Wine sales up nearly 6% in Canada

Canada remains a "beer town," according to the latest statistical report on purchase of alcoholic beverages, but wine is the fastest-growing category.

Canadians bought 2.2 billion liters of beer, worth $8.4 billion, last year. They also purchased 378.7 million liters of wine, worth $4.6 billion, and 202.6 million liters of spirits, worth $4.3 billion, according to Statistics Canada.

While sales of beer and spirits in liquor stores were up 2.9% by volume from 2004-05, wine sales, including those by wineries themselves, were up 5.9%. Overall, sales of wine, beer and spirits hit the $17.3 billion mark.

A few other findings:

• Red wines accounted for 60% of wine sales. Three-quarters of reds and half of all whites were imports.

• Quebec consumers bought 35% of all wine, and 42% of the reds, sold in the nation.

• White wines outsold reds in Prince Edward Island, Nova Scotia and New Brunswick.

• Imported beer grew in popularity last year from 9.9% to 11.1%.

• Whiskies, including scotch and bourbon, accounted for nearly 30% of all spirits sales.

• Nearly 70% of spirits sold were Canadian products, although imported spirits rose 6.4%.

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