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Customized Report Service – The beer market in Canada and craft beer trends

January 2020

Summary

The global beer market was worth $US661.0 billion in 2018 and is expected to reach $US770.1 billion by 2023. Estimates show that the top 10 global markets will earn US$473.5 billion by 2023.

Canada placed 12th overall among the top beer markets in the world with nearly US$16.0 billion in sales in 2018, and forecasts estimate it will increase to US$17.3 billion by 2023.

The global beer market amounted to 198.2 billion litres in 2018, up from 197.2 billion litres in 2014. The upward trend is expected to continue into 2023 to reach 210.8 billion litres of beer globally.

The top 10 global beer markets recorded volume sales of 134.5 billion litres in 2014 and declined to 131.4 billion litres in 2018. This trend will be reversed into 2023, when it will reach 136.9 billion litres. In 2018, China was the number one beer consumer by volume, while the U.S. placed first in value.

Canada ranked 19th globally for overall volume beer sales in 2018, accounting for 2.1 billion litres, a downward decline that is expected to continue into 2023. Global beer imports from Canada amounted to Can$165.5 million in 2018. As expected, the U.S. imported the majority of Canada's beer exports, accounting for Can$155.3 million in 2018, a major increase from the Can$182.4 million recorded in 2014.

Global beer exports to Canada reached Can$558.3 million in 2018. However, worldwide beer exports to Canada have been steadily declining over the past few years, down from Can$612.4 million in 2014.

In 2018, Canada recorded 995 federally licensed breweries and over 1,000 small or independent craft breweries from coast to coast. The number of breweries in Canada increased by 21.8% between 2017 and 2018.

Craft beer sales have seen a major increase over the past five years, nearly doubling from Can$1.0 billion in 2014 to Can$1.9 billion 2018. While lagers are favoured in the non-craft beer category, ales are the number one choice on the craft beer spectrum with Can$1.7 billion in sales during 2018, up from Can$905.2 million in 2014.

The global beer market

The global beer market was worth $US661.0 billion in 2018, an increase of US$99.8 billion over 2014, and is expected to reach $US770.1 billion by 2023. The top 10 global beer markets combined for a total of US$418.0 billion in 2018, a decrease of US$1.2 billion over 2014. However, estimates show that the top 10 global markets will earn US$483.1 billion by 2023.

Canada ranked 12th overall among the top beer markets in the world with nearly US$16.0 billion in 2018, an increase of US$1.1 billion over 2014. Forecasts show this trend will continue and increase to US$17.3 billion by 2023.

Global beer market – value US$ (million) actual and forecast
Ranking Country 2014 2018 2019 2023
1. United States 98,489.44 108,869.35 112,189.38 125,110.18
2. China 72,230.19 80,568.05 82,700.11 98,456.38
3. Brazil 35,163.30 39,900.74 40,729.72 46,775.51
4. Germany 34,379.18 34,778.29 34,775.92 35,506.75
5. Japan 30,769.65 33,464.41 33,189.08 34,903.27
6. United Kingdom 24,119.03 25,349.61 25,768.37 27,169.94
7. Spain 18,203.04 22,539.65 23,063.14 27,525.28
8. Russia 17,523.12 21,869.16 21,759.95 24,912.73
9. Viet-Nam 10,724.47 17,252.36 19,043.73 28,824.57
10 Mexico 11,576.20 17,424.78 18,565.28 24,278.53
12. Canada 14,845.17 15,991.06 16,229.19 17,445.16
Sub-total top 10 353,177.62 402,016.40 411,784.68 473,463.14
Total Global 561,219.1 661,026.9 794,683.8 770,092.9
Source: GlobalData, 2019

The global beer market amounted to 198.2 billion litres in 2018, up from 197.2 billion litres in 2014. The upward trend is expected to continue into 2023 to reach 210.8 billion litres of beer globally. The same 10 global beer markets in value appear on the top 10 volume list, but in a different order.

