Description

“Drinking in Canada has never been so exciting. Though beer and wine still are the most popular alcoholic beverages, spirits are gaining ground. From aspiring home bartenders to enthusiastic returns to dining in restaurants, more than half (56%) of Canadians are imbibing spirits or cocktails. While inflationary economic pressures are forcing consumers to cut back, spirits are a permissible indulgence for many that has the chance to emerge relatively unscathed from budget trims.”
Candace Baldassarre, Research Analyst

This Report looks at the following areas:

  • Alcoholic beverage and cocktail consumption
  • Factors that influence trying new spirits
  • Reasons for not drinking alcohol
  • Occasions when spirits are imbibed
  • Attitudes toward alcoholic beverage consumption

Table of Contents

  1. Overview

    • What you need to know
      • This Report looks at the following areas
        • Market context
          • Definition
          • Executive Summary

              • Top takeaways
                • Consumer trends
                  • Gendered stereotypes around drinking continue
                    • Figure 1: Cocktail consumption, men vs women, 2022
                  • Beer and wine lead…for now
                    • Figure 2: “I prefer to drink spirits in a mixed drink or cocktail rather than straight-up” (% agree), men vs women, 2022
                  • Convenience clearly matters to Canadians
                    • Figure 3: “Ready-to-drink alcoholic beverages and canned cocktails are a convenient substitute for handmade cocktails” (% agree), by age, 2022
                  • Competitive strategies
                    • Adding flavours
                      • Figure 4: Absolut Juice (France), 2022
                    • Making cocktails convenient
                      • Figure 5: Dillon’s Small Batch Distillers Instagram post, 2023
                    • Reducing alcoholic content
                      • Figure 6: Lyre’s Spirit Company Instagram post, 2023
                    • Market predictions
                      • Figure 7: Category outlook: spirits, 2023-28
                    • Opportunities
                      • Fathers are fawning over local spirits
                        • Switching up the formatting
                          • Figure 8: “Small format bottles allow me to try new things without spending too much on something I don’t know if I’ll like” (% agree), by age, 2022
                      • Market Drivers

                        • It’s an expensive time to be a Canadian
                          • Figure 9: Per capita value sales of alcoholic beverages at liquor authorities and other outlets, 2004-22
                          • Figure 10: Per capita value sales of spirits at liquor authorities and other outlets, 2004-22
                        • Ethnicity and religion take centre stage
                          • Figure 11: Distribution of foreign-born population, by region of birth, 1871-2036
                        • An aging population has different demands
                          • Figure 12: Population aged 0-14 and 65, 1988-2068*
                        • Loosening of drinking culture since pandemic…but spirits are still not (readily) available everywhere
                          • Figure 13: Market share by alcoholic beverage type (% of total sales), by provinces and territories, 2021-22
                          • Figure 14: Market share (proportion of sales), by alcoholic beverage type, 2004-21
                      • Competitive Strategies and Market Opportunities

                        • Locally made holds weight
                          • Figure 15: Sight Spirits Instagram post, 2023
                          • Figure 16: The Liberty Distillery Instagram post, 2023
                          • Figure 17: Open Coast Gin Instagram post, 2023
                        • Added flavours interest
                          • Figure 18: Grey Goose Instagram post, 2023
                          • Figure 19: Absolut Peppar pepper flavoured vodka (USA), 2023
                        • #sobercurious: low and no alcohol continues to gain steam
                          • Figure 20: 18.8 Instagram post, 2023
                          • Figure 21: Bar Isabel Instagram post, 2023
                        • Mezcal is exciting cocktail drinkers
                          • Figure 22: Sombra Mezcal Instagram post, 2023
                        • Drinks are changing form
                          • Figure 23: On the Rocks Premium Cocktails The Margarita (USA), 2020
                          • Figure 24: J.P. Wiser’s Old Fashioned Whisky Cocktail (Canada), 2021
                      • Fast Facts: The Spirits Consumer

