Description

Everything you need to make the right decisions

Providing the most comprehensive and up-to-date information and analysis of the Beer, Craft Beer & Cider Canada market including the behaviours, preferences and habits of the consumer.

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What are the key challenges facing the industry? Who is the consumer and what do they want? Where are the opportunities, where are the risks and what lies ahead?

Covered in this report

Beer remains the most commonly consumed alcoholic beverage in Canada. Despite this fact, Canadians are drinking less beer. This decline is driven by a few factors. As they age, Canadians are more likely to turn to wine and younger adults have more variety of alcoholic beverages to choose from than ever. There are also indications that younger Canadians are turning to alcohol less often compared to previous generations.

Regardless of short term aberrations in drinking habits that are a result of the current pandemic that support the category, the outlined challenges for beer are unlikely to abate in the coming years. This Report is intended to provide readers with an assessment of Canadians’ attitudes toward beer to help inform consumer-centric, strategic decisions in what remains the largest alcoholic beverage category in the market.

Expert analysis from a specialist in the field

Written by Joel Gregoire, a leading analyst in the Food & Drink sector, his extensive knowledge delivers in-depth commentary and analysis to highlight current trends and add expert context to the numbers.

COVID-19 has dramatically changed Canadians’ drinking habits in the short term, though the same dynamics that had been evolving prior to the pandemic will likely remain in the years to come. When Canadians drink alcohol they are most likely to reach for beer. That said, on a per-capita basis, Canadians are drinking less beer due to a combination of broader demographic considerations and more choice being available than ever before. The challenge for beer is to straddle the line between Canadians’ yearning to explore new options, but not disassociate itself from familiar roots.
Joel Gregoire
Associate Director Food & Drink

Table of Contents

  1. Overview

    • What you need to know
      • Key issues covered in this Report
        • Definition
          • Consumer feedback
            • Market size (retail)
            • Executive Summary

                • Top takeaways
                  • Impact of COVID-19 on beer
                    • Figure 1: Short, medium and longer-term impact of COVID-19 on beer, November 2020
                  • Canadians say they’re drinking more in 2020
                    • Brewers must adapt to a new way of ‘gathering’
                      • Canadians need a respite from the added stress brought on by the pandemic
                        • Canadians aspire to help their local brewers
                          • Opportunities and challenges
                            • Beer remains the most popular alcoholic drink for Canadians, but it’s being challenged
                              • Despite a struggling economy, most Canadians remain willing to pay for higher quality beer
                                • The desire to live a healthier lifestyle is the main impediment to drinking beer
                                  • Opportunity for beer to win over more women
                                    • Canadians gravitate to familiarity, but room remains for experimentation in beer
                                    • The Market – Key Takeaways

                                      • Sales trend affirms the challenge for beer at retail
                                        • COVID-19 accelerates the ‘stay-at-home’ trend
                                          • New and unique flavours can be incorporated into beer
                                          • Market Size and Forecast

                                            • Sales trend affirms the challenge for beer at retail
                                              • Figure 2: Total Canada retail beer volume sales and fan chart forecast, at current prices, 2014-24
                                              • Figure 3: Total Canada retail beer value sales and fan chart forecast, at current prices, 2014-24
                                              • Figure 4: Total Canada retail beer value sales and forecast, at current prices, 2014-24
                                              • Figure 5: Retail market share by volume, by company, 2019
                                          • Market Factors

                                            • Impact of COVID-19 on beer
                                              • Figure 6: Short, medium and longer-term impact of COVID-19 on beer, November 2020
                                            • COVID-19 accelerates the ‘stay-at-home’ trend
                                              • Opening bars proves divisive during the pandemic
                                                • Life is more stressful in 2020
                                                  • Figure 7: Mental/emotional health concerns, by age, March 2019
                                                • Canadians have more choice than ever, which is a challenge for beer
                                                  • Figure 8: Per capita sales of alcoholic beverages by liquor authorities and other retail outlets, by volume (% Share), 2014-19
                                              • Market Opportunities

                                                • New and unique flavours can be incorporated into beer
                                                  • Figure 9: Waterloo Pineapple Radler Alcoholic Beverage (Canada), June 2020
                                                  • Figure 10: BrewDog Quench Quake Grapefruit & Tangerine Sour Beer (UK), July 2020
                                                  • Figure 11: Rogue Nitro Chocolate Stout (US), May 2020
                                                  • Figure 12: Aether Brewing Gluten Free Ginger Beerd (Australia), September 2020
                                                  • Figure 13: Flavours that are most appealing (top three combined), June 2020
                                                • Issues around sustainability extend to beer 
                                                  • Figure 14: Loop Berliner Weisse Strawberry Light Sour Beer (Canada), October 2019
                                                  • Figure 15: Johnnie Walker Black Label Instagram post, July 2020
                                                • Beer’s relationship to wellbeing extends beyond calories and carbs
                                                    • Figure 16: Pockets Commercial I Stella Artois, Joie de Bière | :30, April, 2018
                                                  • Cannabis’s legalization represents a potential challenge
                                                    • Figure 17: Usage of alcohol and marijuana/cannabis in the past six months, May 2019
                                                • The Consumer – Key Takeaways

