Drinking by the Numbers: The Latest Territorial Booze Stats

The drinking classes of the Northwest Territories, closely followed by their club-mates in the Yukon, led Canada in per-capita spending on booze last year, according to Statistics Canada.

Drinkers in the NWT each spent  $1,344.70 to slake their thirsts, closely followed by Yukon tipplers who laid out $1,144.70. Some of that is surely due to higher costs compared to the rest of Canada, but still: we’re number one.

Newfoundland and Labrador spent $948.30 each – good enough for third place in the national booze-up.

Nunavumiut spent the least, just $217. Their favourite drink is beer, and they gave it a 57 percent market share, the biggest in Canada.

The national average was a relatively modest $696.30, as Canadians spent $20.5 billion on alcoholic beverages, an uptick of just 1.1 percent for the fiscal year ended March 31, 2014.

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Sales in the NWT were $46.5 million — $19.3 million on beer, $6.7 million on wine, $1.7 million on coolers, and $18.9 million on spirits, giving hard liquor a 41 percent market share, the largest in the country.

Spending down, imports up

Spending on alcohol was down in the NWT by 1.7 percent and in Nunavut by 6.3 percent. Government revenue fell by 3.6 percent in the NWT and 15.8 percent in Nunavut, to $5.3 million. Most jurisdictions showed an increase.

The Statistics Canada report also revealed that all domestic beer, wine and spirits are losing favour with Canadians, who are increasingly turning toward imports.

Canadian beer sales decreased by 0.6 percent, while import sales increased by 3.3 percent. Canadian wine sales grew at an annual average rate of 5.4 percent over the last decade, while imported wine sales grew by 6.1 percent annually.

Canadian spirit sales decreased 1.1 percent and sales of imports increased 2.4 percent. Imports accounted for more than 40 percent of the $4.8 billion in spirits sold last year.

Beer, at $8.7 billion in sales continued to be the country’s favorite  drink, but is losing ground to sweet drinks such as ciders and coolers, which increased their market share by 9.5 per cent.

On a per-capita basis, beer sales totaled 75.9 litres or $294 per person, compared with 83.2 litres per person a decade earlier (in the fiscal period ending March 31, 2005).

Liquor stores, agencies, and other retail outlets sold $692.9 million or 127 million litres of ciders and coolers, up 12.1 per cent from a year earlier.

Wine sales increased one percent from a year earlier to 461.7 million litres.

Net income for provincial and territorial liquor authorities increased 0.4 per cent to $5.5 billion in 2013-14. Most jurisdictions  posted increases. The annual average growth rate in net income of liquor authorities over the past decade was 4.2 per cent.

Net income and other government revenue derived from the control and sale of alcoholic beverages, including excise taxes, retail sales taxes, specific taxes on alcohol as well as licence and permit revenues, were $10.5 billion in 2013-14.

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