2018 Industry Trends

2018 proved to be another exciting and challenging year in the Canadian beer industry. The number of brewing facilities increased by 21.8% from 817 in 2017 to an all-time high of 995. Most of Canada’s breweries are small, local operations with 93% producing less than 15,000 hectolitres (hL) of beer in 2018.  Nationally, from 2017 to 2018 the number of brewing facilities per 100,000 drinking age adults increased by 20.9% from 2.8 to 3.4. Provincially, New Brunswick led the way with 8.0 breweries per 100,000 drinking age adults, followed by Nova Scotia with 7.7 and PEI with 7.4, while Manitoba at 1.1 had the lowest rate.

Overall, although the number of breweries in Canada is growing, domestic beer production and sales are not keeping pace. In 2018, domestic production decreased by 3.4% to 21.65 million hL and domestic sales rose modestly by 0.3%. From 2017 to 2018 import sales declined by 3.4%. In total, national beer sales declined by 0.3% in 2018 to a total of 22.1 million hL.

A recent Conference Board of Canada study found beer to have a substantial impact on Canada’s economy. 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 2018, 85% of the beer consumed in Canada was brewed in Canada, which is a stark contrast when compared to wine in spirits. In 2018, 33% of the wine and 55% of the spirits consumed in Canada were made here.

In 2018, Canadians of legal drinking age drank on average 210 cans of beer, a decline of 1.2% from 2017. Provincially in 2018, Newfoundland had the highest per capita consumption at 93.4 litres of beer, followed by Quebec with 83.3 and P.E.I with 79.8 litres. Ontario had the lowest per capita consumption of all provinces at 69.1 litres.

From a packaging perspective, cans continue to assert their dominance over bottles. In 2018, national can sales rose by 4.6%, while bottle sales declined by 9.3% and keg sales declined by 1.9%. In 2018, cans accounted for 62% of national beer sales, followed by bottles with 28% and kegs with 10%.  This is a sharp contrast from just five years ago, when bottles accounted for over 40% of total beer sales.

Since 1990, greenhouse gas emissions in brewing facilities declined by 61.2%. Over the same time period, energy use in brewing facilities went down by 52.4%. These impressive improvements are due in large part to company initiatives aimed at improving production practices to reduce our industry’s environmental footprint.

There is a lot to explore in the 2018 Industry Trends! We encourage you to browse through the national and provincial pages. Should you have any questions please contact us.

Are you a Beer Canada member? If so, you have access to much more data than what is available here. This includes more information on packaging trends, production, taxation, energy use and output, international data, beer sales by alcohol content and style, as well as trends in the wine, spirits, cooler and cider markets. Contact us for access.

View National Overview