British Columbians this spring have shifted away from drinking beer, wine and coolers, in favor of hard alcohol, according to new data from the British Columbia Liquor Distribution Branch (BCLDB.)
Data from government-owned alcohol seller to government owned stores, private liquor stores, restaurants, bars and pubs showed that spirits was the only alcohol category to see sales growth both in volume and in dollars spent.
Alcohol buyers in the province spent $242,313,304 before taxes on spirits in the three months ended June 30. That is nearly 10.5 per cent more than the $219,316,720 spent in the same quarter a year earlier. By volume, shoppers bought 7,850,310 litres of hard alcohol in BC in the quarter – up more than 0.5 per cent from the 7,444,848 litres purchased in the same quarter in 2021.
The alcohol category that fared the worst this spring was beer.
British Columbians shelled out more for beer than any other alcohol category in the quarter ended June 30, 2021 – $298,679,047. That fell more than one per cent to $295,555,932 in the same quarter this year. By volume, beer sales in BC fell more than 3.7 per cent to 73,404,758 litres in the quarter that ended June 30.
The refreshment category that includes ciders, coolers and similar drinks saw the most precipitous declines – both in terms of total dollars spent (down 7.3 per cent by dollars to $122,942,628) and purchased volume (down 12.2 per cent to 25,318,658 litres.)
Wine was the category that had mixed results in the quarter ended June 30. The good news for the category is that it enjoyed a nearly 8.6-per-cent sales gain, to $306,521,119, from $282,332,502 in the same quarter last year. That bump in dollars spent means that wine is newly the drinks category for which buyers spend the most.
Inflation and perhaps a willingness to buy more premium products meant that wine buyers spent that money on less wine. The total volume of wine sales in the province fell by more than 0.4 per cent to 19,140,409 litres, from 19,223,920 litres in the same quarter a year ago.