The top 10 global beer markets recorded volume sales of 134.5 billion litres in 2014 and declined to 131.4 billion litres in 2018. This trend will be reversed into 2023, when it will reach 136.9 billion litres. In 2018, China was the number one beer consumer by volume, while the U.S. placed first in value.

Canada was in 19th place globally for overall volume beer sales in 2018, accounting for 2.1 billion litres, a downward trend that is expected to continue into 2023.

Global beer market – volume litres (million) actual and forecast
Ranking Country 2014 2018 2019 2023
1. China 53,653.2 48,848.8 49,082.7 51,153.6
2. United States 23,172.4 23,385.5 23,455.7 23,652.2
3. Brazil 13,362.3 12,580.0 12,592.5 12,700.0
4. Mexico 6,908.3 9,209.0 9,764.1 11,866.3
5. Russia 9,202.6 8,179.9 8,142.1 7,650.4
6. Germany 8,441.4 8,102.7 7,903.8 7,492.3
7. Japan 5,926.7 5,641.3 5,597.8 5,420.9
8. Viet-Nam 3,557.2 4,699.3 4,858.9 5,680.9
9. United Kingdom 4,544.2 4,529.5 4,548.9 4,536.2
10 Spain 3,728.9 4,163.5 4,275.5 4,783.9
19. Canada 2,086.6 2,050.2 2,017.7 1,946.8
Sub-total top 10 134,583.8 131,389.6 132,239.7 136,883.3
Total Global 197,213.3 198,219.1 200,584.6 210,802.4
Source: GlobalData, 2019

Global beer imports from Canada

Global beer imports from Canada amounted to Can$165.5 million in 2018, while the top 10 accounted for Can$162.4 million that year. In both cases, worldwide imports of Canadian beer have declined significantly since 2014.

As expected, the U.S. imported the majority of Canada's beer exports, accounting for Can$155.3 million in 2018, a major increase from the Can$182.4 million recorded in 2014.

Top 10 global importers of Canadian beer – Can$ (thousand)
Country 2014 2015 2016 2017 2018
United States 182,364.3 186,893.4 148,424.2 150,036.5 155,262.1
Germany 113.1 374.6 702.8 1,136.5 1,083.7
Sweden 52.3 116.2 207.8 150.6 988.5
France 510.9 684.7 810.6 1,164.1 979.4
Australia 1,544.1 325.7 1,332.7 1,298.8 969.2
China 39.5 59.1 145.2 380.0 801.5
Switzerland 620.9 766.8 682.8 685.0 669.1
Spain 157.2 271.2 352.3 442.1 579.2
United Kingdom 2,745.4 3,430.8 1,877.4 1,035.4 555.3
Korea 276.1 450.6 413.7 594.0 552.0
Sub-total top 10 188,423.7 193,373.0 154,949.5 156,922.9 162,439.9
Total 192,628.1 196,454.5 158,684.0 161,179.2 165,521.1
Source: Global Trade Tracker, 2019

Global beer exports to Canada

Global beer exports to Canada reached Can$558.3 million in 2018, with the top 10 exporters accounting for Can$529.3 million that year. Worldwide beer exports to Canada have been steadily declining over the past few years, down from Can$612.4 million in 2014.

The U.S. was Canada's largest supplier of beer, with Can$529.3 million in exports in 2018, which marked a decrease of Can$64.5 million over 2017. However, beer exports from the Netherlands to Canada have been gaining traction over the past several years, with a steady increase of Can$14.8 million over 2016.

Top 10 global exporters of beer to Canada – Can$ (thousand)
Country 2014 2015 2016 2017 2018
United States 175,958.9 197,076.4 203,990.0 218,744.4 154,222.5
Netherlands 96,568.4 104,342.9 101,289.6 105,790.9 116,127.8
Mexico 72,070.8 86,117.3 77,125.4 54,099.4 71,210.4
United Kingdom 74,387.1 80,944.5 66,166.7 58,562.1 58,220.5
Belgium 40,875.4 40,598.7 44,349.6 47,507.0 45,921.4
Germany 31,993.7 29,359.8 31,606.8 26,943.6 30,794.3
Ireland 20,187.3 19,432.7 17,979.8 20,816.1 17,880.3
France 12,933.4 13,158.7 13,787.7 15,765.0 17,342.1
Denmark 10,140.7 7,710.6 7,926.8 8,329.2 10,804.4
Poland 4,800.3 5,348.8 6,336.1 6,666.7 6,771.7
Sub-total top 10 539,916.0 584,090.5 570,558.6 563,224.3 529,295.3
Total 566,615.0 612,407.4 600,506.3 595,410.3 558,262.5
Source: Global Trade Tracker, 2019

