over the past 10 years, a figure that will likely strike many as surprising when held up against the proliferation of micro-breweries and beer varieties, especially in B.C. Beer’s overall share is 39.7 per cent of alcohol sales across the country.

RELATED: B.C. locations listed among top beer cities in Canada

Wine, by contrast, is becoming increasingly popular, while not yet replacing beer. During 2017-2018, wine sales grew 4.6 per cent to $7.5 billion. As a share of the overall market, wine sales increased 0.4 per cent to account for 32.4 per cent of total alcoholic beverage sales.

Among Canadian provinces and territories, wine was most popular in Quebec, where the sales share reached 43.8 per cent. Saskatchewan buys the least amount of wine, accounting for 15.2 per cent.

When drinking wine, Canadians prefer red over white, with reds accounting for 52.8 per cent of total sales, followed by white wines (32.2 per cent) and sparkling wines (5.9 per cent). Rosé, fortified and other wines accounted for the remaining wine sales.

Spirits, meanwhile, accounted for 23.7 per cent of total alcohol sales in 2017-2018, up from 23.4 per cent in 2016-2017. Ciders, coolers and other refreshment beverages accounted for 4.2 per cent of total sales of alcohol in 2017/2018, up from four per cent in 2016-2017.

In total, liquor stores, agencies and other retail outlets sold $23.2 billion worth of alcoholic beverages, up 3.1 per cent from the previous year. The government’s cut, meanwhile, rose by two per cent to $12.2 billion in 2017-2018.

Overall, the volume of alcohol sold reached 3,098 million litres — the equivalent of about 507 standard drinks per person over the legal drinking age in Canada.


Like us on Facebook and follow us on Twitter

wolfgang.depner@saanichnews.com

Get local stories you won't find anywhere else right to your inbox.
Sign up here

Just Posted

NDP headquarters on election night, Oct. 24, 2020. (Katya Slepian/Black Press Media)
ELECTION 2020: Live blog from B.C. party headquarters

BC NDP projected to win majority government – but celebrations will look different this election

North Coast BC NDP MLA Incumbent is seen with her wife Andrea Wilmot and their son Lua, as well as their dog Duncan. Preliminary results on election night Oct. 24 show Rice is in for a third term. (Photo: K-J Millar/The Northern View)
Jennifer Rice is North Coast MLA for third term

Preliminary election results show NDP Majority government

B.C. Green Party leader Sonia Furstenau outlines her party's climate action platform at Nanaimo's Vancouver Island Conference Centre earlier this month. (News Bulletin file photo)
Green leader Furstenau declared victor in her home riding on Vancouver Island

Cowichan Valley voters elect freshly minted party leader for her second term

John Horgan has been re-elected the MLA for Langford-Juan de Fuca. (File-Black Press)
Horgan trounces challengers to be re-elected in his Vancouver Island riding

MLA has represented constituency of Langford-Juan de Fuca and its predecessors since 2005

DriveBC webcam shot of Highway 20 near Anahim Lake Friday, Oct. 23 at 11:30 a.m. shows snow-covered roads. A travel advisory is in effect. (DriveBC webcam image)
Travel advisory in effect for Highway 20 from Williams Lake west to Firvale

Winter driving conditions continue to have an impact

NDP Leader John Horgan celebrates his election win in the British Columbia provincial election in downtown Vancouver, B.C., Saturday, Oct. 24, 2020. THE CANADIAN PRESS/Jonathan Hayward
Horgan celebrates projected majority NDP government, but no deadline for $1,000 deposit

Premier-elect says majority government will allow him to tackle issues across all of B.C.

FILE – Prime Minister Justin Trudeau greets Premier John Horgan during a press conference at the BC Transit corporate office following an announcement about new investments to improve transit for citizens in the province while in Victoria on Thursday, July 18, 2019. THE CANADIAN PRESS/Chad Hipolito
Trudeau congratulates Horgan on NDP’s election victory in British Columbia

Final count won’t be available for three weeks due to the record number of 525,000 ballots cast by mail

Comedic actor Seth Rogen, right, and business partner Evan Goldberg pose in this undated handout photo. When actor Seth Rogen was growing up and smoking cannabis in Vancouver, he recalls there was a constant cloud of shame around the substance that still lingers. Rogen is determined to change that. (Maarten de Boer ohoto)
Seth Rogen talks about fighting cannabis stigma, why pot should be as accepted as beer

‘I smoke weed all day and every day and have for 20 years’

Provincial Green Party leader Sonia Furstenau speaks at Provincial Green Party headquarters at the Delta Victoria Ocean Pointe in Victoria. (Arnold Lim / Black Press)
VIDEO: Furstenau leads BC Greens to win first riding outside of Vancouver Island

Sonia Furstenau became leader of BC Greens one week before snap election was called

Is it time to start thinking about greener ways to package cannabis?

Packaging suppliers are still figuring eco-friendly and affordable packaging options that fit the mandates of Cannabis Regulations

Join Black Press Media and Do Some Good

Pay it Forward program supports local businesses in their community giving

NDP Leader John Horgan elbow bumps NDP candidate Coquitlam-Burke Mountain candidate Fin Donnelly following a seniors round table in Coquitlam, B.C., Tuesday, October 20, 2020. THE CANADIAN PRESS/Jonathan Hayward
Horgan, NDP head for majority in B.C. election results

Record number of mail-in ballots may shift results

The Canadian border is pictured at the Peace Arch Canada/USA border crossing in Surrey, B.C. Friday, March 20, 2020. More than 4.6 million people have arrived in Canada since the border closed last March and fewer than one-quarter of them were ordered to quarantine while the rest were deemed “essential” and exempted from quarantining. THE CANADIAN PRESS/Jonathan Hayward
Majority of international travellers since March deemed ‘essential’, avoid quarantine

As of Oct. 20, 3.5 million travellers had been deemed essential, and another 1.1 million were considered non-essential

Canada’s Chief Public Health Officer Theresa Tam responds to a question during a news conference Friday October 23, 2020 in Ottawa. Canada’s top physician says she fears the number of COVID-19 hospitalizations and deaths may increase in the coming weeks as the second wave continues to drive the death toll toward 10,000. THE CANADIAN PRESS/Adrian Wyld
Canada’s top doctor warns severe illness likely to rise, trailing spike in COVID-19 cases

Average daily deaths from virus reached 23 over the past seven days, up from six deaths six weeks ago

Most Read