B.C. craft brewers booming as big beer sales slow

Vancouver’s Parallel 49 Brewing Co. Ltd. had largest one-year growth, increasing its BCLDB sales 100 per cent

An analysis of beer sales for B.C.’s top 10 producers shows that local craft brewers’ share of the province’s beer market is growing.

In 2013, eight local producers accounted for 21.7 per cent of the total sales for the top 10 companies. In 2019, their share was 31.4 per cent.

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This market increase becomes even more apparent when comparing the British Columbia Liquor Distribution Board’s (BCLDB) sales growth of micro-brewers with the industry giants of Labatt Breweries of Canadaand Molson Coors.

Over the seven-year period since 2012, growth of most craft brewers in the top 10 overshadowed that of Labatt and Molson Coors.

craft sales

Labatt had the largest growth in sales out of the two major brewers: up 7.24 per cent to $262.7 million in 2019 from $244.9 million in 2012.  Molson Coors recorded five per cent sales growth over the same period.

After Molson Coors and Labatt,Pacific Western Brewing Co.recorded the smallest sales growth over the same period (12.3 per cent).

Granville Island Brewing Co.was the only brewery in the top 10 to suffer a drop (25.7 per cent) in BCLDB sales over the period.

The growth in B.C. craft breweries appears to be taking market share from Molson Coors and Labatt.

In the four years following 2012, sales for craft breweries in the top 10 grew an average of 160 per cent. Sales at Molson Coors fell 9.9 per cent to $234.9 million in 2015 from $260.6 million in 2012, or by $25.7 million. During the same period, sales for local craft breweries increased $24 million.

Meanwhile, Labatt’s sales growth has dropped below one per cent for the past two years.

Northam Beverages recorded the largest five-year sales growth of the top 10: up 130.9 per cent to $37.3 million in 2019 from $16.2 million in 2015.

Parallel 49 Brewing Co. Ltd.had the largest one-year growth. It increased its BCLDB sales 100 per cent to $13.4 million in 2019 from $6.7 million in 2015.

growth comparison

The average BCLDB sales for B.C.’s top 20 breweries was $36.1 million; when Labatt and Molson Coors are excluded, the average falls to $11.7 million. The median BCLDB sales without the two brewing giants is $7.8 million.

The average one-year growth for the top 20 breweries was 7.4 per cent compared with a median growth of 4.6 per cent, suggesting that larger breweries higher on the list are growing faster than their smaller counterparts.

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