                        • Alcoholic Beverage Consumption

                          • Wine and beer lead, but cocktails and spirits are catching up
                            • Figure 25: Alcoholic beverage consumption, 2022
                          • Age and gender have a lot to do with it
                            • Figure 26: Alcoholic beverage consumption, men vs women, 2022
                            • Figure 27: Appleton Estate Instagram post, 2023
                            • Figure 28: Cardhu Whisky Instagram post, 2023
                            • Figure 29: Dillon’s Small Batch Distillers Instagram post, 2023
                          • Age changes things
                            • Figure 30: Alcoholic beverage consumption, by age, 2022
                          • Abstinence from alcohol skews very young and very old
                            • Figure 31: “I don’t drink alcoholic beverages”, by age, 2022
                            • Figure 32: Above 0% Whisky Cola (Canada), 2023
                          • RTD is emerging as a category disruptor
                            • Figure 33: Attitudes toward alcoholic beverages (% agree), by age, 2022
                            • Figure 34: Smirnoff Canada Instagram post, 2023
                          • Le Québec boit autrement
                            • Figure 35: Alcoholic beverage consumption, Quebec vs overall, 2022
                            • Figure 36: Rabaska Peach Apricot Cider (Canada), 2023
                        • Cocktail Consumption

                          • Margaritas reign supreme
                            • Figure 37: Cocktail consumption, 2022
                            • Figure 38: Basil Hayden Instagram post, 2023
                          • Born in Canada means Caesar drinker
                            • Figure 39: The Keg Steakhouse Instagram post, 2022
                          • Older consumers drink fewer cocktails
                            • Figure 40: Cocktail consumption, by age, 2022
                          • Gendered drinking stereotypes persist
                            • Figure 41: Cocktail and mixed drink consumption, by age and gender, 2022
                            • Figure 42: “I prefer to drink spirits in a mixed drink or cocktail rather than straight-up” (% agree), men vs women, 2022
                            • Figure 43: Cocktail consumption, by gender, 2022
                          • Asian consumers are cocktail enthusiasts
                            • Figure 44: Cocktail consumption, Asian consumers vs overall, 2022
                          • Cider drinkers are open drinkers
                            • Figure 45: Cocktail consumption, overall vs cider drinkers, 2022
                        • Spirits Consumption

                          • Vodka, rum and whisky lead
                            • Figure 46: Spirit consumption, 2022
                          • Men and women consume differently
                            • Figure 47: Spirit consumption, men vs women, 2022
                            • Figure 48: Maker’s Mark Instagram post, 2023
                          • Younger consumers are drinking diverse spirits
                            • Figure 49: Spirit consumption, by age, 2022
                            • Figure 50: Clase Azul Instagram post, August 2022
                            • Figure 51: Dillon’s Small Batch Distillers Instagram post, 2023
                            • Figure 52: Chum Churum Instagram post, 2023
                          • Change is in the air…here comes mezcal and soju
                            • Figure 53: Changes in spirit consumption, 2022
                            • Figure 54: LCBO Instagram post, 2023
                        • Motivation for Trying Spirits

                          • Family and friends come first
                            • Figure 55: Motivations for trying new spirit, 2022
                            • Figure 56: New Orleans Home Magazine Instagram post, 2023
                          • Never underestimate a good bartender
                            • Figure 57: Tequila Tromba Instagram post, 2023
                          • Younger and middle-aged drinkers are more motivated to try spirits
                            • Figure 58: Motivations for trying new spirit, by age, 2022
                            • Figure 59: Casamigos Instagram post, 2023
                          • A Negroni…Sbagliato…with prosecco in it
                            • Figure 60: HBO Max Instagram post, 2022
                            • Figure 61: Campari Milano Bitter (USA), 2022
                          • Dads are especially suggestible
                            • Figure 62: Motivations for trying new spirit (select), moms and dads vs overall, 2022
                            • Figure 63: Aviation Gin Instagram post, 2021
                        • Choice Factors for Trying Spirits

