Canadians purchased more than $25 billion in alcoholic beverages during the year ending March 31, 2021, representing a spending increase of 4.2 per cent over the same period in 2019-20.
A report from Statistics Canada stated the jump was the largest in over a decade.
“Most of the liquor authorities attributed this growth to the pandemic and its impact on purchasing habits,” the report reads.
While Canadians made fewer trips to liquor stores during 2020-21, StatsCan found, they purchased more during each visit. More alcohol was purchased locally, due to supply chain issues, and more was drank outside traditional hospitality establishments due to public health restrictions. Inflation also accounted at least in part for the higher value of purchased liquor.
While beer and wine remained the alcoholic beverages of choice for Canadians in 2020-21, accounting for 36 and 31.4 per cent of total alcohol sales, respectively, other types of alcohol gained in popularity, such as spirits, cider and coolers .
Overall, liquor authorities sold the equivalent of 9.7 standard alcoholic beverages a week to each Canadian of legal drinking age, for a total of 3,180 million litres, up 2.1 per cent from a year earlier.
Health Canada guidelines define a standard drink as a 341 ml (12 oz.) beer, cooler, or cider with five per cent alcohol content, a 142 ml (5 oz.) glass of wine with 12 per cent alcohol content, or a 43 ml (1.5 oz.) spirit drink with 40 per cent alcohol.
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