Control and sale of alcoholic beverages and cannabis, April 1, 2021 to March 31, 2022
Statistics on recreational cannabis have been added to the Control and Sale of Alcoholic Beverages publication for the first time. The addition provides by-product details on the sales of cannabis, as well as details on government revenues from the control and sale of cannabis. This information is now available in tables 10-10-0164-01 and 10-10-0165-01.
Government revenue from alcohol and cannabis totals $15.2 billion
In total, federal and provincial governments earned $15.2 billion from the control and sale of alcohol ($13.6 billion, +1.1%) and recreational cannabis ($1.6 billion) in the fiscal year ending March 31, 2022. This includes net income from provincial liquor and cannabis authorities, excise taxes, retail sales taxes, other specific taxes, and licenses and permits.
Alcohol sales rise in value despite the largest drop in volume in over a decade
Overall, liquor authorities and other retail outlets sold $26.1 billion worth of alcoholic beverages in the fiscal year ending March 31, 2022, up 2.4% from a year earlier. The increase in sales of alcoholic beverages was driven by inflation, which rose 2.8% for alcoholic beverages purchased from stores from March 2021 to March 2022 (table 18-10-0004-01).
On a volume basis, sales of alcohol declined 1.2% to 3,141 million litres in 2021/2022, which is equivalent to 9.5 standard alcoholic beverages per week per Canadian of legal drinking age. This was the first decline since 2013/2014 and the largest decline in over a decade.
Historic decline in volume of wine sold
By volume, wine sales decreased 4.0% to 516 million litres in 2021/2022, which is equivalent to 2.4 standard glasses of wine per week per person of legal drinking age. This was the largest decrease in the volume of wine sold since Statistics Canada began tracking alcohol sales in 1949.
In terms of dollar value, wine sales rose 2.1% to $8.1 billion in 2021/2022, at a pace in line with the previous year.
While beer was the alcoholic beverage of choice across much of Canada in 2021/2022, wine claimed the top spot in Quebec (43.4% of total sales) and British Columbia (33.2%). Residents of the Northwest Territories (14.1%) were least likely to buy wine.
Among Canadians who bought wine, red wine was the wine of choice (52.3%), followed by white wine (33.0%); sparkling wine (7.6%); and rosé, fortified and other wines (7.1%).
Volume of beer sold per person reaches all-time low
By volume, beer sales declined 2.8% to 2,061 million litres in 2021/2022, which is equivalent to 3.7 standard bottles of beer per week per person of legal drinking age. This was a new all-time low for beer volume sales per person since Statistics Canada began tracking alcohol sales in 1949.
The total value of beer sales by liquor stores, agencies and other retail outlets fell 0.7% to $9.1 billion in the 2021/2022 fiscal year, the third consecutive annual decrease.
Spirits, ciders and coolers continue to gain market share
Beer accounted for 34.9% of total alcohol sales by value in 2021/2022, followed by wine (31.3%), spirits (25.8%), and ciders and coolers (8.0%). Although beer remained in the top spot, it has steadily been losing market share to the other beverage categories. Over a 10-year period, beer has lost 8.8% of its market share, the majority of which was gained by ciders and coolers (+5.0%), followed by spirits (+2.5%) and wine (+1.3%).
Sales of ciders and coolers continue to grow, but at a slower pace
Canadians bought $2.1 billion worth of ciders and coolers in 2021/2022. This was up 13.5% from the previous fiscal year, but at much slower rate than the 40.2% growth seen in 2020/2021. Sales grew in all provinces and territories.
Residents of Yukon (13.9% of total sales) were the most likely to buy ciders and coolers, while those of Quebec (2.1%) were the least likely to do so.
In terms of volume, 370 million litres of ciders and coolers were sold in 2021/2022, up 11.9% from the previous fiscal year.
Recreational cannabis sales total $4 billion
Sales of recreational cannabis by provincial cannabis authorities and other retail outlets were $4.0 billion in 2021/2022, equivalent to $131 per person of legal age to consume cannabis. Yukon had the highest per person cannabis sales ($291), followed by Alberta ($210) and Saskatchewan ($185), while Quebec had the lowest ($89), followed by Manitoba ($107) and Nova Scotia ($125).
Dried cannabis was the most popular type of cannabis sold, accounting for 71.1% of recreational cannabis sales, followed by inhaled extracts such as vape pens, hash, and rosin (18.1%) and edibles (4.1%). Among provinces, Quebec sold the highest proportion of dried cannabis (86.3%), likely because of its ban on cannabis vapes, edibles and topicals in 2021/2022. Newfoundland and Labrador sold the smallest proportion of inhaled extracts (3.8%), partially because of its ban on cannabis vapes.
Note to readers
Comparability and limitations of the data
Statistics on sales of alcoholic beverages by volume should not be equated with data on consumption. Sales volumes include only sales as reported by the liquor authorities and their agencies, including sales by wineries, breweries and other outlets that operate under licence from the liquor authorities; they exclude sales from U-brews.
Statistics on sales of alcoholic beverages by dollar value should not be equated with consumer expenditures on alcoholic beverages. The sales data refer to the revenues received by liquor authorities and their agents, and a portion of these revenues include sales to licenced establishments such as bars and restaurants, some of which would be considered as business intermediate expense.
The value of sales of alcoholic beverages excludes all sales taxes, the value of returnable containers and deposits. Absolute volume of sales of alcoholic beverages is calculated by multiplying the sales volume by the percentage of alcohol content for each product category.
Statistics on sales of cannabis exclude illicit market transactions. Cannabis sales values include only legal, non-medical sales (excluding all sales taxes) as reported by the cannabis authorities and outlets that operate under licence from the cannabis authorities.
Differences in provincial and territorial legislation have an impact on the types of cannabis products each jurisdiction deems legal. As a result, each jurisdiction's cannabis sales by product type reflect not only consumer preference but limitations placed on the availability of certain products.
The data collected for cannabis have been sourced from the Health Canada Cannabis Tracking System and an amended Government Liquor Authority – Report of Operations survey.
According to Health Canada guidelines, a standard drink is defined as a 341 mL (12 oz.) beer, cooler or cider with 5% alcohol content; a 142 mL (5 oz.) glass of wine with 12% alcohol content; or a 43 mL (1.5 oz.) spirit drink with 40% alcohol.
Legal drinking age versus per capita
Standard drinks per week per person are calculated for each person of legal drinking age in Canada. The legal drinking age is 19 years and older in every province and territory except Quebec, Manitoba and Alberta where it is 18 years and older.
Per capita sales by value and volume for alcohol are based on the population of inhabitants aged 15 years and older. This allows comparability with other countries, the Organisation for Economic Co-operation and Development and the World Health Organization, as they also present alcohol per capita data using the population of inhabitants aged 15 years and older.
Cannabis sales per person
Cannabis sales per person are based on the population of inhabitants of legal age to buy, use, possess and grow recreational cannabis, which is 19 years of age and older across most of Canada, except for Alberta (18 years of age and older) and Quebec (21 years of age and older).
The infographic "Alcohol and cannabis sales in Canada, April 2021 to March 2022," which is part of Statistics Canada – Infographics (11-627-M), is now available.
For more information, or to enquire about the concepts, methods or data quality of this release, contact us (toll-free 1-800-263-1136; 514-283-8300; firstname.lastname@example.org) or Media Relations (email@example.com).