Beer sales booming in Nunavut: StatCan

Beer accounts for two in three alcohol sales

Beer sales increased 76.6 per cent in Nunavut from March 2017 to March 2018, says Statistics Canada, which attributes the increase to the opening of Iqaluit’s beer and wine store. (Photo by Jane George)

By Jane George

Last year, beer sales were relatively flat in Canada.

But that was not the case in Nunavut, where people were drinking a lot more beer and far less spirits, according to a new report by Statistics Canada.

From March 2017 to March 2018, the report found beer sales increased by 76.6 per cent, compared to 0.8 per cent nationally, for a total of $5.7 million in sales.

Sales in wine grew by an even greater amount during that period, by 278.6 per cent to $2.3 million in Nunavut, while overall in Canada sales rose by 5.5 per cent during that period.

Meanwhile, spirit sales in Nunavut declined by 12.4 per cent to $1.3 million.

Beer also accounted for the largest market share of total alcoholic beverage sales in Nunavut.

Beer was the alcoholic beverage of choice in 60.7 per cent of all sales in Nunavut, according to the report.

It found that residents purchased 835,000 litres of beer over the report’s time period. That’s the equivalent of about 2.35 million beers.

One year earlier, Nunavut residents purchased 493,000 litres of beer.

Statistics Canada attributes the increase in beer drinking to the opening of the wine and beer store in Iqaluit.

The store opened in September 2017.

Iqaluit’s beer and wine store, which opened in September 2017, is doing good business, according to Statistics Canada, which recently reported on the huge increase in beer and wine sales in Nunavut. (Photo by Jane George)

“Prior to the opening of this store, much of Nunavut’s liquor was purchased outside of the territory through import permits,” the report states. “The Nunavut Liquor Commission has seen a decrease in import permits following the opening of the new retail store.”

Nunavut’s liquor commission made total sales of $9.3 million and a net income of $1.4 million over the report’s time period.

These figures echo the information in the commission’s annual report from 2017-18.

Nationally, spirit sales were the lowest in Nunavut, at 13.6 per cent, although vodka accounted for the largest proportion of spirit sales in Nunavut, at 58 per cent.

Sales of ciders and coolers had the lowest market share Canada-wide in Nunavut of only 0.9 per cent.

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(12) Comments:

  1. Posted by Putuguk on

    This is good news.

    Over a 5 year period, the absolute volume of alcohol contained in all types of beverages consumed in Nunavut increased by 40,000 L, or 10%, assuming 40% for spirits, 10% for wine, and 5% for beer.

    During the same period, 3,140 new persons became of drinking age, increasing the drinking age population by 15%, not considering any new residents moving in (which would obviously be more). This means that the amount of alcohol consumed per drinker is going down relative to adult population growth.

    Most of this change is geared around the opening of the beer and wine store. This stems from the implementation of the previous government’s alcohol harm reduction plan, and provides strong evidence for it’s success.

    Thank you Taptuna and Peterson!

    • Posted by John on

      Great comment. I love when people actually do the math.

  2. Posted by Fred on

    Get our outlet open in Cambridge Bay (and Rankin Inlet) and you’ll see the numbers jump higher.

  3. Posted by Rankin Inlet on

    Now that we see this is working and that Rankin voted in favour of a beer and wine store someone should start pushing for it to come to Rankin. I want a locally purchased beer with my steak this summer.

    ***Anyone – Someone start the process.***

  4. Posted by John on

    This is great. Brewing has the potential to be a large industry in the territory and should be supported.

    It’s too bad the brewery gets a bad rap because some people can’t control themselves.

    • Posted by Raphael on

      “…because people can’t control themselves”

      This is insensitive, myopic, and ignorant. Addictions aren’t about self-control–they’re a disease that requires treatment.

      • Posted by But it is… on

        Addiction is literally when someone can’t control themselves.

  5. Posted by Johnnie on

    Wow. What a story to be proud of. I wonder how many kids are without food and clothing due to the beer boom? You talk about food insecurity, lack of funds to pay high rent, and then in the same sentence there’s a beer boom. This makes the north look so stupid, and allows the reasons why no one in this country is going to have sympathy towards the stupidity that goes on in the great white land.

    • Posted by qablooey on

      Almost managed an article with all positive comments. SOOO close.

    • Posted by Gobble Gobble on

      It’s not really a “beer boom”. This is just sales happening inside the territory, and it doesn’t take into account what people were ordering from down south before the beer and wine store.

      “Prior to the opening of this store, much of Nunavut’s liquor was purchased outside of the territory through import permits,” the report states. “The Nunavut Liquor Commission has seen a decrease in import permits following the opening of the new retail store.”

  6. Posted by Rankin Beer Drinker on

    When will Rankin get its store? The one we voted on 2 years ago? No updates?

    • Posted by Joker on

      After global warming , but before the next iceage

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