Overview of the beer market in Canada

In 2018, Canada's beer landscape included 995 federally licensed breweries, and the country was home to over 1,000 small or independent craft breweries from coast to coast. Statistics show that 85% of all beer enjoyed in Canada is made right here at home. The number of breweries in Canada increased by 21.8% between 2017 and 2018, while the number of breweries per capita was 3.4 in 2018, up from 2.8 over the previous year.

In Canada, there is no overarching definition of what is considered a craft brewery. However, such an establishment generally holds a licence from the federal government, produces no more than 400,000 hectolitres and is independently owned and operated. Most craft breweries in Canada produce less than 5,000 hectolitres annually.

The beer market in Canada – by segment

Beer sales in Canada totalled Can$20.2 billion in 2018, up from Can$18.8 billion in 2014, and forecasts indicate this trend will continue through to 2023, with sales reaching Can$22.1 billion.

Lagers seem to dominate the beer market in Canada with sales amounting to Can$16.1 billion in 2018. They are anticipated to grow by an additional Can$1.4 billion by 2023.

Volume sales, however, appear to be on a downward trend, having steadily decreased from 2,086.6 million litres in 2014, to 2,050.2 million litres in 2018, and are expect to continue this trend into 2023, reaching a low of 1,946.8 million litres.

Canada's beer market – Can$ (million) actual and forecast
Segment 2014 2018 2019 2023
Lager 15,523.7 16,115.0 16,355.0 17,580.4
Ale 2,637.3 3,340.9 3,390.6 3,644.7
Flavoured beer 223.9 325.4 330.3 355.0
Stout 302.6 290.2 294.6 316.6
Others 50.3 76.7 77.9 83.7
Wheat beer 25.5 53.8 54.6 58.7
Dark beer 4.2 12.4 12.6 13.5
Other top fermented 8.5 10.8 11.0 11.8
Total 18,776.0 20,225.3 20,526.5 22,064.4
Source: GlobalData, 2019
Canada's beer market – litres (million) actual and forecast
Segment 2014 2018 2019 2023
Lager 1,765.3 1,676.8 1,631.7 1,504.1
Ale 260.6 302.3 313.2 360.4
Flavoured beer 22.7 30.4 33.0 40.8
Stout 28.5 25.3 23.6 19.9
Others 5.9 8.6 9.2 12.1
Wheat beer 2.4 4.7 5.2 7.4
Dark beer 0.4 1.1 0.7 1.1
Other top fermented 0.8 0.9 1.0 1.1
Total 2,086.6 2,050.2 2,017.7 1,946.8
Source: GlobalData, 2019

Beer consumption and expenditure in Canada

Overall per capita expenditure on beer in Canada was Can$110.7 for 2018, up Can$19.2 from 2014, and is estimated to reach Can$114.5 by 2023. Ale was the beer segment with the highest per capita expenditure with Can$90.0 in 2018 and is expected to climb to Can$93.0 by 2023.

In terms of litres of beer per capita, on average Canadians consumed 55.2 litres in 2018, a decrease of 3.5 litres per capita from 2014. Beer consumption in Canada is expected to continue declining into 2023, with the average drinker consuming 49.7 litres annually. While the Ale segment took top tier for per capita expenditure, the most consumed beer in Canada was the Lager segment, with a per capita consumption of 45.2 litres in 2018.

