Beer in 2019 realized positive gains on some fronts, while facing challenges in other areas.
The number of brewing facilities increased by 12.9% from 995 in 2018 to an all-time high of 1123 in 2019. Most of Canada’s breweries are small, local operations with 94% producing less than 15,000 hectolitres of beer. Nationally, the number of brewing facilities per 100,000 drinking age adults increased by 11.0% from 3.4 to 3.7 for the year. Provincially, New Brunswick led the way with 9.5 breweries per 100,000 drinking age adults, followed by PEI with 8.0 and Nova Scotia with 7.5, while Manitoba at 1.5 breweries per 100,000 drinking age adults had the lowest rate.
Domestic production was also up for 2019, having increased by 4.2% to 22.5 million hectolitres. Growth did not extend to total national beer sales which declined by 3.0% in 2019 to 21.4 million hL. Looking at sales split, domestic beer sales declined by 3.9% from the previous year, somewhat offset by import beer sales which increased by 1.5%.
Beer continues to have a substantial impact on Canada’s economy. Conference Board of Canada figures show beer supports 149,000 Canadian jobs, with a labour income of $5.3 billion while contributing $13.6 billion to Canada’s GDP. This impact is due in large part to the domestic nature of Canada’s beer industry. In 2019, 85% of the beer consumed in Canada was brewed in Canada.
In 2019, Canadians of legal drinking age consumed on average 71.2 litres of beer, a decline of 4.6% from 2018. Provincially, Newfoundland had the highest per capita consumption 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 continued to grow in popularity. In 2019, national can sales increased by 1.6%, while bottle sales declined by 13.1% and keg sales fell by 3.9%. Cans accounted for 65% of national beer sales, followed by bottles with 25% and kegs with 10%. This is a sharp contrast from just five years ago, when bottles accounted for 40% of national beer sales.
The Canadian brewing industry continues to be an environmental leader. Since 1990, greenhouse gas emissions in brewing facilities declined by 58.4%. Over the same time period, energy use in brewing facilities went down by 48.5%. Company initiatives aimed at improving production practices to reduce our industry’s environmental footprint have contributed to these impressive improvements.
There is a lot to explore in the 2020 Industry Trends update. We encourage you to browse through the national and provincial pages. Should you have any questions, contact us.
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