BC craft beers are chipping away at brewing giants

Craft beer sales boom

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

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

This market increase becomes even more apparent when comparing the British Columbia Liquor Distribution Board’s sales growth of micro-brewers with industry giants Labatt Breweries of Canada and 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.

Labatt had the largest growth in sales out of the two major brewers: up 7.24% to $262.7 million in 2019 from $244.9 million in 2012. Molson Coors recorded 5% 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%).

Granville Island Brewing Co. was the only brewery in the top 10 to suffer a drop (25.7%) 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%. Sales at Molson Coors fell 9.9% 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 1% for the past two years.

Northam Beverages recorded the largest five-year sales growth of the top 10: up 130.9% 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% to $13.4 million in 2019 from $6.7 million in 2015.

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