Alcohol Sales in Canada, 2019/2020

Release date: April 21, 2021 Correction date: April 30, 2021

Correction notice

On April 30th 2021, sales of beer in Quebec and Newfoundland and Labrador were corrected for the 2019/2020 reference year.

Infographic: Alcohol Sales in Canada, 2019/2020
Description: Alcohol Sales in Canada, 2019/2020

Alcohol Sales in Canada, 2019/2020

How Health Canada defines “a drink”:

  • Beer: 341 ml (12 oz.) - 5% alcohol content
  • Wine: 142 ml (5 oz.) - 12% alcohol content
  • Spirits (rye, gin, rum, etc.): 43 ml (1.5 oz.) - 40% alcohol content
  • Cider, coolers and pre-mixed drinks: 341 ml (12 oz.) - 5% alcohol content

Number of standard alcoholic drinks sold per week, per person over the legal drinking age

  • Beer: 4
  • Wine: 2.5
  • Spirits: 2.5
  • Cider, coolers, and pre-mixed drinks: 0.5
  • Total standard drinks: 9.5

While beer remains the drink of choice, Canadian tastes have shifted over time. Sales of cider, coolers, and gin have more than doubled in the last decade.

Gin was the spirit with the highest growth in 2019/2020.

Rum, vodka, and whisky are the top spirits throughout Canada, except in Quebec, where liqueurs are the most popular.


Demand for imported spirits has risen in recent years.
Table summary
This table displays the results of Table 1 2009/2010 and 2019/2020, calculated using Canadian , Imported and Imported units of measure (appearing as column headers).
2009/2010 2019/2020
Canadian Imported Canadian Imported
Spirits 58% 42% 47% 53%
Cider and coolers 78% 22% 81% 19%
Wine 30% 70% 31% 69%
Beer 84% 16% 83% 17%

Average alcohol sales in Canada were $813 per person over the legal drinking age.

  • Newfoundland and Labrador: $1,067
  • Prince Edward Island: $663
  • New Brunswick: $710
  • Nova Scotia: $825
  • Quebec: $824
  • Ontario: $799
  • Manitoba: $760
  • Saskatchewan: $705
  • Alberta: $772
  • British Columbia: $890
  • Yukon: $1,269
  • Northwest Territories: $1,541
  • Nunavut: $646

Between April 1, 2019, and March 31, 2020, governments earned an average of $425 per person over the legal drinking age from the control and sale of alcoholic beverages.

Source:  Control and Sale of Alcoholic Beverages in Canada 2019-2020.

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