In April, brewery trade organization Beer Canada released their
annual Industry Trends data. The data looks at trends in the
Canadian and international beer market from 2014 to 2020.
It details changes in sales, the number of breweries, packaging
trends and more.
According to the update, the continued decrease in beer sales
in Canada was a sign of a challenging and competitive market in
need of innovation before the COVID-19 pandemic began. In 2019,
beer realized positive gains on some fronts, while facing challenges
in other areas.
The number of breweries in Canada hit an all-time high with
1,123 at the end of 2019; nearly triple the number in operation five
years ago and up 13 per cent from 995 in 2018. Most facilities are
small, with 94 per cent producing less than 15,000 hectolitres (one
hectolitre = 100 litres) of beer in 2019.
At the end of 2019, Ontario had the most breweries with 350,
while Quebec was second with 240. Nationally, the number of
brewing facilities per 100,000 drinking age adults increased by 11
per cent from 3.4 to 3.7. Provincially, New Brunswick led the way
with 9.5 breweries per 100,000 drinking age adults, followed by
P.E.I. with eight and Nova Scotia with 7.5. Manitoba had the lowest
rate at 1.5 breweries per 100,000 drinking age adults.
The rise in the number of breweries continues to outpace
domestic beer sales, which fell 3.9 per cent in 2019. Imported beer
sales were down by 1.5 per cent. Overall total sales decreased by
three per cent between 2018 and 2019.
Canadian beer drinkers have an unprecedented number
of beers to choose from: around 8,000 domestic and imported
brands. In 2019, Canadians of legal drinking age consumed on
average 71.2 litres of beer, a decline of 4.6 per cent from 2018.
B E E R C A N A DA
From the voice of the people who
brew our nation’s beers
Provincially, Newfoundland had the highest per capita consump-tion
at 87.4 litres of beer, followed by Quebec with 80.5 and P.E.I.
with 76.7 litres. Ontario had the lowest per capita consumption of
all provinces at 66.1 litres.
Canned beer continues to grow in popularity. In 2019, national
can sales increased by 1.6 per cent, while bottle sales declined by
13.1 per cent and keg sales fell by 3.9 per cent. Cans accounted
for 65 per cent of national beer sales, followed by bottles with 25
per cent and kegs with 10 per cent. This is a sharp contrast from
five years ago when bottles accounted for 40 per cent of national
More brewers selling to a smaller market translates into
intense competition. Canadian brewers face this and many other
challenges – changing demographics and consumer tastes, the
high overall tax and price of the product and most recently, the
effects of an unprecedented global health crisis, the COVID-19
pandemic, which has impacted health, jobs and businesses.
Canadians are facing an incredible challenge in confronting
the COVID-19 pandemic and brewers have stepped up to con-tribute
wherever possible. Whether it’s the production of hand
sanitizer for front-line workers, donations to those who are most
vulnerable or support for the restaurant and hospitality sector.
Yet, the future of the beer industry is unclear. Beer’s most
popular selling season is upon us and patios and pubs are mostly
shut down, and sports, festivals and social gatherings have been
cancelled. This is expected to have direct impacts on the industry
and Canadian brewers, who directly employ 15,000 Canadians and
pay nearly $1 billion in salaries and wages.
To help brewers navigate these challenging times, the U.S.
and Germany have allowed brewers to delay monthly excise duty
Submitted by Beer Canada
SUMMER 2020 § POURED CANADA § 29