How Big is the Canadian Alcohol Industry?

Beer is the most popular type of alcohol in Canada. Editorial Credit: Adam Wilson on Unsplash
  • Cider had steady growth even though it had the smallest share.
  • Quebec recorded the lowest amount of spirit sales in the country.
  • In the 2016/2017 fiscal year, wine made up of 32% of the total alcohol consumption.

As of 2017, the total alcohol industry was valued at $26.80 billion. This is shared between the major alcoholic drinks: beer, wines, cider, and spirits, with beers taking the biggest share of the market.

In 2016/2017, around 3,074 million liters of alcohol were sold, which was a 0.1% increment from the previous fiscal year. Beer accounted for 40.6% of these total sales. The government revenues and income from alcoholic drinks sales increased by 3.9% to $11.9 billion. These revenues include taxes such as excise taxes, permits, and licenses.

The alcohol industry has seen a steady increase over the years due to a number of reasons. The population growth in Canada provides a ready market for the industry. In addition to this, the high employment rate in the country, which means a high-income rate, directly translates to a high purchasing and spending power hence allowing the population of legal age be able to afford the alcoholic drinks. Last but not least, the introduction of new products such as green and natural beers, and a variety of imported products, such as new wines, has also aided in the growth of the industry.

Alcoholic drinks are available in two ways; in grocery stores and supermarkets, and in bars, clubs, and restaurants.

Sales According To Drinks 


Despite a slight rise in sales, beer in Canada still takes up the highest share of the alcohol industry. In the 2016/2017 fiscal year, 2,234 million liters of beer were sold in Canada. This recorded a decrease in sales in the volume of Canadian beer by 1.0% and imported beer by 0.2%. However, Canada in the last decade recorded a decline in beer sale volume of about 0.3%.


In the 2016/2017 year, wine sales showed steady growth. Around $7.2 billion worth of wine was sold, which was a 32.0% share of total alcohol drinks sold. This was a 3.1% increase from the previous year.

An increase of 6.9% was recorded in the sale of Canadian wines with that of imported wines increasing by 1.4%. 43.7% of the total sales were recorded in Quebec City, and the lowest of 11.4% was recorded in Nunavut.

Red wines were the best sellers taking 53.4% of total wine sales, with white wines coming in second with 32.3% share. Sparkling wines took up 5.6% of total shares of wine sales, and Rose’ taking 8.7% of the total wine sales. In total, 505 million liters of wines were sold in 2016/2017. This was a marked increase of 1.8%.


In 2016/2017, $5.3 billion of spirits were sold. Quebec recorded the lowest of total spirit sales with only 13.7% of total spirit sales. Canadian spirits sales increased by 2.4% while the imported ones showed a 4.1% increase. Whiskey, Vodka, and Rum were the bestselling spirits, taking up 31.3%, 24.8%, and 17.1% of total spirit sales.

A total of 168.0 million liters of spirit were sold, which was a 2.4% increase for 2015/2016. Out of these, 95.2 million were Canadian spirits and the rest imported.


These showed steady growth, despite having the smallest share. Around $0.9 billion worth of ciders and other alcohols were sold in 2016/2017. This was a remarkable 8.2% from 2015/2016. 167 million liters were sold, which translated to a 6.8% increase from the previous year.


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