Growth of the beer market in Canada – by segment

Beer market growth in Canada by segment – 2015 and 2018 (based on Can$)
Description of this image follows.
Description of above image
2015 2018
Ale 7.2% 4.4%
Dark Beer 57.1% 12.9%
Flavoured Beer 10.4% 10.0%
Lager 1.5% 0.9%
Other Top Fermented 1.4% 6.8%
Others 16.3% 8.2%
Stout 1.4% −1.0%
Wheat Beer 30.9% 11.1%
Total Growth 2.5% 1.7%

Source: GlobalData, 2019

Beer distribution in Canada

In Canada, beer distribution channels fell into two categories: on-premise or off-premise, each consisting of five sub-channels. On-premise sales amounted to Can$12.3 billion in 2018, while off-premise sales accounted for Can$7.7 billion that year.

The top distribution sub-channel in the off-premise category was specialist beverage retailers with Can$5.0 billion, while the eating, drinking and accommodations sub-channel in the on-premise category reached nearly Can$9.0 billion in 2018.

Both on- and off-premise beer sales in Canada have seen growth over the past several years, with increases of Can$1.5 billion between 2014 and 2018

Canadian beer distribution channels – Can$ million
On- vs off-premise Sub-channel 2014 2015 2016 2017 2018
Off Specialist beverage retailer 4,753.7 4,894.7 4,957.9 4,948.2 5,028.6
Traditional retail 1,844.6 1,869.0 1,882.7 1,900.8 1,925.4
Large modern 693.3 703.6 711.7 717.6 725.2
Home delivery 172.9 174.3 175.5 175.8 176.6
E-commerce 11.5 12.2 13.1 13.4 13.8
Off total 7,475.9 7,653.7 7,740.6 7,755.7 7,869.5
On Eating, drinking and accommodations 8,153.4 8,375.9 8,591.9 8,802.7 8,995.7
Other on-premise 1,799.3 1,843.6 1,898.9 1,939.2 1,978.7
Institutions 721.7 734.3 746.9 753.5 755.4
Quick service restaurants 510.6 523.7 535.8 536.0 536.6
Vending 115.1 114.1 112.5 109.0 105.6
On total 11,300.0 11,591.6 11,886.0 12,140.4 12,371.9
Source: GlobalData, 2019

Craft vs. non-craft beer in Canada

Non-craft beer sales in Canada have been slowly increasing over the past several years, amounting to Can$18.3 billion in 2018, up from Can$17.7 billion in 2014. Lagers tend to be Canadians' beer of choice, accounting for 86.9% of all non-craft beer sales in 2018.

Although non-craft beer in Canada continues to dominate the market, craft beer sales have seen a major increase over the five-year period of 2014 to 2018, nearly doubling from Can$1.0 billion to Can$1.9 billion. While lagers are favoured in the non-craft beer category, ales are the number one choice on the craft beer spectrum with Can$1.7 billion in sales during 2018, up from Can$905.2 million in 2014.

Canada craft beer vs. non-craft beer market – Can$ (million)
Category Segment 2014 2015 2016 2017 2018
Craft Ale 905.2 1,127.9 1,311.9 1,480.9 1,656.6
Lager 82.8 102.3 117.1 134.7 147.6
Others 50.3 58.5 64.6 70.9 76.5
Wheat beer 6.5 14.8 20.2 24.0
Dark beer 3.2 4.3 5.5 6.5 7.3
Craft total 1,041.4 1,299.4 1,513.9 1,713.3 1,912.1
Non-craft Lager 15,440.9 15,656.2 15,800.3 15,831.1 15,926.5
Ale 1,732.1 1,698.0 1,702.0 1,720.0 1,746.8
Flavoured beer 223.9 247.2 265.2 295.7 323.7
Stout 302.6 306.8 305.5 293.3 287.6
Wheat beer 25.5 26.9 26.9 28.2 29.6
Other top fermented 8.5 8.6 9.4 10.1 10.8
Dark beer 1.1 2.4 3.5 4.5 4.1
Non-craft total 17,734.6 17,946.0 18,112.8 18,182.9 18,329.3
Source: GlobalData, 2019

Despite the increase in value of overall beer sales in Canada, volume sales decreased from 2014 to 2018 due to a dip in non-craft beer of 96 million litres. Craft beer volume sales, on the other hand, have experienced a 70.1-million-litre increase between 2014 and 2018. The majority of craft beer sale volume increases can be attributed to the ale segment having gained 59.8 million litres between 2014 and 2018.

