According to a new report released by trade association Beer Canada, Canadians are drinking fewer brews. From 2013 to 2012, overall beer drinking, including imported and domestic sales, declined by 1.6 percent. Since 2008, it’s down 3.2 percent. Even in Newfoundland, where per capita consumption is the highest, there was a 3.6 percent decline from 2012.
These figures represent a downward spiral that’s been in the works for decades: Canadians are drinking less beer and more wine. Peak beer-drinking occurred in 1975, when the average Canadian swigged a whopping 106.50 litres each year. Since then, consumption has slowly decreased from 77.10 litres in 2010 to 64 litres in 2013.
But before you begin questioning your national identity, (and subsequently, start chugging a Canadian whilst watching this national treasure of a commercial), the report also had some positive things to say about the ailing ale climate as well.
Firstly, Canadians love craft beer.
The number of licensed breweries in Canada has nearly doubled in the past five years. In 2013 alone, 50 new breweries opened across the country, with Quebec and Ontario leading by province. And for the first time in history, can sales have surpassed bottle sales. Canned beer now makes up 52.5 percent of the domestic market—evidence of the rapidly growing craft beer movement that tends to favour the Tallboy can.
Secondly, Alberta actually experienced an increase in sales, one of only two provinces and territories with numbers in the black. (The other being British Columbia.)
With the third highest per capita consumption in the country, Alberta has seen an increase in sales by 1.6 percent. And the Prairies also became home to 60 new breweries, meaning that the brewing industry is reaching smaller towns and expanding outside of the traditional Ontario and Quebec markets.
So while the numbers may seem bleak at a cursory glance, it looks like 2014 and beyond will be great for craft beer.