Follow beer writer, Troy Burtch, as he explores the wonderful world of craft beer and the pubs that serve it. Great Canadian Beer is a place to come to catch up on beer news, read tasting notes, check out event listings, and for pub previews and reviews.


Thursday, February 24, 2011

More And More People In Ontario Buying Craft Beer

I posted the Dalton McGuinty video last evening that shows him encouraging Ontarians to "seek out some of those really interesting and tasty craft beers that are being brewed right here in Ontario," and it seems that more and more people are - according to the LCBO's 2009-10 sale figures for beer.

Net Sales
Domestic Beer - $365,179,000 up 6%
Imported Beer - $573,706,000 up 3.9%
Total Beer - $938,884,000 up 4.7%

Volume Sales
Domestic Beer - 97,981,000 litres up 5.9%
Imported Beer - 132,980,000 litres up 2.2%
Total Beer - 230,961,000 litres up 3.7%

Ontario Craft Beer (OCB) sales at the LCBO for 2009-10 (which are included in the Domestic Beer total), are as follows:

Net Sales
OCB - $10,310,887 up 45.9%

Volume Sales
OCB – 1,955,584 litres up 45.7%

What's really great about the bottom numbers is that the 45.9% increase is the fastest growing segment in the LCBO system!

Chris Layton, the LCBO's Media Relations Coordinator for Corporate Communications, explains:

"While OCB beers represent a relatively small segment of the overall beer category, they have consistently been the beer segment (and in fact segment at the LCBO) showing the most growth over the last five years, up 40 to 50 per cent in sales year over year. This trend continues. If you look at sales for the last 12 months (from February 2010 to January 2011), OCB dollar sales were up 44.3 per cent and litre sales were up about 44 per cent. Note this represents strong double digit growth increases over previous strong double digit growth increases."

However, close to 80% of all beer purchased in Ontario is still sold from the Beer Store, a staggering number that we'd all like to see decrease over time. We only have two main retail outlets in which to purchase our beer, so go to the LCBO, put money back into the province. Keep showing the decision makers that craft beer is where it's all!

I know I'm preaching to the choir here, but if you know someone who buys Stella Artois, get them to try a six-pack of King Pilsner from Nobleton, ON instead. It's a wonderful product and 55 cents cheaper than Stella... and it's produced right here in our backyard.  Or get them to reach for a Beau's Lugtread Lagered-Ale instead of the clear stuff contained in a bottle of Miller Genuine Draft. We all have to do our part!

Experience the difference.


Alan said...

To be fair, OCB sales are up at the LCBO because they have increased the shelf space and are actually offering a reasonable amount of OCB product. Supply side decision, not demand.

Anonymous said...

Alan that isn't entirely true. LCBO has provided good selection of OCBs for several years now. The increase in supply is to meet the demand which has been increasing year over year through education and brand awareness.

I haven't run into too many people over the past few years that were dying to try OCB but couldn't find it anywhere...

Troy Burtch said...

Just an FYI - I don't like to post Anonymous comments...please stop by again and post a comment using a name.


Alan said...

And make sure you have a point while you are at it! There is no doubt whatsoever that the LCBO vastly increased shelf space by 2009-2010 compared to the previous comparator time period. It is great but their dedication to home grown beer is new. Ditch all the eastern Euro lagers and it would go up another 50% in 2011 automatically.

Mark Murphy said...

I agree with Alan, the number of shelf facings are a pretty big factor in selling any product.

If the Beer Store numbers were public, I think you would see a much lower increase in OCB beer sales for this very reason.

James Duvall said...

So, those year after year gains are directly corresponding to equivalent shelf space increases? I assume you have the data to back that up....

Mark Murphy said...

Those year over year gains are great, however it's only reflecting 20% of the beer sold in the province (which is through the LCBO).

There is no real Canadian Craft Brewing association, and the OCB doesn't report sales data.

Without access to The Beer Store figures it's difficult to talk about the growth of the ontario craft brewing industry.

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