Canada’s Beer Industry

The Canadian brewery industry, North American Industry Classification System (NAICS) 31212, comprises establishments that are primarily engaged in brewing beer, ale, malt liquors, and non-alcoholic beer.

Significance

Brewing is one of Canada’s oldest industries and Canadian brewers today hold an 89% share of the domestic beer market. Canada has many competitive advantages in making world class beers: including proximity to high quality malt barley and a large fresh water supply. Beer is the most popular alcoholic beverage in Canada, in terms of both volume and dollar value.

Structure

In 2012, 242 establishments were operating in Canada with the majority in Ontario (90), British Columbia (68) and Quebec (49). The industry generated revenues of $4.9 billion, and employed 9,081 people. Sales of beer in Canada totalled 2.3 billion litres in 2013, with 2.0 billion litres representing Canadian beer. The beer industry is dominated by three major multinational companies who control approximately 90% of retail sales. Given the growing consumer interest in international beer selection, the industry is a net importer of beer, with imports amounting to $671.2 million in 2014 and exports of $215.4 million in the same year. The United States accounts for 96% of exports and the majority of imports come from the United States (25%), followed by the Netherlands (19%), Mexico, Belgium, and the United Kingdom.

Canadian brewery industry imports, exports and sales of goods manufactured (2012)
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The following figures are in millions of Canadian dollars.

Canadian brewery industry imports, exports and sales of goods manufactured (2012)
Imports 601.70
Exports 218.80
Domestic shipments 4,666.80
Canadian market (imports and domestic shipments) 5,268.60
Sales of goods manufactured (exports and domestic shipments) 4,885.70

Source: Statistics Canada

Performance

Between 2004 and 2012, sales of goods manufactured by the Canadian beer industry increased 11.6% from $4.4 billion to $4.9 billion. During the same period, exports of beer declined at an average annual rate of 4.1%, imports had an average annual growth rate of 6.8%. Imports as a percentage of the domestic market increased slightly from 8% in 2004, up to 11.4% in 2012. In 2012, direct employment returned to 2004 levels with just over 9,000 employees. In recent years the craft beer industry has experienced resurgence. Even as per capita beer consumption dropped, sales and consumption of craft beers have been on the rise.

Canadian beer industry sales of goods manufactured and employment (2004-2012)
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Canadian beer industry sales of goods manufactured and employment (2004-2012)
2004 2005 2006 2007 2008 2009 2010 2011 2012
Sales of Goods Manufactured (in millions of Canadian dollars) 4,376.93 4,763.48 4,441.98 4,406.99 4,410.63 4,616.86 4,387.18 4,705.79 4,885.66
Employment (number of people) 9,042 8,665 8,295 8,467 7,998 8,571 8,692 8,758 9,081

Source: Statistics Canada

Note: The manufacturing statistics cited in this profile are taken from Statistics Canada’s Annual Survey of Manufactures and Logging, which lags behind the current date by at least 2 years.

Breweries, 2004-2013

Principal statistics [a] 2004 2005 2006 2007 2008 2009 2010 2011 2012 2013 2012/11 AAG [b]
2007-12

Note:
[a] Statistics Canada, Annual survey of manufactures and logging (ASML) (note there is at least a 2 year lag in ASML figures)
[b] Average annual growth rate

Employment total (number of employees) 9,042 8,665 8,295 8,467 7,998 8,571 8,692 8,758 9,081 3.7%
Employment – production (number of employees) 3,932 3,992 3,698 3,563 3,559 3,976 4,196 4,197 4,460 6.3%
Employment - administration (number of employees) 5,110 4,673 4,597 4,904 4,439 4,595 4,496 4,561 4,621 1.3%
GDP (millions of chained 2002$) 3,047 3,237 3,289 3,057 3,034 2,974 2,839 3,108 3,166 3,064 1.9%
Total revenue (millions $) 4,583 5,050 4,749 4,708 4,655 4,853 4,650 5,008 5,198 3.8% 2.0%
Revenue from goods manufactured (millions $) 4,377 4,763 4,442 4,407 4,411 4,617 4,387 4,706 4,886 3.8% 2.1%
Value-added, goods manufactured (millions $) 3,604 3,824 3,573 3,531 3,486 3,629 3,427 3,704 3,849 3.9% 1.7%
Value-added/worker, goods manufactured (millions $) 0.92 0.96 0.97 0.99 0.98 0.91 0.82 0.88 0.86 −2.2%
Value-added as % of revenue from goods manufactured 82.3% 80.3% 80.4% 80.1% 79.0% 78.6% 78.1% 78.7% 78.8%
Domestic market (millions $) 4,426 4,905 4,587 4,627 4,651 5,007 4,761 5,052 5,269 4.3% 2.6%
Domestic penetration 92.0% 90.9% 89.6% 88.2% 87.6% 87.2% 86.6% 88.7% 88.6%
Global trade statistics [a] 2004 2005 2006 2007 2008 2009 2010 2011 2012 2013 2013/12 AAG [b]
2008-13

Note:
[a] Industry Canada trade data online (Statistics Canada data)
[b] Average annual growth rate

Exports (millions $) 307.2 303.4 333.1 327.7 336.8 251.9 266.0 225.3 218.8 228.4 4.3%
Exports as % of revenue from goods manufactured 7.0% 6.4% 7.5% 7.4% 7.6% 5.5% 6.1% 4.8% 4.5%
Imports (millions $) 356.1 444.9 478.3 547.9 577.4 641.6 639.5 571.3 601.7 655.8 9.0% 2.58%
Imports as % of domestic market 8.0% 9.1% 10.4% 11.8% 12.4% 12.8% 13.4% 11.3% 11.4%
Balance of trade (millions $) −49.0 −141.4 −145.2 −220.3 −240.6 −389.7 −373.5 −346.0 −382.9 −427.5
Trade statistics with the United States [a] 2004 2005 2006 2007 2008 2009 2010 2011 2012 2013 2013/12 AAG [b]
2008-13

Note:
[a] Industry Canada trade data online (Statistics Canada data)
[b] Average annual growth rate

Exports (millions $) 301.6 297.6 327.5 320.6 329.4 233.7 239.4 219.0 212.7 217.5 2.3%
Imports (millions $) 64.8 87.0 87.0 101.2 103.8 144.2 140.4 128.1 138.5 161.0 16.2% 9.18%
Balance of trade (millions $) 236.8 210.6 240.6 219.5 225.7 89.5 99.0 90.9 74.1 56.5

Contact us

For more information about Canada's food industry, read Significance of the Food and Beverage Processing Industry in Canada or contact the Sector Development and Analysis Directorate at sdad-ddas@agr.gc.ca.

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