The Canadian craft beer vs. non-craft beer market – litres (million)
Category Segment 2014 2015 2016 2017 2018
Craft Ale 86.1 105.6 120.6 133.2 145.9
Lager 7.8 9.5 10.7 12.1 12.9
Others 5.9 6.8 7.5 8.1 8.6
Wheat beer 0.6 1.4 1.8 2.1
Dark beer 0.3 0.4 0.5 0.6 0.6
Craft total 100.1 122.9 140.7 155.8 170.2
Non-craft Lager 1,757.5 1,751.2 1,729.0 1,691.5 1,667.5
Ale 174.5 168.9 166.1 163.9 163.4
Flavoured beer 22.7 24.7 26.0 28.3 30.4
Stout 28.5 28.5 27.9 26.3 25.2
Wheat beer 2.4 2.5 2.5 2.5 2.6
Other top fermented 0.8 0.8 0.9 0.9 0.9
Dark beer 0.1 0.2 0.3 0.4 0.4
Non-craft total 1,986.5 1,976.8 1,952.6 1,913.8 1,890.5
Source: GlobalData, 2019

Craft beer geographic scope and brands in Canada

Beer geographic scope – Can$ (million)
Geographic scope 2014 2015 2016 2017 2018
Domestic 1,007.6 1,254.4 1,458.1 1,625.2 1,812.9
Imported 33.9 45.0 55.8 88.1 99.2
Craft total 1,041.4 1,299.4 1,513.9 1,713.3 1,912.1
Source: GlobalData, 2019
Canadian craft beer brands – Can$ (million)
Brand 2014 2015 2016 2017 2018
Microbrewery 493.7 678.1 813.6 915.5 1,052.6
Others 33.9 45.0 55.8 88.1 99.2
Big Rock 180.5 195.9 218.4 238.5 256.3
Creemore Springs 74.3 96.9 112.8 129.6 142.1
Okanagan 116.4 112.1 110.3 108.6 106.1
Beau's 47.8 59.2 71.2 81.8 89.1
Mill Street 57.3 61.4 65.7 73.9 80.6
Granville Island 17.2 21.5 25.8 29.1 31.6
Waterloo 9.6 14.0 18.6 22.1 24.9
Belgian Moon 6.5 14.8 20.2 24.0
Brick 10.7 9.0 7.0 6.0 5.5

Craft total

1,041.4 1,299.4 1,513.9 1,713.3 1,912.1
Source: GlobalData, 2019
Canadian craft beer brands – litres (million)
Brand 2014 2015 2016 2017 2018
Microbrewery 46.5 63.0 74.3 82.0 92.3
Others 3.2 4.2 5.1 7.9 8.7
Big Rock 17.0 18.2 20.0 21.4 22.5
Creemore Springs 7.0 9.0 10.3 11.6 12.5
Okanagan 11.8 11.2 10.8 10.4 10.0
Beau's 4.5 5.5 6.5 7.3 7.8
Mill Street 5.4 5.7 6.0 6.6 7.1
Granville Island 2.8 3.4 4.0 4.4 4.6
Waterloo 0.9 1.3 1.7 2.0 2.2
Belgian Moon 0.6 1.4 1.8 2.1
Brick 1.0 0.8 0.6 0.5 0.5
Craft total 100.1 122.9 140.7 155.8 170.2
Source: GlobalData, 2019

Examples of craft beer in Canada

Mangoes on the Run Mango IPA
Record ID 5979757
Company Innis & Gunn
Manufacturer Innis & Gunn
Brand Innis & Gunn
Category Alcoholic beverages
Sub-category Beer
Launch type New variety / Range extension
Price in Can$ 2.95
Price in US$ 2.24
Price in euros 1.94

Innis & Gunn Mangoes on the Run Mango IPA is a limited edition, craft-brewed beer made with the fruitiest hops and combined with mango. The product retails in a 500-millilitre (ml) pack.

