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Wine overtakes beer as B.C. drinkers' preferred summer beverage purchase

Wholesales for wine, spirits and coolers rose last summer, while beer wholesales fell.
Wine wholesales by volume were down negligibly year-over-year in the three months ended Sept. 30

Wine overtook beer as B.C. drinkers' preferred summer beverage purchase, according to new data from the British Columbia Liquor Distribution Branch (BCLDB).

B.C. drinkers shifted spending away from beer and toward wine, spirits and coolers in the three months that ended Sept. 30, the BCLDB's latest quarterly numbers suggest.

The province's booze seller releases data for how much it generated before tax when selling products wholesale to its own liquor stores, private stores, restaurants and bars. Data is not available for how much is spent on booze in B.C. after those buyers mark up products to gain a profit margin.

The latest quarterly report found that all those alcohol buyers in B.C. spent $984,789,974 on inventory in the quarter ended Sept. 30 – 2.4 per cent more than in the same quarter in 2022. 

Beer wholesales were down 4.35 per cent, to $298,840,413, while wholesales for wine rose 4.45 per cent to $305,072,495 year-over-year in the quarter. In the same quarter in 2022, the $312,426,833 spent on wholesale beer orders in B.C. towered nearly seven per cent above the $292,084,996 spent on orders for wine inventory. 

Beer wholesales in B.C. on a volume basis dropped 7.7 per cent year-over-year in the three months ended Sept. 30, to 71,399,772 litres. Wine wholesales also fell on a volume basis but the decline was a negligible 8,061 litres, or less than a tenth of one per cent, to 17,636,631 litres.

The hottest category for wholesales growth was coolers. That category was up 12.39 per cent to $119,038,322 spent in the quarter ended Sept. 30. By volume, wholesales for coolers were up 5.56 per cent. That bump helped push the overall refreshment category, which also includes ciders, to be up 8.44 per cent, to $143,788,373 in wholesales, and up 2.34 per cent by volume.

Spirits were increasingly popular, with wholesales up 5.58 per cent, to $237,088,693 in the three months ended Sept. 30. By volume, spirits wholesales in the quarter were up 2.33 per cent, to 7,477,217 litres.

Most spirits saw higher wholesales, although 4.43-per-cent less money was spent on gin, to $18,133, 243.

Vodka remained the most popular spirit in B.C., in both dollars spent wholesale, and in volume. 

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