Canada Sobers Up (September 26, 2002)
The latest Statistics Canada figures show that Canadians are buying less
beverage alcohol than they did a generation ago. But we're buying more
alcohol than we did five years ago which means that, if the trend
continues, we'll be consuming as much as our parents did! However, we
have some way to go: StatsCan figures for 2000-2001 showed that we purchased
103.8 litres of alcoholic beverages per capita, up 0.2 per cent over the
previous twelve months. This compares with 134 litres purchased in 1975-76.
Beer is still the beverage of choice for most Canadians, but we are drinking
significantly more red wine than white (no doubt thanks to the dissemination
of research that shows the health-giving properties of red wine consumption).
Fifty-three percent of the 303.7 million litres of wine purchased were
Of the 103.8 litre total of personal consumption, beer accounted for
85 litres, wine 12.3 litres and distilled spirits 6.5 litres. These figures
do not include wine and beer made at home or in brew-your-own shops. Not
do they include bottles purchased in duty-free facilities and smuggled
All of this resulted in sales of $13.6 billion, a rise of 4.3 per cent
over the previous year. Canadian tax collectors took $3.8 billion of this
revenue, up 2.6 per cent over the previous year.
Quebecers purchased 44 per cent of all red wines sold. Canadians bought
as much wine as Americans or Norwegians but one-fifth the amount purchased
by the French and one-sixth the amount of the Italians.
The report said that "Canadians buy as much beer as the Czechs,
far more than the Italians and much less than the Irish or the Germans."