Craft Collection
Record ID 5745935
Company Fernie Brewing
Manufacturer Fernie Brewing
Brand Fernie Brewing Co.
Category Alcoholic beverages
Sub-category Beer
Market Canada
Location of manufacture Canada
Launch type New product
Price in Can$ 26.95
Price in US$ 20.81
Price in euros 17.84
Bar code 626990119470

Fernie Brewing Co.'s Craft Collection comprises a variety of four beers:

  • Project 9 Pils (5% ABV)
  • Base Camp West Coast Pale (5.4% ABV)
  • Slingshot Session IPA (4.5% ABV), and
  • First Trax Brown Ale (5% ABV)

The unpasteurized product contains no preservatives and is retailed in a pack with 12 355-ml cans, three cans per each brew.

The Beau's Mix for Summer
Record ID 5737845
Company Beau's Brewing Co.
Manufacturer Beau's Brewing Co.
Brand Beau's Brewing Co.
Category Alcoholic beverages
Sub-category Beer
Launch type New variety / Range extension
Price in Can$ 21.95
Price in US$ 16.92
Price in euros 14.51
Bar code 602573395059

Beau's Brewing Co.'s Beau's Mix for Summer is an assortment of four bottles of craft beer:

  • Lug Tread Lagered Ale (5.2% ABV), with a rating of four on the freshness scale
  • Cali Common Beer (5% ABV)
  • Buenos Dias Gruit Ale Beer (4.5% ABV), and
  • Blood Simple Blood Orange Witbier (5.3% ABV)

These beers are made with Pro-Cert certified organic ingredients and retail in a pack containing four 600-ml units. The manufacturer is a certified B Corporation and is said to be committed to meeting the highest standards of social and environmental performance, transparency and accountability.

Winter Mix Pack
Record ID 5463079
Company Mill St. Brewery
Manufacturer Mill St. Brewery
Brand Mill St. Brewery
Category Alcoholic beverages
Sub-category Beer
Market Canada
Store name Liquor Control Board of Ontario (LCBO)
Store type Specialist retailer
Store address Brampton L6Z 1Y5
Date published February 2018
Product source Shopper
Launch type New variety / Range extension
Price in Can$ 13.40
Price in US$ 10.65
Price in euros 8.69
Bar code 855315003235

The Mill St. Brewery Winter Mix Pack is made up of the following varieties:

  • Imperial Coffee Porter with 7% ABV, a strong porter that is described as a new twist made with Balzac's Winter Blend Cold Brew added for a perfect mix of roasted malt and deep with rich coffee flavours
  • Tankhouse Ale with 5.2% ABV, described as deliciously complex and made from an abundance of hops and five different malts to produce a rich, fiery pale ale
  • Makani Pineapple IPA with 6.2% ABV, a strong ale that is said to be brewed with Canadian malts and American Mosaic hops, and finished with the addition of a boatload of pineapple to make it a real winter treat
  • Original Organic Lager with a 4.2% ABV, said to be brewed using pure organic malt and hops, and to have a creamy, clean palate with a smooth finish
  • West Coast Style IPA with a 6.6% ABV, a strong beer described as a juicy, tropical and complex IPA made with wheat to offer the perfect balance of big hop flavours and crazy smoothness, and
  • 100th Meridian Organic Amber Lager with 5% ABV, said to be brewed with prairie malt and bravo cascade hops, and to be the company's quintessential American-style craft lager. It retails in a recyclable pack containing 4 341-ml bottles and 2 355-ml bottles.

Resources

Customized Report Service – The beer market in Canada and craft beer trends
Global Analysis Report

Prepared by: André Ajaltouny

© Her Majesty the Queen in Right of Canada, represented by the Minister of Agriculture and Agri-Food (2020).

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