                          • Locally made and added flavours lead the way
                            • Figure 64: Attributes that encourage choice of spirit, 2022
                            • Figure 65: Attributes that encourage choice of spirit, by age, 2022
                          • To add or take away? Adding flavours and reducing calories
                            • Figure 66: ‘Added flavours’ would encourage choice of spirit, by age and gender, 2022
                            • Figure 67: ‘Low calorie’ would encourage choice of spirit, by age and gender, 2022
                          • Distillation process
                            • Figure 68: ‘Distillation process’ would encourage choice of spirit, by age and gender, 2022
                          • Having children influences choice factors
                            • Figure 69: Attributes that encourage choice of spirit (select), by parental status, 2022
                            • Figure 70: “I am willing to spend more on alcoholic beverages to support local producers” (% agree), overall vs mothers vs fathers, 2022
                          • South Asian consumers are more interested in a variety of attributes
                            • Figure 71: Attributes that encourage choice of spirit, overall vs South Asian consumers, 2022
                        • Spirit Drinking Occasions

                          • Relaxing at home is when consumers like to imbibe
                            • Figure 72: Occasions for spirit-based beverage consumption, 2022
                            • Figure 73: Blanton’s Bourbon Instagram post, 2023
                          • But younger spirit drinkers are just as happy to drink spirits in public
                            • Figure 74: Occasions for spirit-based beverage consumption, by age, 2022
                            • Figure 75: Nutrl Pineapple vodka soda (Canada), 2022
                          • Women see spirits as part of an occasion
                            • Figure 76: Occasions for spirit-based beverage consumption (select), men vs women, 2022
                          • Quebec has obvious space for growth
                            • Figure 77: Occasions for spirit-based beverage consumption (select), overall vs Quebec, 2022
                            • Figure 78: La SAQ Instagram post, 2023
                          • Get a babysitter and hit the town: parents and spirit-drinking occasions
                            • Figure 79: Occasions for spirit-based beverage consumption (select), overall vs mothers vs fathers, 2022
                        • Barriers to Drinking Alcoholic Beverages

                          • Health reasons and taste top the list
                            • Figure 80: Barriers to alcoholic beverage consumption, 2022
                            • Figure 81: Seedlip Grove 42 Citrus Distilled Non-Alcoholic Spirit (Spain), 2022
                          • Reasons for not drinking skew with age
                            • Figure 82: Barriers to alcoholic beverage consumption, by age, 2022
                            • Figure 83: “I am cutting back on drinking to save money” (% agree), by age, 2022
                          • Religious motivations for not drinking are associated with immigration
                            • Figure 84: Barriers to alcoholic beverage consumption (select), born in Canada vs not born in Canada, 2022
                            • Figure 85: Fiesta 0% Margarita (Canada), 2023
                        • Attitudes toward Alcoholic Beverages

                          • A good experience trumps all
                            • Figure 86: Attitudes toward the alcoholic beverage drinking experience, 2022
                            • Figure 87: Attitudes toward alcoholic beverages (% agree), by age, 2022
                          • Region and area lived affect enthusiasm toward drinking
                            • Figure 88: “Alcoholic beverages are essential for having a good experience when dining out” (% agree), by region, 2022
                            • Figure 89: “Alcoholic beverages are essential for having a good experience when dining out” (% agree), by area lived, 2022
                          • South Asian consumers are more likely to view alcohol as non-negotiable
                            • Figure 90: Attitudes toward alcoholic beverages (% agree), overall vs South Asian consumers, 2022
                          • Buy me a drink? The alcoholic beverage purchase experience
                            • Figure 91: Attitudes toward the alcoholic beverage purchase experience (% agree), overall and by age, 2022
                            • Figure 92: Casamigos Instagram post, 2023
                          • Dads are paradoxical purchasers
                            • Figure 93: Attitudes toward the alcoholic beverage purchase experience (% agree), overall vs mothers vs fathers, 2022
                          • The home bar(tender)
                            • Figure 94: Attitudes toward bartending at home (% agree), overall and by age, 2022
                            • Figure 95: Bombay Sapphire Instagram post, 2023
                          • Those who care about the drinking experience dining out also care about it at home
                            • Figure 96: Attitudes toward bartending at home (% agree), by area lived, 2022
                        • Appendix – Data Sources and Abbreviations

                          • Data sources
                            • Consumer survey data
                              • Consumer qualitative research
                                • Abbreviations and terms
                                  • Abbreviations

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