                                                  • Alcohol purchasing habits are changing during COVID-19
                                                    • Canadians ‘claim’ they are drinking more this year than last
                                                      • Beer remains the drink of choice for Canadians
                                                        • Lagers remain the beer of choice for Canadians
                                                          • Fruit-flavoured beers garner high levels of interest
                                                            • Even in difficult economic times, Canadians are willing to pay for quality
                                                            • COVID-19’s Impact on Beer Consumption

                                                              • Canadians believe it’s important to support local breweries during the pandemic
                                                                • Figure 18: It’s particularly important to support local breweries and bars because of COVID-19 (% agree), by region, September 2020
                                                              • Alcohol purchasing habits are changing during COVID-19
                                                                • Figure 19: Statements related to behaviours on COVID-19, September 2020
                                                                • Figure 20: “I’m ordering more alcoholic beverages online and having it delivered because of COVID-19” (% agree), September 2020
                                                              • How many meet for a drink has shifted during the pandemic
                                                                • Figure 21: Heineken I Connections, May 2020
                                                                • Figure 22: Heineken I Back to the Bars, July 2020
                                                                • Figure 23: “Because of COVID-19, I’m drinking alcoholic beverages during different occasions than before” (% agree), by age, September 2020
                                                            • Change in Drinking Habits

                                                              • Canadians ‘claim’ they are drinking more this year than last
                                                                • Figure 24: Alcoholic beverage being drunk more often, the same or less often versus last year, September 2020
                                                                • Figure 25: Attitudes toward RTD alcoholic beverages versus beer on flavour and health (% agree), by age, September 2020
                                                              • Spending more time at home is the main reason Canadians are drinking more beer
                                                                • Figure 26: Reasons for drinking more beer versus last year, September 2020
                                                              • Living a healthier lifestyle is the main reason given for drinking less beer
                                                                • Figure 27: Reasons for drinking less beer versus last year, September 2020
                                                            • Beer and Cider Consumption Behaviour

                                                              • Beer remains the drink of choice for Canadians
                                                                • Figure 28: Alcoholic beverages drunk in the past three months, September 2020
                                                              • Gender splits along with an aging population hurts beer
                                                                • Figure 29: Alcoholic beverages drunk in the past three months, 20-44s vs over-45s, September 2020
                                                                • Figure 30: Beer and wine drunk in the past three months, by age and gender, September 2020
                                                                • Figure 31: Beer and wine drunk in the past three months, by age and household income $70K+, September 2020
                                                              • Beer holds its own in Quebec where wine rules
                                                                • Figure 32: Beer and wine drunk in the past three months, Quebec vs overall, September 2020
                                                              • Lagers remain the beer of choice for Canadians
                                                                • Figure 33: Types of beer and cider drunk in the past three months, September 2020
                                                                • Figure 34: Types of beer and cider drunk in the past three months, 20-44s vs over-45s, September 2020
                                                                • Figure 35: Flying Monkeys Craft Brewery Instagram post, March 2017
                                                                • Figure 36: Abita Brewing Company Instagram post, January 2017
                                                                • Figure 37: Hard Way Cider Co., August 2020
                                                                • Figure 38: Types of beer and cider drunk in the past three months, by gender, September 2020
                                                                • Figure 39: Types cider drunk in the past three months, Chinese Canadians vs overall population, September 2020
                                                                • Figure 40: Brewgooder Moyo Juice Tropical Pale Ale (UK), November 2020
                                                                • Figure 41: Types of beer and cider drunk in the past three months, by region, September 2020
                                                            • Areas of Interest in Beer

                                                              • Fruit-flavoured beers garner high levels of interest
                                                                • Figure 42: Innovations of interest in beer, September 2020
                                                                • Figure 43: Interest in fruit-flavoured beer, by age and gender, April 2020
                                                                • Figure 44: Interest in fruit-flavoured beer, Chinese Canadians vs overall, September 2020
                                                              • Sustainability in beer is important to a quarter of Canadians
                                                                • Figure 45: Interest in sustainably made beer, by age and gender, September 2020
                                                              • Beer is an appealing ingredient for cooking
                                                                • Figure 46: Interest in food and beer as an ingredient, fathers vs overall, September 2020
                                                              • Few Canadians show interest in non-alcoholic beer
                                                                • Figure 47: Interest in food and beer as an ingredient, by age and gender, September 2020
                                                            • General Attitudes towards Beer

                                                              • Even in difficult economic times, Canadians are willing to pay for quality
                                                                • Figure 48: Attitudes toward quality and craft beer (% agree), by age, September 2020
                                                                • Figure 49: “I prefer craft beer over non-craft beer” (% agree), urban vs suburban and rural locations, September 2020
                                                              • Cannabis is viewed as being a viable alternative to alcohol (at times)
                                                                • Figure 50: “Cannabis is a good alternative to alcohol at certain times” (% agree), by age and gender, September 2020
                                                                • Figure 51: Truss Beverages Instagram post, November 2020
                                                                • Figure 52: “Cannabis is a good alternative to alcohol at certain times” (% agree), Quebec consumers vs overall, April 2020
                                                              • Brand and style matter most when it comes to beer
                                                                • Figure 53: Important factors when deciding on what beer/cider to purchase, September 2020
                                                                • Figure 54: Important factors when deciding on what beer/cider to purchase, by age and gender, September 2020
                                                            • Appendix – Data Sources and Abbreviations

                                                              • Data sources
                                                                • Sales Data
                                                                  • Consumer survey data
                                                                    • Abbreviations and terms
                                                                      • Abbreviations

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