Booze sales climb most in Alberta; Province's thirst for alcohol up seven per cent over fiscal 2012
Source: EDM - Edmonton Journal
Apr 11 03:37
Byline: Dan Barnes
- $5.4 B Canada 2.9% increase
- $750 M Alberta 7.6% increase
- $6.8 B Canada 2.2% increase
- $614 M Alberta 11% increase
- $9.1 B Canada .1% decrease
- $1.06 B Alberta 4.5% increase
Alberta's $2.4-billion thirst for alcohol in fiscal 2013 reflects a country-leading seven per cent sales increase over 2012.
In fact, the race to the checkout counter wasn't even close, according to Statistics Canada figures released Thursday. The seven per cent jump is more than three times the national increase of 2.2 per cent and almost double the next highest provincial or territorial sales bumps of 3.6 per cent in both Saskatchewan and Manitoba. Sales actually decreased in Nunavut, Quebec, New Brunswick and Nova Scotia over the same time period.
"Again, Alberta has the only fully privatized liquor system," said Ivonne Martinez, president of the Alberta Liquor Stores Association.
"You have to look at the fact we have over 1,300 stores, so convenience is an issue. Stores are open 10 a.m. to 2 a.m. There are over 19,000 liquor products available in Alberta. There are just 8,000 in Ontario, 5,000 in B.C. and Saskatchewan and Manitoba have 2,000 in each," he added.
Albertans shelled out 11 per cent more for wine and 7.6 per cent more for spirits in 2013 than the previous year, also increases that led the country. So Albertans are spending more, but is that because booze costs more here? "I think people are becoming a little more like connoisseurs," said Martinez. "Wine sales are going up. People are buying higher end products.
"With beer it's the same thing, you're seeing boutique breweries. As people become
more aware of selection, they are spending a lot of money on higher-end products."
And there are more and younger Albertans each year ready to open their wallets for the latest and greatest craft IPA or Malbec from Argentina.
"We did see an increase for sales in all categories," said Tatjana Laskovic, communications officer for the Alberta Gaming and Liquor Commission.
"It can be attributed to economic activity and an increase in population levels and an increase in disposable income levels. Because sales for liquor products fluctuate depending on the amount of money Albertans are willing to spend."
Statistics Canada reported that Canadians spent $21.36 billion on beer, wine and spirits in fiscal 2013, up from $20.89 billion a year earlier. That amounts to $733.70 per person aged 15 and over in the country.
Beer sales dropped .1 per cent but still led the way nationally at $9.1 billion, while wine jumped 4.9 per cent to $6.8 billion and spirits were up 2.9 per cent to $5.4 billion. Beer sales also led in all jurisdictions but Quebec, where wine purchases of $2.32 billion edged suds sales of $2.31 billion.
In 2013, beer had 43 per cent of the market's dollar value, compared with half in 2003. Wine stood at 32 per cent last year, up from 24 per cent a decade earlier.
However, national beer sales for the year amounted to 78 litres on a per-capita basis, down from 83.6 litres in 2003. Wine sales on a percapita basis amounted to 17.4 litres, up 4.3 litres per person from 2003, while spirits sales totalled 7.6 litres per person last year, up 0.1 litres per person.
Alcohol sales are commonplace in U.S. grocery stores and other provinces, but there is little thirst among major players in Alberta’s liquor-retailing industry to follow their lead.